Meeting Report: RadTech 2002

By Dave Savastano | August 10, 2005

Event focuses on future of radiation-cured coatings technology.

Mirroring the gains being made by UV and EB technologies in the coatings market, RadTech 2002 had a surprisingly strong turnout, as more than 2,700 attendees came to Indianapolis, IN for the annual conference. There were literally hundreds of speakers and nearly 150 exhibitors on hand for RadTech 2002, and the focus was on the future, right from the opening talks.

"The future of well-being on Earth depends on extending the quality of human life," said Llewellyn King, founder of King Publishing and the first keynote speaker for RadTech 2002. "The only way we can achieve that is through the marvelous glories of technologists. It takes wildly passionate people to innovate. The importance of a better idea cannot be overlooked. For example, the wheel has been around a long time, but it has not been attached to a suitcase until recently."

At RadTech 2002, R&D Coatings showed off its UV-technology used on Major League Baseball bats made by Louisville Slugger.

Click on the picture to see and enlarge version

Godwin Berner, head, business line coatings, coating effects segment, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, gave the second keynote address, "From chemistry to radiation curing solutions." Dr. Berner discussed energy curing milestones, and discussed the importance of partnerships. "We have to bring the right people together to develop integrated solutions beyond chemistry-engineers, IT experts, chemists, formulators and end-users," Dr. Berner said. "End-users have to have a major role in integrated technologies."

Coatings Companies Come Prepared
A number of UV coatings specialists were on hand at RadTech, highlighting some of their new products.

"There's a lot of interest in EB coatings," said Neil Hersh, vice president of sales at Northwest Coatings. "We also see a lot of interest in PSA and release coatings. We see our technology benefiting through the efficiencies in one pass applications and in performance. We're custom formulators, and our customers come to us with their needs. We recognize the value of exceeding our customers' needs."

Red Spot's new product development for UV curable systems has been focused on applications such as SMC primers, high-gloss powders for alloy wheels and a small amount of pigmented UV powders, according to Emilee Hille, UV commercial products research director, Red Spot. "We've also developed UV waterborne for direct adhesion to TPO for interior furnishing applications," she said.

"Another project we are working on are polycarbonate sound barriers that are more aesthetically pleasing than current concrete walls on the sides of highways," Ms. Hille said. "Another new area is achieving the stainless steel appearance on kitchen furnishings using coated plastic material. Sales of UV curable coatings are growing rapidly. Red Spot is taking a strong look into new applications for this very interesting technology."

Emilee Hille, UV commercial products research director, and Randy Lewis, technical sales representative, at the Red Spot booth.
Click on the picture to see and enlarge version

R&D Coatings came armed with bats-baseball bats, that is�on which it is providing the UV coating. "We've started coating Louisville Sluggers which are being used in the Major Leagues," said Donald P. Hart Jr., technical sales manager at R&D Coatings. "It's an electrostatic spray of 100% solids. It's one of the newer applications for UV because it's three-dimensional."

Kevin Rea, Neil Hersh, Michael Trakhtenberg and Wende Stanhofer of Northwest Coatings.
Click on the picture to see and enlarge version

Reaction to RadTech 2002
RadTech's leaders said they felt the conference was a great success.

"I've seen a lot of new faces and heard nothing but good opinions," said Gary Cohen, executive director of RadTech International North America. "We've had a lot more exhibitors and companies attending, and the end-user sessions have been full."

"I think the show and the presentations are much improved," said Jim Reese, RadTech's president and regional business manager, Americas for DSM Desotech, Inc. "This is the largest RadTech that we have had. We had more than 2,000 people preregister, and our 150 exhibitors are up substantially from 2000. In addition, we have more than 30 people in from 24 different countries. The one thing that I find very positive is that there are a lot of new people and a lot of end-users."

Paul Elias, business manager, specialty products at Sartomer and former RadTech president, was also pleased. "I'm quite surprised by the turnout. Preregistration exceeded our expectations, and the reception and keynote talks were packed. I'm impressed by the number of new faces, including a lot of end-users."

Coatings manufacturers and suppliers alike also were effusive in their praise of the show.
"We've been very pleased with our ability to network with our co-suppliers at RadTech," Mr. Hersh said. "This show is unique, as it is a technology show that draws end-users. I think the industry will continue to grow."

"I was surprised by the numbers," said Dr. Berner. "This is really a large event for our industry. It's also a little like a family. What I find to be a big step forward is that a lot of end-users are attending, including automotive and paint companies. A lot of people are talking about rad-cure in the automotive industry, and more products will follow."

"I'm quite impressed with RadTech," said Mr. Hiel. "There seems to be a lot of good interaction at our booth and during the sessions. It appears to be a nice cooperative atmosphere."

John Braddock, technical service manager, UV/EB curing chemicals at Akzo Nobel Resins, said the show was a success. "The show went very well. It's been a large, focused turnout."

"I've found RadTech to be good," said John Johnson, market manager for Morflex, Inc. "We see some formulators here, which is a plus."

Suppliers Introduce New Products at RadTech
Suppliers brought with them a wide variety of new products and services to display to their customers at this year's event. Here is a look at some of what was showcased on the exposition floor.

"We have our Ebycryl resins series of low viscosity materials for vacuum and spray coating," said Steve Awadalla, marketing manager, industrial coatings at UCB Chemicals. "We also have a series of urethanes that can be used in any end-use application that requires durability. We also have higher scratch abrasion systems to be used in plastics, automotive, floorings and cabinets."

"We're getting a lot of interest in UV coatings and inks with the VEctomer vinyl ethers, as performance enhancers. Improved properties include faster cure speed, higher substrate adhesion, printability, toughness and flexibility," said John Johnson, market manager for Morflex, Inc. "We have commercialized several of our products now. Our newer oligomer product, or VEctomer 1312 is receiving a lot of interest. It offers high cross linking performance, with four vinyl ether functional groups. In addition, our VEctomers 4010 and 4060 are excellent for UV flexo and cationic inks, as well as flexible coatings for metal. Normally only a small amount of VEctomers are required to modify a formulation: typically 5 to 25% by weight. All of the VEctomers have low toxicity, odor and irritancy."

"We are doing a lot of proprietary automotive projects and developing new products," said John Braddock, technical service manager, UV/EB curing chemicals at Akzo Nobel Resins. "Actilane RCP 4539 is an aliphatic urethane acrylate emulsion primarily used in wood coatings. It dries tack-free and has very good physical properties. Actilane 245 is a water-reducible hexafunctional aliphatic urethane. Its applications vary from wood coatings to graphic arts. It has a very fast cure rate and offers good flexibility. Actilane 411 is a cyclic trimethylol propane formal monoacrylate that is ideal for wood coatings and screen inks. It has extremely low odor and minimal yellowing."

"We have three new products for the coatings market here," said John Hiel, industry manager, performance chemicals for coatings at BASF.

"Laromer LR 9004 is a high-performance polyester acrylate for tough, abrasion resistant wood coatings. Our Variocrom products are color variable pigments for UV, and are ideal for automotive and industrial applications. They can be applied to a wide variety of substrates ranging from leather to automotive, powder and wood coatings. Larolux is a new technology for curing UV coatings in carbon dioxide. Larolux is ideal for three-dimensional curing, and uses very inexpensive UVA lamps. It's ozone free. We see it as opening up UV to new people who were concerned about the high cost of entering the market."

"We have a lot of new products," Dr. Berner said. "In UV, there are a lot of concerns about monomers, but if you disperse UV resins in water, you need less monomers. This is a significant step toward more environmentally friendly systems. Integrated solutions are a key to specialty chemicals. We have a breadth that is virtually unmatched, ranging from pigments to photoinitiators to corrosion inhibitors, all backed by strong R&D activity. We match all that we make to our customers' needs.

"We want to establish a service business," Dr. Berner said. "We acquired Efka, which is managed as a stand-alone business, and we are benefiting from their approach. We have color matching capabilities and are offering software, and should have services on the Internet in the future. We also are planning on offering health, safety and environmental expertise to our customers, which is in the conceptual phase.

"An important innovation is our Pigment 2000 series for industrial applications," Dr. Berner added. "It's very fast growing, and it has been successful in introducing our leading DPP technology, particularly for our Pigment Red 2030, Pigment Orange 2038 and our Inorganic pigment technology like Yellow 2094. Our special treatment of pigments enables our customers to increase pigment loading without the loss of rheology. We have a lot of things in the pipeline. Last year was a record year, with 11 new additives and six new pigments. There are 11 more new products this year."

"Our newest addition is The PALM Probe, which allows converters who can't get a radiometer through their system to measure peak irradiance and UV energy dosage under the UV bulb," said Sue Casacia, marketing representative for EIT Instrument Markets. "We also have a lot of on-line monitors for UV bulbs."

"One of the major trends in coatings is the elimination of solvents," said Ken Bryan, Dow Chemical's commercial manager, UV specialties. "Dow offers a patented dispersion technology for developing water-based systems that are shelf stable. The technology allows for very small particle size and outstanding dispersion. You can add anything to it. We are currently focusing on UV waterborne systems that will reduce dependence on certain monomers. It also gives outstanding resistance and gloss."

"Our XZ92478 is a modified solid epoxy resin for UV curable powder coating applications," Mr. Bryan said. "It allows formulators to separate the melting and the curing phase of their processes, resulting in a smoother finish. XZ92478 is the first epoxy-based resin for UV cure applications. It offers much better chemical resistance and hardness than polyester and is ideal for indoor applications. UV powder coating systems based on this resin have excellent flow and come in a variety of colors and textures. This is an exciting new technology. Customers we have spoken with are very excited about the products XZ92478 will allow them to develop."

"Our new polyester acrylates are ideal for wood coatings," said Henry Miller, manager, UV/EB technology for Sartomer. "CN 2258 is a leap is terms of cure speed and abrasion resistance at a very good price. Our customers are thrilled. Our customers also work with us to custom formulate products for them."

David Savastano is editor of Ink World, the sister publication of Coatings World and the most widely read ink publication in the world.

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