There are very few places where one might find industry leaders from companies and institutions as diverse as the U.S. Air Force, Ford Motor Company, P&G, Boeing Phantom Works, Motorola and Armstrong Floor Products.
One area they do have in common is that they have an interest in ultraviolet (UV) and/or electron beam (EB) curing. For these companies and so many others, e|5: UV & EB Technology Conference & Expo, the world's largest UV & EB event, presented by RadTech International and held at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, April 24-26, showcased the possibilities of using UV and EB technology.
The rapid growth of UV and EB was clearly illustrated by the record number of attendees, most notably end-users, who came to the show. By the end of the first day, e|5 already reached the attendance figures from the 2004 showcase in Charlotte, NC. RadTech International leaders were delighted with the show.
"I'm very happy with e|5," said Gary Cohen, executive director of RadTech International NA. "Our pre-registrations are at a record number, and the number of end-users is up dramatically. In terms of attendance, after the first day we are already ahead of our total attendance at Charlotte in 2004. What is particularly interesting is that end-users are signing up for our conferences, which shows that they are very interested in how they can use energy-curing technologies."
Sartomer's booth was active throughout e|5.
"The aim of our event is to educate manufacturers about the operational benefits of UV and EB," said Mickey Fortune, director of e|5. "At this event we recorded our highest number ever of UV/EB users and potential users seeking to learn the latest on the technology, with overall attendance at a record level reaching over 2,700."
"Our objective at RadTech is to get more end-users to our conference," said Paul Elias, business director, specialty products for Sartomer. "We have the right story to tell. That's how we hope to grow it. UV and EB curing can save money and drive more business. These are two big keys."
Conferences and Presentations
Among the highlights at e|5 were eight conferences for end users, featuring speakers from the companies mentioned above among many others. The technical conference featured 27 individual sessions while the exhibition itself was comprised of 120 companies and more than 90,000 square feet of displays.
End-user sessions on the first day covered areas as diverse as UV Wood Finishing Applications & Focus on UV for Cabinetry; Developments in UV Curing for Automotive OEM, Tier One & Refinish Applications; UV & EB Technology for Aerospace, Defense & Homeland Security Applications; and Advancements in UV Curing for Flexible Electronics.
The second-day end-user sessions included Forum on UV & EB Curing for Packaging; Advancements in UV Industrial Inkjet; UV Curing for Plastics; and UV Curing for Metal Finishing.
The End-User Conference and Technical Conference were both highly successful, as attendees learned about new technologies and applications.
Cytec's booth drew much attention from attendees.
There was also an area of the floor set aside for poster boards and also for Tech Cells, which are segmented by industry to showcase current and future applications of UV and EB technology. For example, the Automotive Tech Cell featured a Cadillac XLR, while the Wood Tech Cell featured products coated with UV currently done commercially or on pilot lines.
New Products For the Industry
For attendees, new products are of tremendous interest, and exhibitors had much to showcase.
"New products are the underpinnings of the industry," said Bill Bayer, business director, Radcure, Americas for Cytec Industries.
"New technologies are the lifeblood of the industry," added Scott Ravech, business director, Radcure, Americas for Cytec Industries. "We are helping manufacturers stay ahead of the curve."
Cytec featured 13 new UV/EB coating products for wood, automotive and plastics applications.
For wood coatings, the company introduced Ucecoat waterborne UV curable resins which were developed to bridge the performance gap between 100% solids UV curable and conventional solventborne urethane acrylate systems. Also featured was Ebecryl 885, an economical UV polyester acrylate with good flexibility and reactivity for a wide range of wood applications, including parquet floors and furniture.
Developed for leading-edge auto refinishers and body shops were two UV-A products for automotive primer, Raylok 7831 and Raylok 7832, and two UV-A products for automotive putty, Raylok 7821 and Raylok 7822. Also introduced was Raylok 2221, an energy curable performance product specifically designed as a primer coating for difficult-to-adhere-to untreated plastic substrates.
"We continue to introduce UV/EB products which are innovative, eco-friendly and high-performing," said Jeff Rodrigues, Cytec Industries' market manager for Radcure, industrial coatings, Americas.
Sartomer Company featured 26 new oligomers and monomers as part of its exhibit at e|5, including 23 oligomers and three monomers for use in multiple UV/EB applications. The product features include plastics adhesion, pigment dispersant, low irritancy, low shrinkage, very low viscosity, fast cure, hardness, abrasion and high scratch resistance, flexibility and more.
Particularly noteworthy are CN2300, which is ideal for flexo and inkjet inks, electronics and metal decorating, and CN2304 for hardcoats, wood and plastic coatings.
"CN2300 and CN2304 are hyperbranched, polyester acrylate oligomers," said Jim Horgan, vice president of technology for Sartomer. "CN2300 offers fast cure rates, low shrinkage and hardness, while CN2304 has high acrylate functionality, very fast cure and abrasion resistance."
Ashland's team was on hand to showcase its latest Drewrad UV technology.
The "Smooth Operator" system was developed to meet difficult requirements in the area of substrate wetting including high surface tension in coatings, substrates with a low surface energy and surface contamination.
Perenol S57 is a solvent-free non-reactive slip modifier and leveling agent for ink, coatings and paint. It exhibits excellent surface wetting and reduction of surface tension.
"We have taken the time to understand the issues that are important to coatings formulators. Plastic coatings represent a particularly challenging field, where tailor-made solutions are needed if the best possible results are to be achieved with all the different types of plastics," said Patrice Pinsard, global strategy and marketing PCI. "Cognis' new innovation management system places greater emphasis on collaboration with customers, and enables us to provide our partners with the innovative and individual solutions they need to succeed in their markets."
Shamrock Technologies showcased a number of new technologies, including its EverGlide wax emulsions and wax dispersions, which are dispersed in UV monomer.
"We've done really well and developed great contacts.," said Joe Coffey, Shamrock Technologies' product manager-Product Technical Center. "What I like about RadTech is that it is attended by technical people who are only interested in UV and EB."
Color Resolutions International (CRI), Ashland and Mark Andy's UVT group announced an alliance for developing a turnkey system for food packaging. The system features CRI's ink formulations, Ashland's Drewrad 150 UV curable resin, which eliminates the use of photoinitiators, and equipment from Mark Andy that monitors the cure to ensure that it is FDA compliant.
"This allows us to get extractables down to a level that food manufactures feel is safe," said George Sickinger, chairman, president and CEO of CRI. "This is an important area that we want to be in."
"With Drewrad 150, food packaging that was unthinkable by UV processes is now opened up to UV," said Matthew Sheridan, product manager, Drew Industrial Specialty Additives, Division of Ashland Inc.
"We will now be able to provide converters with a turnkey system, recognized by the FDA as falling within FDA guidelines," said UVT's John Mitchell, product manager/sales manager.
The products are currently undergoing internal testing, and are expected to go to customers for further testing during the summer. It will be used for folding carton, tag & label and flexible packaging markets.
The technical conferences were well attended.
Bomar Specialties showcased four brand-new polyester acrylates, including its BXI 100 system, which is ideal for dark section cure.
Nordson Corp. exhibited its new liquid UV coat and cure technology, featuring the RA-20 rotary atomizer and CoolWave 410 lampheads and power supplies.
MidAmerica Protective Coatings showcased its 100% UV sealer in combination with water-based UV for cabinets.
Red Spot Paint & Varnish Company had a wide variety of products, including its UVT 2525 EZ Recoat for metal cylinder applications, and its successful combination of UVB 700 metallic basecoat for plastic wheel trim applications, which is ideal when used with UVT 700 high performance topcoat for wheel trim applications.
Exhibitors were happy with the results from e|5.
"I think the turnout has been terrific," said Sartomer's Elias. "It is better than we expected. There are many new end-users here, and a lot of new faces here."
"We're seeing good traffic and having good discussions with high-level technology leaders," said Ashland's Sheridan. "We're seeing a good percentage of end-users."
"We have been busy from the first minute," said Bob Burk, marketing and communications manager for King Industries. "We've certainly made good technical contacts."
"It's been fairly good, which is a good sign as attendance tends to be strongest on the second day," said Patrick Heraty Jr., sales manager – Midwest for Tego Coating & Ink Additives.
"The show has been fantastic for us," said Willis Reese, Hexion's director, new business development. "The number of customers and vendors has been excellent for us."
"This is a fantastic show for all our criteria," said Mike Kelly, president and CEO, Allied PhotoChemical, which showcased the company's capabilities, notably its ROIE (Return on Investment and the Environment) products. "We come to shows to make new contacts, to meet people who want new technology, to send a message to raw material suppliers that we know what we are doing, to support RadTech and to let our competitors know we're here. I've been overwhelmed by all the different opportunities that have presented themselves."
"It's been a good show for us," said Ken Smith, Coatings Concepts International president. We're doing some new stuff with monomers and there is a lot of interest."
Attendees found the program to be interesting and informative.
"I was impressed with the attendance in the sections and on the exhibit floor. There were a lot of unique topics, which shows the expansion of the technology," said Howard Ragin, president of Craig Adhesives.
"I have been really impressed with the number of new technologies I have seen," said Don Duncan, director of R&D for Wikoff Color.
Mr. Sickinger was one of the founding board members of RadTech, and he said he was impressed with the show. "We've had some excellent contacts here," Mr. Sickinger said. "The interest level is really terrific."
"The presentations I have gone to have been very informative, and the speakers have been very good," said George Fuchs, NAPIM's environmental affairs manager. "It's set up very well."
With new applications continuing to emerge for UV and EB, RadTech International is planning ahead to meet the demand for more information from end-users. RadTech has scheduled UV/EB West 2007 in Southern California next February. For more information, check www.radtech.org.