Evidence of Exceptional Testing.
Industry: Medical Device
Problem: Contamination caused solid precipitate to form in a brine solution
Solution: ICP Analysis - read full case study
Problem: Unknown white residue was contaminating the surface of black molded plastic parts
Solution: Contaminant ID - read full case study
Problem: Automotive supplier needed to understand why chrome plated ABS substrates were exhibiting a visual "streak" or "worm track" blister that had resulted in warranty claims.
Solution: Failure Analysis - read full case study
Problem: Consumer product supplier needed to determine if Bisphenol-A (BPA) was present in their final products: polymer containers, lids, and storage bags.
Solution: BPA Testing - read full case study
Industry: Medical Device
Problem: Medical device manufacturer needed to know if alternative machining and molding processes were altering mechanical properties of R&D products at the wear surfaces.
Solution: IA identified and applied a chemical process to stabilize the material and clearly stain the micro-phase domains. TEM images of cross sections afforded direct comparison of surface and bulk morphologies, enabling informed evaluation of manufacturing processes.
Problem: Manufacturer of precision polyurethane foam polishing pads for the semiconductor industry needed a method to measure cell size and open cell area for quality control, as well as for comparison with competitive products.
Solution: Impact modified an existing optical microscopy ASTM method, for measurement of the cell size of the micro-porous PU foams in the scanning electron microscope. Impact developed a method for comparative measurement of the percent of open cell area of the polishing foams.
Problem: Contaminant on surface of steel engine parts caused production slowdown and rejection of product.
Solution: Impact examined the shape (morphology) and analyzed the elemental composition of the microscopic metal particles of contaminant in the scanning electron microscope. Comparison with a sample of blasting media used to polish the parts during production identified this media as the contamination. Impact recommended more thorough cleaning after this interim polishing step.
Industry: Food Packaging
Problem: Manufacturer of multi-layer films for the food packaging industry needed to measure the thickness of layers for quality control. Customer also desired measurement and identification of the layers used to construct competitor's products.
Solution: Impact used a combination of polarized light microscopy and infra red microscopy to photograph, measure, and identify the separate layers of the film in cross section.
Problem: R&D team needed to test the success of surface modifications to a particulate additive, by characterizing the adhesion of the additive to the surrounding epoxy matrix.
Solution: Impact photographed the fractured surfaces of the samples at high magnification in the scanning electron microscope, to clearly document the difference in surface adhesion as a result of experimental modifications. Results enabled the team to pursue a modification technique producing consistently superior surface adhesion of the particles to the matrix, as verified by IA microscopy data.
Problem: R&D department of automotive parts manufacturer needed to characterize the separation of polymer phases in a thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO).
Solution: Impact used precision cryoultramicrotomy technique to create ultra thin sections of the material for examination in the transmission electron microscope (TEM). Chemical staining provides contrast to clearly identify polymer phases in representative digital micrographs, supplied within the report to the customer.
Problem: Plastic fuel line splitting during manufacture.
Solution: A three layer, co-extruded plastic fuel line component was splitting when sent to a supplier for unit assembly. The problem appeared in an otherwise stable production process. A sample of the split component was examined using optical and scanning electron microscopy. When imaged at high magnification, the fracture surface characteristics indicated poor fusion was occurring in the middle layer during the co-extrusion process. When fittings were inserted, the fuel line split from the applied hoop stress. The fuel line extrusion step was producing a product that appeared normal by usual quality control inspection but had a hidden defect. The analysis suggested the molding conditions be evaluated and corrected.
Industry: Consumer Products
Problem: Ink Jet cartridges plugging prematurely.
Solution: Cartridges for ink jet printing were plugging before the ink was consumed. Rejects and returned product were increasing. Disassembly and microscopic evaluation of the cartridge components revealed contaminant fibers collecting on the cartridge filter screens. Characterizing the fibers aided in determining the source. The ink manufacturer was able to make adjustment to the ink processing and eliminate the problem.
Industry: Mechanical Parts Industry
Problem: Foreign Contaminant Identification.
Solution: A manufacturer of machined metal parts was finding contamination of a bearing surface. A third party coating applier denied contamination was occurring during its process. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) were used to evaluate the contaminant and applied coatings on the parts. The SEM/EDS analysis indicated the elements present in the contaminant were the same as those applied in a coating process by the third party. The part manufacturer was able to prove the contaminant was the applied coating and work with the third party supplier to eliminate the problem.
Problem: Unknown residue appeared on the surface of an extruded plastic car window jamb after environmental testing at one facility, but not at another.
Solution: Removed residue from the surface of the window jamb and analyzed with FT-IR spectroscopy. Analysis determined the material to be an oil (or oleamide), a material often used as a slip agent in the molding process. Oil was also found in the resin of one of the plastics used in the window jamb. Gas Chromatography-Mass spectrometry (GC-MS) confirmed that the oil found on the surface of the part and the resin was the same, and enabled the customer to decide whether to change the resin used or change the conditions of environmental testing.