Industrial UV Curing is a process that uses light in the ultraviolet spectrum
to cure an ink, coating, adhesive, or some other wet chemistry.
Why Use UV Curing?
Reduced Cure Time
One of the main drivers for companies to switch to UV curing from thermal curing is the reduced cure time. UV curing can be instantaneous, whereas thermal curing often takes hours or even days to achieve a full cure. This means a reduced cycle time per part, as well as reduced WIP, increasing the available floor space.
Improved Product Quality
UV coatings are often more durable and have a greater surface hardness when compared to thermal curing, as well as a more uniform glossiness. UV cured adhesives tend to have a stronger bond than comparable thermal cured adhesives.
Reduced Environmental Impact
UV curing allows for the elimination of solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Since UV produces a more consistent product, this means less scrap overall. It also requires less coating per part. Reduced equipment footprint means saving on floorspace.
What is UV?
Ultraviolet (UV) light is directly next to visible light on the electromagnetic spectrum. Shortwave is good for curing on the surface, whereas longwave is better for deeper cures.
How Does UV Curing Work?
UV curing works differently than thermal curing, though both use energy to cure or “dry” a coating/adhesive. With thermal curing, the coating has a solvent mixed in to help apply the coating, which gets “cooked off” over time at elevated temperatures. This leaves a cured coating that is thinner than originally applied and the resulting coat uniformity is dependent on how well mixed the coating is.
However, in UV curing, the coating contains photo-initiator compounds that react to the light by releasing free radicals. These free radicals then kick off a reaction called polymerization in which free-floating monomers form chains. The end result is a strong, fully cured and dry network of highly cross-linked chains. Since curing is instantaneous and no coating is lost to evaporation, the cured coating will be more uniform and glossy than a thermally cured coating.
UV systems for curing large areas at once. Suitable for both large parts and high volumes of smaller parts.
- OmniCure® AC Series
- OmniCure® CV300
- Heraeus Microwave
UV systems for curing small areas on parts. Can be used by hand, robotically, or clamped in place.
- OmniCure® S1500
- OmniCure® S2000
- OmniCure® LX500
- OmniCure® R2000
UV Measuring & Monitoring
Devices to monitor UV irradiance for process control. Allows for longer times between maintenance and a more uniform cure between products.
- Power Puck® II
- PowerMAP® II
- Compact Sensor
- UVC 1000 Dosimeter