You may not be familiar with the term ultraviolet curing but it’s one that you will be familiar with once you realize how it’s going to make your life easier with its benefits.
Ultraviolet curing is a process that uses high-intensity ultraviolet light to dry inks, coatings, and adhesives. Out of all the drying methods, UV curing is the most preferred one for its ability to dry faster which results in more work done. It also improves a surface’s scratch and solvent resistance.
Because UV curing is so good, it has become a leader in many industries making up 4% of industrial coatings in the market. It’s mainly used in industries that require ink or paint drying like automotive, electronics, glass and plastic decorating, graphic arts, and more. It has replaced conventional water and solvent-based thermal drying methods being that UV curing is faster, stronger, and environmental friendly.
So what’s the science behind UV curing that makes it the best option for manufacturers? The process mainly involves the use of light instead of heat when drying. It mixes liquid monomers and oligomers with a small amount of photo initiators which is later exposed to UV energy. And because of this, inks, coatings, and adhesives dry faster.
UV cure coatings became an environmentally option when solvent-based products just couldn’t cut it due to the environmental pollutant it created. The traditional method of heat and air drying involved solvent evaporation –something that UV curing doesn’t have. And because it’s less harmful to the environment with results better than the conventional method, it wasn’t long before manufacturers would make the UV curing their default option.
Thanks to UV curing, industries that rely on it become more productive all while producing less waste, and consuming less energy.
Other qualities you will notice in a UV curing coated part include:
- Better gloss
- Better resistance to scratch and abrasion
- Better resistance to chemical
- Better resistance to crazing, hardness, elasticity, and adhesion
Because UV coat curing takes faster to dry, it allows manufacturers to use less space at higher production speeds. There’s also less work which gives way for more facilities and resources for producing more materials. It helps manufacturers save more money and enhances cash flow for its ability to increase production speed.
Another benefit to UV cure coating is that it requires less flooring space. Parts that require more space can mean more time required for drying which means more money out of your pocket for consuming that space. Floor space can cost as much as $0.50/ft/month. Because UV cure coating dries so fast, you don’t need to take that much time in a floor space. Less time spent on the curing process means less floor requirements.
UV cure coating also makes it possible to spot problems early on. As soon as you’re done drying, you can immediately check for problems and fix them. This makes it a much more attractive option compared to the two-part adhesive method where it takes days to fully cure before one can do quality testing. It’s only then can you detect for problems and by that time, you would have already wasted two days already.
The quick time it takes for UV cure to dry makes it easier for quality control to check for dust and particles that might contaminate the part during painting. And should there be any, it can be removed and replaced with new coating again.
If your current manufacturing process isn’t as efficient or doesn’t produce as much quality as you would hope, then UV cure coating might be the answer. Many industries are taking advantage of its benefits. You should too.
Did you know of other benefits UV cure coating provides? Let us know in the comments.
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