Gary Cohen, executive director of RadTech, which organized uveb West 2017, said the scope of the talks were impressive.
“There are not too many events with presentations as varied as food preservation implications to conversations about mathematical modeling with inkjet printing,” Cohen said. “There are a lot of new people entering the industry in growth areas like 3D printing and inkjet.”
uvebWest 2017 opened on Feb. 27 with Short Course: The Chemistry of UV/EB, led by Dr. Susan E Bailey, technical manager-North America, IGM Resins and adjunct professor, SUNY-ESF Outreach. The Short Course served as an introductory course on the chemistry of UV/EB curable formulations.
The critical topic of UV LED is of major interest to coating manufacturers, with the second day dedicated to the topic. Nine speakers offering their insights, with William Schaeffer of Sartomer Americas leading off with “Chemistry and Methods for Enhanced UV-LED Cure Performance.” Brian Jasenak, Kopp Glass, discussed “Demonstration of UV LED Versatility When Paired with Molded UV Transmitting Glass Optics for Unique Curing Applications.” Jasenak noted that companies can use UV LEDs and molded optics to improve uniformity, increase peak irradiance minimize stray rays, design for fixturing and design for application requirements.
He added that the value to end users include increased or improved LED lifetime, manufacturing flexibility, ability to cure complex 3D surfaces and improved quality of the finished product, while reducing manufacturing time, energy and operational costs and capital equipment cost.
Laurie Morris, Alberdingk Boley, followed with “Investigations into LED Cure of Water-based UV Resins.”
“Water-based UV formulations can be successfully cured with UV LED lamps,” Morris concluded. “Photoinitiator choice is key to achieving good film properties. UV PUD 1 has outstanding chemical resistance and adhesion in a clear formulation when cured with high intensity water-cooled UV LED lamps. Film properties were equal to formulations cured with gallium and mercury lamps even though the percent cure was much lower. UV PUD 2 performed the best in pigmented formulations when cured with both UV LED lamps and mercury lamps. A hybrid system with both UV LED and mercury lamps works the best for pigmented formulations.”
Neil Cramer of Colorado Photopolymer Solutions covered “Effects of UV-LED Light Curing on Cure Rate and Oxygen Inhibition.” EIT’s Jim Raymont analyzed “The Importance of Total Optical Response in UV LED Measurement,” and Michael Knoblauch, Keyland, Polymer UV Powder, LLC, closed the conference with “UV LED Curing of UV-Cured Powder Coatings.”
“A 395nm UV LED will cure a clear, black, white and other non-conflicting UV absorbing pigmented UV-cured powder coating,” said Knobauch. “Increasing power output of UV LED expands application possibilities, and additional R&D is needed to overcome UV absorption conflicts.
“UV LED cured powder coatings are suitable for use on various substrates, simple and complex geometries,” Knobauch added. }UV LED curing of UV-cured powder coating is an enabling technology, expanding the product and market opportunities for powder coating.”
The conference broke into a two pairs of concurrent sessions on Feb. 28. The morning featured sessions on Future of Food: Packaging + Disinfection and 3D Printing: Market + Materials.
The 3D Printing: Market + Materials segment included five talks. Mike Idacavage of Colorado Photopolymer Solutions opened the session with “Development and Characterization of ABS-like and PDMS-like materials for UV Curable 3D printing Systems.” He was followed by Jake Hundley, HRL Laboratories, LLC, who discussed “Process-Microstructure Relationships in Additively Manufactured Photopolymer-Derived Ceramics.”
Formlabs’ Maximilian Zieringer analyzed “Material Science: Advancing the Future of Digital Manufacturing and 3D Printing,” followed by Lance Pickens of MadeSolid, Inc., who discussed “Materials, Machines, and Sufficiently Reproducible Magic.” Rong Bao, Tronly New Electronic Materials Cooperation, closed the 3D Printing session with his talk, “An Easy Way to Adjust the Properties of Epoxy in Cationic Photopolymerization, An Easy to Speed Up 3D UV Cationic Curing Process.”
Karl Swanson, eBeam Technologies, followed with “EBeam - Food Safety and Beyond,” covering the use of EB from farm to fork. He discussed pasteurization and packaging, and how it is saving money.
Sun Chemical’s David Biro gave a detailed analysis of “Current and Future Challenges for UV/EB inks in Low Migration Food Packaging,” and Connie Williams, Mars Chocolate, NA closed the session with “Mars and the Food Safety Modernization Act.”
The afternoon session included the topics of Next Generation UV Inkjet Technology and UV Materials for Display: Touch and Beyond.
Next Generation UV Inkjet Technology began with a talk on “Redesign of Energy Curable Waterborne Polyurethane Dispersions for Inkjet Applications,” presented by JoAnn Arceneaux of Allnex USA. Arceneaux noted that energy curable polyurethane dispersions (PUDs) have been used for coatings, and are now finding markets in inkjet inks.
Arceneaux was followed by Michael Kiehnel of BCH Brühl, who analyzed “Enabling Low Migration for Inkjet Inks and Coatings.” Kiehnel noted formulating low migration UV inks and varnishes is often limited as a result of the need for relatively highly viscous raw materials.
“Modern food packaging is more than ‘container for food,’” Kiehnel said. “There is a trend toward limited editions, and inkjet is ideal for short runs and customization. Inkjet inks are low viscosity, but acrylic functionalized photoinitators are a potential solution.”.
Matt Hirsch of Lumii gave a fascinating talk on “Lumii Light Field 3D Prints: A New Dimension for UV Printers.” Lumii processes 3D images and models, creating two layers of printable patterns that reproduce hologram-like 3D images when stacked.
SGIA’s Ford Bowers closed the inkjet segment with “Disruption and Opportunity: Lessons from the Wide Format Community.”
Bowers, who started Miller Zell’s digital program in 2009, noted that the company saved $360,000 in labor and overtime pay within 18 months, while reducing waste and production time. The company went from 100 jobs per month to more than 1,000.
However, as more companies switched to digital, the return on investment became more challenging.
“As more companies bought digital presses, prices started to collapse,” Bowers added. “Burst capacity became more important than utilization, as customers need their products by a certain day. This leads to a never-ending investment plan. Still, we are very happy we moved into digital.”
UV Materials for Displays: Touch + Beyond led off with Jennifer Colegrove, Touch Display Research Inc., who covered “Automotive Touch Display Market Forecast and UV Curable Technology’s Roles.”
Colegrove said that the touch panel market has grown from $2 billion in 2006 to $28 billion in 2016. Projective capacity is the largest subset for touch displays. The automotive industry is ideal for touch screens, which is a $7 billion market today.
“Requirements for automotive touch displays are 5 inches to 9.9 inches, depending on whether it is used for a GPS or infotainment system,” Colegrove observed. “It needs good optical properties, as it has to be read without glare, and must meet harsh requirements such as extreme hot and cold temperatures.” She anticipates new features like gesture control will become prominent.
Joseph Lichtenhan, Hybrid Plastics Inc., discussed “POSS Epoxy and Acrylic Additives for UV Optical Coatings,” and Rainer Dörfler, Delo Adhesives, Frank Hart, PVA; and Andy Stecher, Plasmatreat, analyzed “Display Bonding with UV Cure: A Solution for Flat, Curved, and Flexible Displays.”