Innovation Award to Europe’s BJS Group: UV LED curing for Wood
Sweden’s BJS Group was awarded one of the 2014 Radtech Emerging Technology Awards as one of the first manufacturers to use UV LED technology in high volume wood manufacturing production. According to the company owner and CEO, Par Lidaker, the low curing temperatures of LED make it possible to cure materials such as pine and other resinous woods with significantly lower reject rates. Along with more consistent curing the heat reduction translates into a better product since there is less thermal stress on the boards and no longer any uncured surfaces on the boards. The LED equipment is currently used at the company’s plant in Humpolec, Czech Republic, BJS Group clients include a major European furniture retailer.
BJS Production Director Kaj Johansson, says “LED curing means that the guys on the line have a more stable process to work with. They don’t have to keep checking the efficiency of the lamps which is more efficient and the working environment is better there is no ozone and its cooler in the summer.” He adds that, “we have worked with Becker Acroma (a brand of Sherwin-Williams) for more than 20 years, and they have helped us improve a number of processes and we were immediately interested when they announced LED curing.”
The BJS Humpolec facility has seven roller coating machines and three areas for curing the flat surfaces of the boards which are mainly coated with a white coating. According to Lidaker, the LEDs have a lifespan of 15,000 hours, five times that of conventional lamps and perform consistently across the entire 1.3 meter width of the production lines. The old system would vary as lamps lost their efficacy and radiation levels varied.
Lower operating and curing temperatures (70oF, compared to 160o-180oC) help to reduce maintenance while improving the working environment. Together with consistent curing this process translates into a better end product for BJS customers.