Ultra-violet curing technology represents an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective alternative to other technologies such as solvent based formulated systems, as there is no water to remove at the end of the printing or coating process, and no solvents to capture or incinerate.
Curing is a set of chemical and physical processes that coating materials must undergo after drying. The coating must attach itself to the substrate physically (adhesion) or chemically (cohesion) and must cohere to itself. It also needs to undergo chemical reactions such as "polymerization" (formation of plastic). These processes are known collectively as curing.
Applications include industrial coatings and coatings for graphic arts. Photoinitiators are used for wood furniture and flooring, plastic, metal and paper, fiber optics, electronic components, automotive components, flexographic inks, screen print inks, lithographic inks, laminating and pressure sensitive adhesives, etc. Photoinitiators are also used in the manufacture of display and touch screens, solar batteries and fuel cells, flexible electronics, medical devices, aerospace and automotive components, lighting components and many more.
UV curable coatings can offer improved performance and visual properties. One of the main advantages from an environmental perspective is the absence of solvents. Further there are energy savings because of faster start-ups and shut-downs – UV lamps turn on and off almost instantaneously. Other advantages of UV-curing include the fact are that they are much faster than thermal processes. UV coatings cure in a matter of seconds, rather than minutes or hours. Productivity is improved as UV coatings cure in a matter of seconds.