What is UV Curing?

jenton uv spot curing

‘UV curing’ relates to the process where energy absorbed from UV light at specific wavelengths energises a catalytic polymerisation reaction that, simplistically, turns a liquid plastic into a solid one.

UV materials companies mix specific monomers, oligomers and photoinitiators  appropriate to application for the created polymer. This reaction can be very fast and with the appropriate energy can occur in seconds or milliseconds. These liquid plastics can be inks, coatings and/or adhesives. They must be largely visible to the UV source but sometimes UV can trigger a reaction that can be completed with heat and the technology suits applications where either time or structural performance is of the essence.

UV materials applied glossy, stay glossy (there is no evaporation of diluent such as solvent).  A material doesn’t just dry, it cross links, so coatings are much stronger and inks more resistant to solvent/rubbing etc. There is far less shrinkage on ‘drying’ – ideal for optical applications. The speed of UV curing can mean that expensive jigs are available for the next product far more quickly and UV is often used in automated manufacturing.

Good examples are the manufacture of optical fibres, CDs/DVDs, medical devices (syringes, stents, tube sets etc.), conformal coatings, electronic components, automotive trim, loudspeakers and many others).