Expo Review: RadTech 2008 Showcases Latest in UV, EB Technologies

By David Savastano | May 29, 2008

The UV and EB markets have enjoyed excellent growth in recent years, as the benefits of energy-curable technologies are leading to new industries and applications. RadTech UV/EB Technology Conference & Expo 2008, which was held May 4-7 at the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, showcased the latest technologies, through its technical conference, end-user sessions and exposition.

The gains being made by UV and EB technology can be seen by the companies that spoke at these sessions. Representatives from major companies such as Ford Motor Company, Kraft Foods, BASF, PPG Industries, 3M, Northrup Grumman, Armstrong World Industries and Red Spot Paint and Varnish, as well as representatives from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, were on hand to discuss the advantages of UV and EB.

According to RadTech officials and exhibitors, the show did extremely well considering the economy.

"Not only are we happy with the turnout, but considering the state of the economy for the manufacturing sector, it is a reflection of how energy curable technologies can help companies stay competitive as well as move ahead in key areas such as sustainability and the environment," said Gary Cohen, executive director of RadTech North America.

Attendees make their way around the RadTech show floor.
"I feel that the show is doing very well," said Petra L'Abbe of PPG Industries, president of RadTech North America. "We have a really high concentration of end-users, significantly higher than in the past. We also have a large international contingent here, which is a plus."

Among the highlights were the end-user sessions, covering areas as diverse as wood finishing and building; automotive OEM, Tier One and refinish markets; aerospace and defense; sustainable printing and packaging; and industrial applications.

Perhaps the most successful session was UV & EB For Direct Food Contact Packaging, which as attended by more than 170 attendees.

"I'm impressed with how RadTech 2008 started off," said Dr. Mike Idacavage of Cytec, RadTech's incoming president and co-chair of the technical conference. "The traffic looks strong, and there seems to be a lot of in-depth conversations going on. The technical sessions were good, notably the waterborne and food packaging sessions, which indicates a clear interest in lower-VOC chemistry and sustainability."

Attendees gather information at Sartomer's booth.
Dr. Molly Hladik of Hewlett-Packard, co-chair of the technical conference, said that a record number of papers were submitted this year, and she was impressed with the diversity and quality of the presentations.

"The papers and presentations we received were very high quality," said Hladik. "We have a diverse group of presenters and topics, and we are covering a lot of innovative and new topics, including green chemistry and sustainability."

Exhibitors said they were pleased with RadTech 2008's opening day.

PPG was active at RadTech 2008.
"The show has been very good," said Henry Miller, UV/EB technical development manager, Sartomer Company. "We had a good mix of traffic and a good base of customers asking us about new applications."

"The show was very good for us," added James Goodrich, UV/EB technology manager for Sartomer. "There is a lot of good information here, and we are seeing a lot of interesting applications. We're working on renewable resources, but no matter how much you do, acrylic acid is oil- or natural gas-based. It can't be 100% renewable. We're evaluating backbones and have products commercially available."

Lubrizol showcased new products at RadTech 2008
"It's been a good show for us in terms of volume and mix of customers and end users," said Doug McClellan, marketing communications, Americas at Cytec Industries, Inc. "We've seen good interest in bioligomers and hardcoats."

"We've been pleased with the turnout," said Ron Levitt, market segment leader for Shamrock Technologies. "This year's show is improved from 2006. We have seen a broad spectrum of customers from different countries."

"We've had some high quality leads so far and a lot of new contacts," said Jeff Norris, platform manager, hyperdispersants for Lubrizol Advanced Materials. "Attendees are asking specific

King Industries meets with attendees.
questions, which is good."

Patrick Heraty Jr., sales manager, Midwest, Tego Coating Additives & Specialty Resins, said his company had good traffic.

"We are meeting with many formulators who are looking to adapt their energy curable products to meet their customers' needs," Mr. Heraty said.

Sue Jaszkowski, marketing communication manager for BASF, said that RadTech has been an ideal setting to showcase the combined capabilities of BASF and Johnson Polymer.

"The show has been going well," Jaszkowski said. "The traffic has been nice and steady, and interest has been spread out among different applications and markets. For us, it has been good to integrate our Johnson Polymer line into the BASF legacy lines. It's a new market for Johnson Polymer, so we're doing a lot of learning. We've also been integrating our R&D efforts, which is allowing us to utilize the best of both worlds to create new technologies."

Following up on this year's show, RadTech North America announced that its next major show, uv.eb West 2009, is scheduled for Feb. 17-18 in Los Angeles, CA. In addition, RadTech 2010 will be held May 23-26 in Baltimore, MD.


Wood experts discussed UV finishing for wood applications at RadTech 2008

RadTech's end-user session dedicated to the wood industry, "UV Wood Finishing & Building Products," was sponsored by Wood & Wood Products Magazine and featured a full day of experts highlighting the benefits of using UV/EB coatings for a variety of wood coatings applications.

From left to right: Charles Schwab, sales representative, Gemini Coatings; Christy Dennis, marketing director, Adastra Technologies, Inc.; George Wakalopulos, president, Adastra Technologies, Inc.; Douglas DeLong, DDU Enterprises; Kyle Sass, group leader, wood and plastic coatings; Donald Hart, technical service manager, Mid-America Protective Coatings, Inc.; Douglas Hatch, vice president of engineering, PB&H Moulding Corporation.
After a brief introduction by moderator Don Hart, co-chair of the wood focus group for RadTech and technical service manager, Mid-America Protective Coatings, the first speaker of the day was Kyle Sass, co-chair of the wood focus group for RadTech and group leader, wood and plastic coatings, BASF Corporation . He presented, "Overview of UV Coatings Technology."

"UV cure has many advantages including excellent film properties and performance," Sass said. "UV/EB coatings also have huge environmental advantages as well. It really is a great technology."

Next Mid-America's Hart and Doug DeLong of DDU Enterprises shared the podium and presented, "Overview of UV Curing Equipment-Not All Lamps are Created Equal (especially UV lamps)." DeLong began by addressing the general lack of knowledge about how UV light works. "UV lamps are very different from ordinary lamps," he said. "I describe them as tiny little suns. That's how strong they are. It is important to match the right lamp to the specific coating chemistry involved."

Hart took over and shared some commercial examples of how UV technology is being used in the market.

During their presentation, "UV 101 For Contractors," George Wakalopulos, president, and Christy Dennis, marketing director, Adastra Technologies, Inc., discussed what it takes for contractors to succeed in curing with UV.

Dennis began by discussing key aspects of the process. "Contractors react shocked when seeing the UV coating process for first time," she said. "To be successful it takes knowledge, the right equipment and the right coating for the job. UV coatings offer good adhesion properties, appearance, a long life, are cost effective and are environmentally friendly. Combining the right equipment and coatings is what makes the magic of the UV coating process happen."

Next up was Charles Schwab, sales representative, Gemini Coatings who presented "Repair of UV Finished Coatings."

"Touch up and repair is all about options and less is more," Schwab said. "Spend the least amount of time with the least amount of products as possible to ensure success. Base color, level, texture, grain lines and sheen are the five points of a good repair."

The last presentation of the morning came from Rita Loof of RadTech International North America. In her presentation, "Environmental/Regulatory Issues for End Users," Loof discussed RadTech's role in working with regulators in promoting UV/EB technology.

After breaking for lunch, the session continued with a presentation from PB&H Moulding Corporation by Douglas Hatch, vice president of engineering. The presentation, "End User Perspective on UV for Mouldings," gave audience members a detailed look at how PB&H successfully implemented a UV system.

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