Tag Archives: automotive

  • Of all the challenges manufacturers face, creating and optimizing critical surface processes for various materials can be very difficult. Traits such as location, size, shape, and texture can add to the challenge. The success of any critical surface process requires an in-line, fast, easy, and accurate verification method.

    That’s why more and more manufacturers are turning to the Surface Analyst. Whether it’s bonding, painting, printing, cleaning, coating, or sealing, BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst optimizes critical surface processes and monitors surface treatment on virtually any surface so the product is guaranteed to deliver.

    surface types lens

    Surface Analyst drop on a lens

    BTG Labs engineered the Surface Analyst to adapt to any application directly on the factory floor. Patented Ballistic Deposition deposits a stream of micro-droplets on the surface; these micro-droplets contain kinetic energy which allows the drops to overcome various textures and different angles without interfering with measurement accuracy. The drop size can also be adjusted so that measurements can be taken on any sized surface from a giant wind turbine to a minuscule medical catheter.

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    In 2014, a large manufacturer of automotive exteriors and interiors encountered a problem consistently adhering paint to their dashboards due to an inappropriate use of their flame treatment.

    Flame treatment is a popular and notable procedure that can successfully modify the surface chemistry of a polymer, readying it for adhesion. Although flame treatment is an effective solution, determining the amount of treatment can be a delicate procedure. The over-flaming of these highly sensitive polymers can lead to polymer reorientation due to localized melting and ultimately, destruction of the surface.

    In this case, however, the manufacturer was not utilizing flame treatment to monitor their surface cleanliness. Instead, they used it to deflash excess material on the edges of their dash boards. The edges of the dashboard were being over-flamed, hindering the polymer’s surface adhesion ability. This, in turn restricted paint from correctly adhering to the edges of the dashboard. The company needed a way to determine the appropriate amount of flame treatment.

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  • surface preparation

    Watch BTG Labs’ latest video and learn how to gain total surface quality control with surface preparation with the push of a button. This video offers a way to better understand and optimize control of critical surface processes, ultimately giving manufacturers the ability to engineer a stronger product.

    The video features Lead Sales Engineer Lucas Dillingham demonstrating the Surface Analyst’s fast, easy, accurate and non-destructive surface cleanliness measurements that can be taken in real-time, on the factory floor.

    In seconds, the Surface Analyst reveals how ready a surface is prior to processing. Watch Lucas take multiple measurements across the surface of an engine casing post surface preparation. The water contact angle measurements, which directly correlate with surface cleanliness, show the level of cleanliness achieved by the surface preparation. The Surface Analyst reveals not only surface preparation success, but also uniformity of the treatment.

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  • anti fog coating on headlights

    The competitive nature of the automotive industry requires manufacturers to engineer the ideal product; failures, no matter how small, are unacceptable and can bring heavy consequences.

    A particular problem that plagues automobiles is condensation collecting on the inside of headlights. High performance automotives must not only perform well mechanically but must also maintain an exceptional aesthetic. Water droplets condensing on the insides of headlights are unappealing and unacceptable to consumers.

    In order to prevent that condensation, manufacturers use an invisible coating on the inside of polycarbonate headlight lenses called anti-fog.

    This coating is applied via spray application which can be difficult and inconsistent due to several variables: low energy mold releases left on the surface; environmental contaminants; contaminants from handling; uneven spray application; and incorrect coating solutions.

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  • surface cleanliness measuringPerforming any kind of inspection on small parts can be difficult. When measuring for surface cleanliness, accessing small parts can be even more challenging, especially when measuring on the factory floor.

    With the Surface Analyst, measuring surface cleanliness on small parts has never been easier. This handheld instrument is fast, easy, accurate, and non-subjective allowing for precise measurements, right on the factory floor.

    With specialized measurement heads and a tether to allow access to small parts, manufacturers can verify surface readiness to bond, paint, clean, coat, print, or seal. The Surface Analyst optimizes manufacturing, repairs, and maintenance. …Read More

  • Parts washers play an integral role in manufacturing, especially on machined parts and bonding surfaces. Prior to coating, sealing, painting, and welding, parts washers help remove contaminants generated from fabrication to facilitate stronger bonds.

    But, for a reliable bond to form, the surface must not only be free of particles, it must also be chemically clean. Thus, quantifying and analyzing parts washer effectiveness in removing chemicals is the key to ensuring the desired surface is achieved.

    The importance of monitoring cleaning processes in preparation for bonding is becoming increasingly necessary as sealing processes are rapidly replacing traditional mechanical fasteners and gaskets.

    However, when sealing, the surface must be clean and clear of contaminants to guarantee the bond. The Surface Analyst monitors and optimizes washer systems to ensure the part comes out chemically clean and ready to hold a reliable bond. …Read More

  • Challenges often arise when verifying critical surface processes on the factory floor when measuring hard to reach areas and varying angles. The Surface Analyst conquers those challenges with the unique ability to measure on vertical surfaces, which include assembled parts and hard to reach spots. This allows for easier surface analysis on the factory floor.

    This ability is possible because of patented Ballistic Deposition which deposits a pulsed stream of micro droplets with enough kinetic energy to overcome surface roughness and textures.

    A few examples of the Surface Analyst’s ability to measure on vertical surfaces on the factory floor:

    • Airplane wings prior to bonding, painting, and repair
    • Canopy of jet fighters after cleaning
    • Wind turbine blades prior to bonded repair
    • Silkscreen bottles post flame treatment
    • Ship hulls prior to painting and bonding
    • Interior of automobile headlights prior to application of anti-fog coating
    • Windshield bond lines prior to sealing
    • Class A paint surface for decals applications and reapplications
    • Measuring appliances after metal cleaning and prior to power coating

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  • In the fast-paced automotive industry, manufacturers are constantly working to engineer stronger and more innovative vehicles. Emissions regulations call for more light weight, fuel efficient vehicles. As a result, manufacturers require a way to build an automobile that has it all: strength, efficiency, and light weight.

    Manufacturers are looking to the new world of ligthweighting; this method cuts down on weight and material without sacrificing the integrity of the automobile. June 8 at 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET, BTG Labs will host a webinar along with Industrial Market Insight, a strategic marketing consultant, and Plasmatreat, a BTG Labs partner specializing in highly efficient surface treatment.

    Entitled, “Surface Engineering for Successful Joining of Dissimilar Materials in Advanced Lightweight Automotive Structures,” this webinar explores the necessary aspects of successful ligthweighting. Topics include bonding of dissimilar materials, optimizing surface treatments, and creating new ways to bond. In an effort to reduce weight, traditional mechanical fasteners are replaced by bonded adhesives.  Controlling and understanding the surface is the key to a successful bond. …Read More

  • Spring Cleaning: BTG Labs Style

    by Emily Walsh March 2017

    It’s the first day of spring. Depending on where you live, this could mean opening the windows, planting seeds, rolling out the motorcycle, and waiting for Opening Day. Here at BTG Labs, we think of spring cleaning. Of course, this usually generates visions of humming vacuums and sloppy mops, but we see whooshing parts washers and smooth solvent wipes. Why? Well, because our instrument, the Surface Analyst is a significant player in the cleaning game.

    The Surface Analyst is the keystone to verifying, troubleshooting, monitoring, and even choosing a cleaning process.

    A cleaning method is only as useful as it’s verification process. In under two seconds, the Surface Analyst measures water contact angle to determine surface cleanliness. The instrument can be programmed to produce a pass/fail result based on the manufacturer’s specifications. This is an easy, objective method that immediately assures the technician of the surface cleaning process.

    Furthermore the Surface Analyst can be used to choose the most efficient cleaning method and optimize existing cleaning methods. Sometimes a particular solvent is more effective than another or the water in a parts washer becomes dirty. The Surface Analyst helps detect these elements to ensure the process is running flawlessly.

    Lastly, the Surface Analyst helps manufacturers choose the best cleaning method for their manufacturing process. In most scenarios, the only way to test a cleaning process is in the field or the laboratory. This is time consuming and causes failures and waste. The Surface Analyst, on the other hand, tells the user right on the factory floor, whether or not the part has been properly cleaned to bond, print, seal, coat, or paint without out wasting time or material. …Read More

  • Surface Analyst inspection points on an automotive oil pan.

    BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham recently presented at the 40th annual meeting of the Adhesion Society. An elected Fellow of the Adhesion Society, Dr. Dillingham has been contributing to this community since 1980.

    Giles’ presentation, “Control of Cleaning Processes to Maximize Sealant Performance,” focuses on quantifying parts washers and sealant processes. The importance of monitoring cleaning processes in preparation for sealing is becoming increasingly important in the automotive industry, as sealant processes such as such as FIPG (formed in-place gaskets) are replacing traditional fasteners. However, when sealing, the surface must be clean and clear of contaminants in order to guarantee the bond.

    As FIPG relies on properly made bonds, contaminants preventing the success of those bonds must be monitored and properly expelled. There is a wide range of assembly liquids that can interfere with the bond of FIPGs–cutting fluids, die lubes, corrosion inhibitors, as well as particulates generated from casting and machining. This paper shows the importance of quantifying parts washers in order to ensure the part is properly prepared to bond. An engine casing was cleaned in two different parts washers. After each wash, Surface Analyst measurements were taken across the engine casing. Figures within the paper show different measurements and the inconsistency throughout the casing from just one parts washer. Some areas showed low contact angle (indicating a successful wash) while others showed high contact angle (indicating an improper wash). …Read More