Applications

Industrial sectors that commonly use UV photopolymerisation

UV photopolymerisation used in production processes
in a wide range of applications

01.
Furnishings

UV technology has been commonly used to decorate and protect wooden components since the early 1980s. The growth of this market has resulted in the development of a series of innovative coating products suitable for curing with UV light. These products can be either 100% solids (no VOCs) or water-based.

Together with the undisputed benefits of this technology in terms of quality and properties, they have helped tosignificantly reduce environmental emissions. UV coatings for wood – clear or pigmented, opaque or glossy – can be used to give a highly protective and aesthetic finish to wooden flooring, doors, furniture and frames.

Due to the diffusion of vacuum metal deposition technology or PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition), as well as UV products such as primers and top coatings, new kinds of decorative technologies that at first seemed impossible have now been achieved. Specifically, besides making the end product entirely recyclable, the UV/PVD process helps improving the overall look of the end product. It ensures a glossiness and a purity that remain unaltered over time, along with making it easy to clean, moisture resistant and resistant to the increasingly aggressive detergents.

Printers were among the first to recognize the potential and the advantages of UV technology. They began to use overprint varnishes and UV curable inks in the late 1970s to boost quality and production speed.

Today there are many printing methods such as screen printing, offset, flexo, gravure and digital printing, which benefit from UV technology and are used in printing and decorating magazines, catalogues, promotional materials, posters, labels, wraps, various types of flexible and rigid packaging, also for food.

02.
Graphic Arts
03.
Automotive

The automotive industry can be counted among the first industries to which UV technology brought high added value, achieved by virtue of its distinctive low environmental impact, good quality and high productivity. Functional UV coating applications are now common in this market due to their superior quality of scratch resistance, resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion and are used on exterior and interior components and systems of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Another important application deals with vehicle safety systems.

UV technology offers manufacturing processes with low, or even zero emissions, as well as greater automation and processing speed compared to traditional production techniques.

UV products (e.g. primers and top coats), used in physical vapour deposition (PVD) processes for metal based finishes such as chromium and aluminium, also join this list. These types of finishes have started to replace the old-fashioned and toxic galvanic chrome, such as hexavalent/trivalent chromium plating baths. This improves the performance of the component, increasing the field of applicability to various types of plastics, which leads to more cost-effective recycling and above all, does not release toxic substances.

Since many years the cosmetics industry, in particular the producers of containers and packaging, is able to appreciate UV technology for its benefits in terms of the highest end product quality and simpler and faster production methods.

UV curing of coatings, inks and adhesives has been widely used in the decoration of containers and packaging of all materials employed today (e.g. glass, metal, plastic and cardboard), both for high-end products as well as high volume consumer goods.

04.
Cosmetics
05.
Consumer Electronics

The growth of the mobile phone market, both in terms of its figures and its product performance, has found a natural solution in UV technology. Both decorative and functional UV coatings are commonly used worldwide for both external casings and mobile phone displays.

These days special processing is carried out using UV coatingfor producing highly sophisticated displays for mobile phones, tablets, computers and flat screen TV’s in particular. These provide greater protection against scratches, abrasions, stains and fingerprints, improve product features such as anti-reflection performance, prevent eye fatigue and ensure a good image quality. Currently, UV cured products are used for assembling micro-components within the electronics industry, allowing for processes with higher precision and reduced time.

UV coating is also used for the protection of small components inside mobile phones. This type of coating is applied in only a few seconds directly on the assembly line. Consequently, as well as attaining an improved end-product, production space and time requirements are both significantly reduced.

01.
Furnishings

UV technology has been commonly used to decorate and protect wooden components since the early 1980s. The growth of this market has resulted in the development of a series of innovative coating products suitable for curing with UV light. These products can be either 100% solids (no VOCs) or water-based.

Together with the undisputed benefits of this technology in terms of quality and properties, they have helped tosignificantly reduce environmental emissions. UV coatings for wood – clear or pigmented, opaque or glossy – can be used to give a highly protective and aesthetic finish to wooden flooring, doors, furniture and frames.

Due to the diffusion of vacuum metal deposition technology or PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition), as well as UV products such as primers and top coatings, new kinds of decorative technologies that at first seemed impossible have now been achieved. Specifically, besides making the end product entirely recyclable, the UV/PVD process helps improving the overall look of the end product. It ensures a glossiness and a purity that remain unaltered over time, along with making it easy to clean, moisture resistant and resistant to the increasingly aggressive detergents.

02.
Graphic Arts

Printers were among the first to recognize the potential and the advantages of UV technology. They began to use overprint varnishes and UV curable inks in the late 1970s to boost quality and production speed.

Today there are many printing methods such as screen printing, offset, flexo, gravure and digital printing, which benefit from UV technology and are used in printing and decorating magazines, catalogues, promotional materials, posters, labels, wraps, various types of flexible and rigid packaging, also for food.

03.
Automotive

The automotive industry can be counted among the first industries to which UV technology brought high added value, achieved by virtue of its distinctive low environmental impact, good quality and high productivity. Functional UV coating applications are now common in this market due to their superior quality of scratch resistance, resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion and are used on exterior and interior components and systems of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Another important application deals with vehicle safety systems.

UV technology offers manufacturing processes with low, or even zero emissions, as well as greater automation and processing speed compared to traditional production techniques.

UV products (e.g. primers and top coats), used in physical vapour deposition (PVD) processes for metal based finishes such as chromium and aluminium, also join this list. These types of finishes have started to replace the old-fashioned and toxic galvanic chrome, such as hexavalent/trivalent chromium plating baths. This improves the performance of the component, increasing the field of applicability to various types of plastics, which leads to more cost-effective recycling and above all, does not release toxic substances.

04.
Cosmetics

Since many years the cosmetics industry, in particular the producers of containers and packaging, is able to appreciate UV technology for its benefits in terms of the highest end product quality and simpler and faster production methods.

UV curing of coatings, inks and adhesives has been widely used in the decoration of containers and packaging of all materials employed today (e.g. glass, metal, plastic and cardboard), both for high-end products as well as high volume consumer goods.

05.
Consumer Electronics

The growth of the mobile phone market, both in terms of its figures and its product performance, has found a natural solution in UV technology. Both decorative and functional UV coatings are commonly used worldwide for both external casings and mobile phone displays.

These days special processing is carried out using UV coatingfor producing highly sophisticated displays for mobile phones, tablets, computers and flat screen TV’s in particular. These provide greater protection against scratches, abrasions, stains and fingerprints, improve product features such as anti-reflection performance, prevent eye fatigue and ensure a good image quality. Currently, UV cured products are used for assembling micro-components within the electronics industry, allowing for processes with higher precision and reduced time.

UV coating is also used for the protection of small components inside mobile phones. This type of coating is applied in only a few seconds directly on the assembly line. Consequently, as well as attaining an improved end-product, production space and time requirements are both significantly reduced.

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Along with wind and geothermal, photovoltaic energy is one of the most promising sources of renewable energy. Photovoltaic devices work according to the capacity of the appropriately treated semiconductors, which convert solar energy into electricity.

Research in this industry has taken enormous strides in increasing the energy efficiency of these devices and also reducing labour and costs.

UV technology is being employed in some of the processes used for producing photovoltaic panels. This has contributed to an improvement in quality and efficiency, while reducing the production costs but maintaining a high performance end product

06.
Renewable Energy
07.
Medical

The guarantee of high productivity, re-productivity and reliability makes UV technology an ideal application for producing medical devices. The materials used in this industry, especially the much-appreciated disposable types, have required the development of manufacturing processes that do not lead to thermal degradation. The UV curing process using Fusion lamps or LED’s does not reach high temperatures, which means the product properties remain unchanged.

The parallel development of recyclable products is also a major factor here. Examples of these are Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA) on transdermal treatments and UV adhesives for bonding adopted on various medical devices.

An improved biocompatibility, greater speed of sterilization processes and a substantial increase in chemical and mechanical resistance has been achieved with UV curable adhesives and coatings. The use of UV inks for prints and substrate decorations ensures excellent durability and resistance of the finished products.

The use of UV curing in the packaging and labelling industry began in the 1980s. Thanks to specifically developed products, this industry has achieved a level of excellence never seen before. One of its major features in decorative applications is the rapid drying* time it offers, while providing excellent decorative quality and optimal durability.

Decorations through UV curing are found on many types of packaging, such as metal or plastic containers for personal care or food, polyurethane containers, glass bottles, tin cans and polystyrene containers. They are characterised by high definition and their high chemical and mechanical resistance.

There are many advantages using this method for decorating thermo-sensitive, polymer-based plastic containers, such as PVC, PET or PC. This is because the absence of heat, due to the speed of the UV curing process, prevents damage to the polymers.

Their use has also been crucial in the development of multi-colour printing machines (CMYK or hexachrome), with the capacity to simultaneously apply multiple colours directly onto the substrate, reducing time and labour costs and giving excellent results. To report also UV overprint varnishes that are applied to printed film and paper substrates to improve the gloss of the print and protect them from scratching and discolouration.

08.
Packaging
09.
TLC

Optical fibres are very fine, flexible glass threads, which are transparent, circular in their cross section, and have many fields of application, especially in telecommunications but also in medicine, astronomy and even furnishings. They consist of a central part called the core, and an external coat called the cladding that is made from silica (SiO2), which is the main constituent of standard glass.

UV technology is an essential element in the ultra-high speed production of fibre optics. As they are very fine they require an external polymer coating before they can be reprocessed and used. This ensures flexibility, stress resistance and, above all, insulation between each fibre so they can send clear signals with no interference.

A further contribution from UV technology to this area of application comes from the use of UV inks, used for colour coding, for marking and identifying the finished optical fibre. Due to their resistance to wear, UV inks have good durability and are not degraded through the cabling gels used during the production of optical fibre cables.

06.
Renewable Energy

Along with wind and geothermal, photovoltaic energy is one of the most promising sources of renewable energy. Photovoltaic devices work according to the capacity of the appropriately treated semiconductors, which convert solar energy into electricity.

Research in this industry has taken enormous strides in increasing the energy efficiency of these devices and also reducing labour and costs.

UV technology is being employed in some of the processes used for producing photovoltaic panels. This has contributed to an improvement in quality and efficiency, while reducing the production costs but maintaining a high performance end product

07.
Medical

The guarantee of high productivity, re-productivity and reliability makes UV technology an ideal application for producing medical devices. The materials used in this industry, especially the much-appreciated disposable types, have required the development of manufacturing processes that do not lead to thermal degradation. The UV curing process using Fusion lamps or LED’s does not reach high temperatures, which means the product properties remain unchanged.

The parallel development of recyclable products is also a major factor here. Examples of these are Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA) on transdermal treatments and UV adhesives for bonding adopted on various medical devices.

An improved biocompatibility, greater speed of sterilization processes and a substantial increase in chemical and mechanical resistance has been achieved with UV curable adhesives and coatings. The use of UV inks for prints and substrate decorations ensures excellent durability and resistance of the finished products.

08.
Packaging

The use of UV curing in the packaging and labelling industry began in the 1980s. Thanks to specifically developed products, this industry has achieved a level of excellence never seen before. One of its major features in decorative applications is the rapid drying* time it offers, while providing excellent decorative quality and optimal durability.

Decorations through UV curing are found on many types of packaging, such as metal or plastic containers for personal care or food, polyurethane containers, glass bottles, tin cans and polystyrene containers. They are characterised by high definition and their high chemical and mechanical resistance.

There are many advantages using this method for decorating thermo-sensitive, polymer-based plastic containers, such as PVC, PET or PC. This is because the absence of heat, due to the speed of the UV curing process, prevents damage to the polymers.

Their use has also been crucial in the development of multi-colour printing machines (CMYK or hexachrome), with the capacity to simultaneously apply multiple colours directly onto the substrate, reducing time and labour costs and giving excellent results. To report also UV overprint varnishes that are applied to printed film and paper substrates to improve the gloss of the print and protect them from scratching and discolouration.

09.
TLC

Optical fibres are very fine, flexible glass threads, which are transparent, circular in their cross section, and have many fields of application, especially in telecommunications but also in medicine, astronomy and even furnishings. They consist of a central part called the core, and an external coat called the cladding that is made from silica (SiO2), which is the main constituent of standard glass.

UV technology is an essential element in the ultra-high speed production of fibre optics. As they are very fine they require an external polymer coating before they can be reprocessed and used. This ensures flexibility, stress resistance and, above all, insulation between each fibre so they can send clear signals with no interference.

A further contribution from UV technology to this area of application comes from the use of UV inks, used for colour coding, for marking and identifying the finished optical fibre. Due to their resistance to wear, UV inks have good durability and are not degraded through the cabling gels used during the production of optical fibre cables.

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