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UV curing technology

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  • UV Curing Technology is a technology of instant curing or drying in seconds in which ultraviolet is applied to resins such as coatings, adhesives, marking ink and photo-resists, etc., to cause photopolymerization. With olymerization reaction methods by heat-drying or mixing two liquids, it usually takes between a few seconds to several hours to dry a resin.
  • About 40 years ago, this technology was first used practically for drying the printing on plywood for building materials. Since then, it has been used in specific fields.
  • Recently, the performance of UV curable resin has improved significantly. Moreover, various types of UV curable resins are now available and their use as well as market is growing rapidly, since it is advantageous in terms of saving energy/space, reducing waste, and achieves high productivity and low-temperature treatment.
  • In addition, UV is also suitable for optical molding since it has a high energy density and it can focus on minimum spot diameters, which helps to easily obtain high-precision molded products.
  • Basically, being a non-solvent agent, UV curable resin does not contain any organic solvent that causes adverse effects (e.g., air pollution) on the environment. Moreover, since the energy required for curing is less and carbon dioxide emission is lower, this technology reduces the environmental burden.
  • UV curing technology is utilized for drying inks, coatings, adhesives and other UV sensitive materials through polymerization. The process of changing a monomer (liquid) into a polymer (solid) with the help of UV is called UV Curing and the synthetic organic material to be cured is called UV Curable Resin UV Curable Resin is a compound that consists of: (a) monomer, (b) oligomer, (c) photopolymerization initiator and (d) various additives (stabilizers, fillers, pigments, etc.).
  • In its most basic form, UV curing involves a photo-chemical reaction which converts a liquid or semi-liquid organic compound to a hard plastic-like polymer.
  • The heart of this reaction is a special compound, known as a "photoinitiator", which absorbs light and then uses the absorbed light energy to initiate and propagate the curing reaction.
  • Unlike conventional drying processes which use heat to evaporate water or solvents from a material, UV curing involves a total conversion of liquid material to a solid state. This lack of solvents makes UV curing an attractive alternative in cases where solvent emissions must be reduced.
  • The hard plastic-like cured polymer has superior physical properties (such as abrasion-resistance, gloss, and chemical resistance). These properties are used effectively in many printing and industrial applications.
  • The UV curing process is very fast, usually completed in fractions of a second. This means reduced space requirements and a decrease in Work In Process.
  • Racking or secondary drying operations are eliminated with UV curing. In many cases, quality can be improved through the elimination of ink transfer, or surface blemishes caused by contact between a partially dry ink or coating and another surface. Any UV curing process requires a UV light source and an ink or coating specially formulated for the UV curing process. Both the light source and the UV curable material are normally designed for each specific application.
  • UV-cure coating technology is increasingly being seen as the future technology in the area of industrial coatings. The technology represents one of the rapidly growing segments in the coatings industry, and is arguably emerging as the answer to the rising environmental concerns and stringent regulations.
  • UV LED business is expected to grow from $32.5M in 2011 to more than $150M in 2016.

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