The overall market for UV-cured coatings is growing faster than the general coatings market itself, at the expense of older technologies.
After the last two years of raw material and product supply shortages, the market is back to a relatively balanced position, according to Paul Elias, business director of specialty products, Sartomer Company. "Now that the raw material shortages have diminished, customers are back to looking for lower and better performance," he said. "As a result, we continue to seek and develop opportunities for growth into application areas that are not currently utilizing this technology. In addition, RadTech continues to promote the use of UV/EB into emerging markets, highlighting its economic and performance benefits."
If trade shows are any indication of how well a market is faring, there was good news this spring in Chicago, when a record number of attendees showed up for RadTech's e|5 exposition. By the end of the first day, e|5 already reached the attendance figures from the 2004 showcase in Charlotte, NC.
"With rising energy costs, increasing international competition and continuing enviormental concerns, manufacturers are increasingly looking to UV and EB technology to address these challenges," said David Harbourne, RadTech president, and president of Fusion UV. "Our event highlighted this technology's tremendous enabling versatility, with a broad cross-section of manufacturers in attendance including firms engaged in the production of motor vehicles, food packaging, ink jet production, aerospace and defense, wood, metals, plastics and electronics."
New Developments From Industry Suppliers
At RadTech, Sartomer launched 23 new oligomers and three new monomers. The oligomers fall into seven different categories including aliphatic urethane acrylate oligomers, specialty oligomer/monomer blends, acrylic monomer/tackifier blends, brominated aromatic acrylate oligomers, hyperbranched polyester acrylate oligomers and acrylic oligomers. These products are designed for a variety of high-performance applications including coatings for spray, plastic, paper, wood and hardcoat, electronics, metal and deco applications. The three new monomers consist of mono- and multi-functional acrylates designed for various applications including adhesives and plastic coatings.
"These latest developments from our technical group feature a series of new hyperbranched polyester acrylate oligomers and some new aliphatic urethane acrylate oligomers for the coatings market, particularly for plastics and wood," said Elias. "We also introduced a new brominated aromatic acrylate oligomer with a high refractive index for fire resistant coatings, some new oligomers for pressure sensitive and laminating adhesives and three new monomers for low-shrinkage plastic coatings."
Cytec recently launched a new series of innovative, eco-friendly products under the Ucecoat family of waterborne UV urethane acrylate resins.
The Ucecoat waterborne UV resins are designed for a wide range of wood and non-wood coatings, including those used in wood flooring, kitchen cabinets, wood furniture, paper upgrading and vinyl/parquet flooring. These new waterborne UV curable resins are also suitable for plastics and metal substrates, and can be used in primers, basecoats and topcoats.
Additionally, the Ucecoat waterborne UV resins can help formulators meet requirements for low-VOC and low-HAPs, and can be applied using a variety of methods including spray, rollcoat, curtain or vacuum coating.
Cytec has also been active on the expansion front, recently announcing its plans for a new production unit to manufacture radcure epoxy and urethane acrylates at the company's Fengxian site production facility near Shanghai, China. The additional capacity should shorten the supply chain process and increase Cytec's ability to respond to customer applications and technology needs in the region. Current plans are for the plant to come on stream during the first half of 2008.
In addition, Cytec is nearing completion of the expansion of its production facility for radcure UV curing resins in North Augusta, GA. This expansion will increase the capacity of monomer production in the Americas, complementing its current production in the US. The expansion is expected to gradually come on stream during 2007.
"Our expansions strengthen Cytec's position in acrylated radcure UV curing resins both globally and regionally," said Philippe Goethals, global business director, Radcure.
"The expansion in the Americas is in response to the growing market needs and shows our commitment to serving our customers in a cost efficient manner. The new unit in China is of strategic importance to respond to growing customer demand in China and in other countries, plus offer an increased portfolio of products produced in the Asia-Pacific region," Goethals said. He added that "these two complementary projects further strengthen our global offering and allow our customers in each region to benefit from a broader product portfolio and better service."
The newest additives for UV-cured coatings from Noveon are for dispersing and stabilizing pigments, especially matting agents. Solsperse 71000 was recently introduced as a stabilizer for silica and wax treated silica matting agents in UV coatings. According to the company, coatings formulated with Solsperse 71000 have lower overall gloss and better matting reproductivity. Solsperse 71000 joins Noveon's established line of additives for UV coatings including Solsperse 41000, which is used for reducing the viscosity of silica and inorganic pigment dispersion; Solsperse 36000, designed for dispersing and stabilizing TiO2; and Solsperse 39000, a dispersent for carbon black and organic pigments in UV-cured coatings. All Solsperse hyperdispersants designed for UV-cured applications are 100% active.
BASF has recently made several additions to its Laromer portfolio of resource-saving, emission-free radiation curing products. Laromer UA 9033 V is designed for high flexibility applications such as coil coating in which 0-T bends are required. Laromer PO 9026 V is designed for resistance to micro-scratching, preventing loss in gloss due to fine scratching or marring. Laromer PE 9024 V is designed for compatibility with nitrocellulose and systems that incorporate UV with conventional coatings. Lastly, Laromer PA 9030 V is designed for adhesion to different metal types such as aluminum and polished CRS.
"One of the emerging industry trends is expansion into tradition, non-radiation cured coatings applictions such as three-dimensional objects," said Werner Peter, business director, performance chemicals for coatings, plastics and specialties, for BASF in North America. "BASF's Larolux UV curing method enables three-dimensional objects to be cured without the use of expensive, high powered lamps. It is based on an inert atmosphere of carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is contained in a chamber that is lined with brushed aluminum that is used as the reflector."
Most recently, Clariant has introduced Ceridust TP 5091 and TP Ceridust 5851R, which are micronized UV reactive waxes for the improvement of slip, scratch and chemical resistance and matting of a given UV-cured formulation. In addition, the company offers a number of organic pigments and dispersions which can be used for coloration of radcure coatings for wood and powder applications among others. Clariant has also added Sanduvor TB-02 liquid, a UV and HALS blend suitable for UV curable coatings to its portfolio.
Equipment suppliers are also making strides in technologies to improve successful curing of 3D parts.
Henkel Corporation has introduced the Loctite 7700-HD LED Light Source, a high-powered, portable curing system for UV and visible light curing adhesives. Equipped with an internal cooling fan, this hand-held or stationary mount system provides effective continuous duty cycle use, according to the company.
The Loctite 7700-HD features a patent pending LED technology that eliminates substrate heating, and offers a typical output of 1.0 to 1.5 W/cm2 at a peak wavelength of 405 nm. Powered from an AC power adapter, the system requires no batteries.
Earlier this year, Nordson Corporation introduced its LightTite shutter system, which instantly opens and closes to block UV light for accurate control during curing operations and was designed for use with the company's CoolWave system. Added to each CoolWave system lamp head, the pneumatically powered LightTite shutter opens and closes intstantly, without turning off the lamp head and power supply.
The AirShield ventilation system is another new product from Nordson for use with the CoolWave system. The AirShield ventilation system provides the user with the means to capture the hot exhaust air from the lamphead and remove it easily from the cure zone, which eliminates any possible contamination issues in curing applications.
RadTech's UV.EB West 2007 is March 6-7 in Los Angeles
Following up on the success of e|5, RadTech has recently announced dates for uv.eb West 2007, which will be held March 6-7 at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel at LAX in Los Angeles.
Presentations and demonstrations by leading industry suppliers and users will target the environmental, economic, energy savings and performance benefits of UV and EB and how the technology enables manufacturers to meet and exceed regulatory requirements.
uv.eb West 2007 will include a tabletop exhibit and conference program covering the basics of UV and EB technology. In addition, application workshops on aerospace and defense, UV inkjet, wood finishing/building materials, composites, adhesives, electronics, commercial printing/converting, metal, plastics finishing are planned.
Complete session and registration information is available online at www.uvebwest.com. To request a complete uv.eb West 2007 registration brochure or to obtain information on exhibiting call RadTech International, 240-497-1243; Fax: 240-209-2337.
Kusumgar, Nerlfi & Growney Publishes "Radiation-Cured Products 2005-2010."
According to the consulting firm of Kusumgar, Nerlfi & Growney, global consumption of radiation-cured products in 2005 was 270,000 metric tons (MT) with a value of $2.75 billion. Included are products for coatings, inks and adhesives. A modest six percent annual rate of growth is forecast through 2010. Europe and North America are maturing regions which together account for nearly two-thirds of the dollar value. Asia is the second largest consuming region in volume behind Europe, and is also the runner-up in dollars behind North America. A robust nine percent annual rate of growth is forecast for Asian consumption, led by the surge in China. By 2010, the Asian region is projected to be the leading consumer in both volume and dollars. Table 1 summarizes radcure product consumption by region.
Coatings is the largest outlet for ratiation-cured products representing apporximately three-quarters of the worldwide volume in 2005 and over one-half of the dollars. Wood, including furniture and flooring, is the leading coating outlet in volume and dollars with Europe consuming approximately 40% of the volume. Paper overprints is the second largest coating application with North America the leading outlet representing 40% of the tonnage. Optical fibers, CDs, PVC flooring, release and other plastic substrates are other leading coating outlets.
Inks consumed just fewer than 20% of the radcure tons but nearly 40% of the dollars. Offset and screen inks combined were over 90% of the volume. Radiation-cured inkjet inks were a miniscule portion of the weight, but three percent of the dollars. Inkjet inks are forecast to suge in usage in the upcoming years.
Adhesives were five percent of the global volume and nine percent of the dollars. DVD lamination was nearly 40% of the adhesive volume and dollars. CDs and DVDs are leading consumers of radiation-cured products with over $300 million of coatings, adhesives and inks used making these products in 2005. Numerous small volume assembly adhesive applications took eight percent of the adhesive weith but over one-third of the dollars.