Jennifer Heathcote, Phoseon Technology, discusses the many uses of UV LED curing in inks, adhesives and over protective varnishes, with end users and formulators now evaluating this system for use in a number of areas
The automotive and transportation industry faces several design, engineering and manufacturing challenges over the coming years. Many of these have to do with better global stewardship driving further reductions in waste and energy consumption at assembly and supplier plants. For each of these challenges, many new manufacturing processes will likely need to be developed.
While conventional ultraviolet (UV) curing through the use of microwave and arc lamps has been used in automotive and transportation production processes for decades, UV LED curing is relatively new.
However, UV LED technology is much more main stream as significant equipment and formulation advances are enabling the technology to penetrate quickly a growing range of applications. This is primarily driven by the fact that UV LED technology offers numerous performance, operating and environmental benefits and is considered an enabling technology that lends its use to curing inks, adhesives and coatings on a greater range of heat sensitive materials, while delivering superior overall process and quality control.
Based on current interest and development activity, it is anticipated that LED curing solutions will be developed and expanded for many applications within the automotive and transportation markets.
Over the next few years, the UV industry will continue to plug away within the technology development network one application and one market at a time, learning more and more as it anticipates the next big UV LED application breakthrough. Much of this work will actually be driven by the end users who see the value in converting to UV LED technology.