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March, 2020


www.us-tech.com


Page 75


Properly Inspecting Surface Quality to Ensure Adhesion Continued from page 73


these points. When an adhesion process is fortified with surface quality inspection as a process control method, there will be no surprises during the final adhesion application. Through critical control points will differ


based on what the final product is — a cellphone is produced differently than a car engine — the prin- ciples that govern the inspection process ensure that adhesion remains the same.


Inspect Early, Inspect Often First, a standardized quality specification


must be placed on all incoming materials. This baseline builds a foundation for all other opera- tions. Insisting on consistent levels of cleanliness on incoming materials, and being able to verify it with a numerical value, allows for supplier accountability and greater efficiency in cleaning processes. If cleaning and activation steps


must be constantly recalibrated for wildly different surface states com- ing into the facility, then time and


If cleaning and activation steps must be constantly recalibrated for wildly different surface states coming into the facility, then time and money is wasted making these adjustments.


money is wasted making these adjustments. Next, measure the surface qual-


ity before and after every critical con- trol point. Know the surface quality before a part goes into storage and when it comes out. The surface qual- ity should be known before a part goes into an industrial wash bath and after. It should be known before it gets abraded and after. No matter what the operation


is, in order to understand how much that surface is being altered, it is imperative to put it on a scale and track the change. A well-mapped adhesion pro -


cess eliminates the mystery of sur- face quality changes. In storage, chemicals from the packaging mate- rial can migrate to the surface. As handling is inevitable throughout the production process, an unmeasured surface quality makes it very difficult to understand where and when unwanted changes occur.


Inspect to Understand When a surface quality inspec-


tion process is in place, manufactur- ers get a complete picture of exactly what is being accomplished by the steps they have, or are planning to have.


Measuring the surface quality


before and after a step, such as an isopropyl alcohol (IPA) wipe, could reveal that it might not be altering the surface as inspected, and there- fore, might not be getting the job done.


IPA is suitable for removing oils


and debris, but if it is used on sili- cone-molded cast parts, it will not be effective. Silicone is not soluble in alcohol. The IPA wipe will not remove this usually invisible contam- inant that can be detrimental to adhesion. Once surface quality is exam-


ined at every critical control point, then analysis can show that the best cleaning and treatment steps were implemented. A process optimization


BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst allows users to inspect the cleanliness or adhesive proper- ties of complex or hard-to-reach surfaces, without being connected to a PC.


study can characterize exactly what parameters must be set at each critical control point, control-


ling the material surface as closely as possible throughout the entire production process. Cleaning processes must be designed around


specific contaminants and applications. It is cru- cial to understand which particular treatment, cleaning and preparation steps are necessary (and which ones might be superfluous), as a series of steps that build on one another and change the material surface in measurable and identifiable ways.


Making bondable surfaces that ensure higher


quality and more reliable products is now possible. Increasing efficiency and better utilizing the entirety of the production process starts with understanding and appreciating the details of a chemically clean material surface. Contact: BTG Labs, 5129 Kieley Place,


Cincinnati, OH 45217 % 513-469-1800 E-mail: info@btglabs.com Web: www.btglabs.com r


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