Can I use my usual paints when I change from thermal drying to UV?

No. UV cure paints are chemically different and dry by a completely different mechanism. They are generally nearly 100% solids (UV convertable from liquid state).

Are UV paints harmful to use?
Provided that good industrial hygiene is practiced they are not harmful. Since they are almost 100% solids and non-volatile, they are less harmful than most paints from an inhalation hazard point of view, but they can be irritating to the skin. We recommend disposable nitrile gloves, but if skin contact occurs, wash with solvol soap and water. It is best not to use solvent wash-up on the skin

What is the ecological status of UV paint?
UV paints are listed as “best available control technology” for reduction of atmospheric pollution from coating processes by the California EPA. This is as a result of their very high solids, very low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and speed of cure with low energy input.

Will UV paints dry without special equipment?
Generally not – they require UV lamps, but it is possible to formulate UV cross linking paints that will physically dry before cure (e.g. by solvent or water evaporation). This is sometimes suggested if there is likely to be shadow zones in the curing oven – e.g. with 3 dimensional objects. UV cross linking Polyurethane dispersions are useful for this

Do I need to wash up equipment between shifts etc. as I do with conventional paints?
Not necessarily. Since UV paints don’t dry unless they are exposed to light it is possible to simply cover equipment between uses. Clean up is also an easy process owing to the non-drying nature of these paints.

How much power does it use?
Generally about 20% of that for thermal processes.

What are the key characteristics making UV cure a choice over conventional coatings?

  • Speed of cure (seconds or less!)
  • Hardness and scratch resistance (flooring, furniture, graphics)
  • Exceptional gloss (wet look)
  • Environment friendly (low or no VOC’s)
  • Less wash-up (only dries under influence of light)
  • Space saving (equipment has compact footprint)

Why do UV coatings dry almost instantly?  They don’t contain a volatile component needing evaporation time.  UV light activates photo-initiators which trigger a cross-linking mechanism causing neighbouring molecules to polymerise.  Special UV Equipment (or good sunshine) does the business.

Health and safety?  UV coatings are generally CLASS 9 so need care to prevent spillage or skin contact.  Nitrile gloves, goggles and good industrial hygiene are important.  Skin contact should be washed off immediately with solvol soap or equivalent and water.  Aloe Vera is an excellent follow-up.  Don’t use solvents on skin.
If aerosols can be formed, carbon impregnated masks and face covering should be employed.

How much power does UV equipment use?  Generally about 20% of that used in thermal drying systems.  The substrate does not need to be heated as Part of the drying mechanism.

Can I use my usual paints when converting to UV cure?  No – special chemistry is needed.  That’s what we are here for!

Any useful material for our publicity?  UV cure is listed as “best available control technology” (BACT) for reduction of atmospheric pollution from coating processes by the California EPA.  NZ companies Have achieved Environmental Choice Green Tick for our UV and Quick Dry Aqueous coatings