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How Manufacturers Use Ultraviolet and Electron Beam Curing

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Are you reading this on your smartphone? Did you access this information while using your computer keyboard instead? Either way, ultraviolet (UV) and electron beam (EB) curing helped make this experience possible.
Electronics manufacturing isn’t the only industry that’s using UV and EB curing, however. With its fast processing speeds, superior physical properties, significant environmental benefits, and high return on investment, UV and EB curing is a smart choice for many New York State manufacturers.

How It Works

Ultraviolet and electron beam curing uses materials with specially-formulated chemistries and an energy source. Types of UV and EB materials include coatings, films, inks, adhesives, and composites. Because UV and EB curing provides complete control of the cure temperature, this process is ideal for heat-sensitive substrates such as plastics and wood. UV and EB curing is also great for sensitive or flammable substrates because most systems don’t use water or solvents.
For an energy source, ultraviolet and electron beam curing uses UV light, EB, or visible light. Medium-pressure mercury lamps, pulsed xenon lamps, energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and lasers can produce UV light or visible light. Unlike photons of light, which tend to be absorbed mainly at the surface, electron beams can penetrate through materials. These streams of electrons are observed in vacuum tubes equipped with at least two metal electrodes to which a voltage is applied.

Advantages and Applications

Ultraviolet and electron beam curing uses less energy than conventional coating techniques. Most products require less than a second of exposure, and web line speeds of 1,000 ft/min are common. Radiation curing, radcure, and light cure systems also have a small footprint and are easy to integrate with most production lines. During UV and EB curing, most volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from materials are eliminated.
Applications for UV and EB technologies include adhesives, electronics, medical devices, metal finishing, flooring, paneling, building products, food packing, plastics, composites, furniture, and photovoltaics. UV and EB curing is also used in the production of auto parts and aerospace components. Additional applications include flexographic, digital, offset and screen printing as well as 3D printing and additive manufacturing.

Learn More About Ultraviolet and Electron Beam Curing

Would you like to learn more about how UV and EB curing can strengthen your NYS manufacturing operations? RadTech, the Association for UV & EB Technology, provides webinars, articles, speakers, conferences, and other information at RadTech.org. The Radiation Curing Program at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) is also a great resource, and offers on-line course. Visit RadCuring.com for more information.
Image Credit: © ViewApart/Dollar Photo Club

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