BTG Labs launches Surface Analyst XA

The XA automates technology employed by the original handheld Surface Analyst unit, increasing the speed and efficiency of surface inspections.
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BTG Labs (Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.) has introduced the Surface Analyst XA, an automated solution for evaluating material surfaces for bonding, coating, sealing, painting or printing. The XA reportedly delivers real-time surface condition feedback to manufacturers, to ensure the success of adhesion processes.

The XA applies the same technology employed by the original handheld Surface Analyst unit, which is used in the aerospace, automotive, electronic, medical device, consumer product industries and in a wide range of manufacturing and assembly operations. The process works by depositing a highly purified drop of water on a surface and then measuring the contact angle.

By automating this process, the XA is said to increase the speed and efficiency by completing inspections on multiple surface points on a material surface at rates of up to 5,000 inspections per hour. As a result, the XA maps a surface across multiple points to ensure the consistency and uniformity of surface quality.

The measurement process is non-destructive. The XA unit uses highly-purified HPLC-grade water to prevent contamination of inspected material surfaces. Measurements are touchless, eliminating the potential transfer of contaminants from point to point on a surface. Automation limits operator error or variation between inspections. Archer software automates data capture and transfer to a manufacturing execution system (MES), reportedly providing statistical process control as well as long-term trend analysis that monitors process drift.

BTG Labs says the XA unit can be integrated into a production line using either a robot or linear actuator to move it from point to point, or it can be fixed in place on the line. Off-line cell inspections can be conducted robotically or with a linear actuator. The company says self-implementing or full-line integration options are available.

The XA is said to be configurable to application needs; customizable fixtures hold a variety of material sample shapes and sizes.

The XA accommodates TCP/IP/Serial integration, and produces result output in a CSV file format. 

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