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A new way with water-borne UV curing

22.05.2007 14:00

Tikkurila Coatings has, together with its technological partners Finnish Sasmetor and German BASF AG, developed an economical coating method UVITEC® which is based on water-borne UV curing products and a new UV curing device.

The UVITEC® concept is based on the LAROLUX® process by BASF AG.

The UVITEC® system launched to the market can replace the existing solvent-borne coatings in the chair and other furniture industry.

Chair manufacturers typically use polyurethane, nitrocellulose, and acid-catalysed coatings to finish their products today. Although these perform very well, their low solids content means that larger producers in the EU will not be able to meet the requirements set out in the Community´s Directive 1999/13/EC limiting emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) after 2007.

The new directive presents these manufacturers with a dilemma, and was one of the catalysts for a project launched within Tikkurila Coatings to come up with a viable alternative that would match or exceed current systems, while enabling manufacturers to meet the new VOC limits.

Switching to a water-borne approach

The result was the new UVITEC® UV coating method, which consists of a family of water-borne LUMINOL UV curing coatings, a spray booth with a built-in recovery system, and a new 3D UV curing device that allows the curing of the water-borne UV lacquer to take place in an inert atmosphere of carbon dioxide.

A range of waterborne AKVI ATS stains and LUMINOL lacquers and paints is also available for the new method.

Chairs, components produced from glue-laminated wood products, and plastic components that cannot be treated with equipment designed for flat substrates, are all well-suited to the new method, which offers multiple benefits in areas such as low emissions, raw material usage, and reduced throughput times.

International recognition and first commercial application

Tikkurila received a special award in the Coatings and Adhesives category at the RadTech Europe Association´s RadTech 2005 Conference in Barcelona for the UVITEC® ultraviolet coating system. The first commercial chair painting line has been taken into use by HKT Korhonen Oy of Finland in August 2006.  Their line is equipped with a cool wall spray booth especially designed for chair application, a robot for spraying and UVITEC UV-curing device. HKT Korhonen is best known as a manufacturer of high-quality Alvar Aalto (Artek) furniture.

Key benefits of the new UVITEC® UV coating method

  • Low production-related VOC emissions
  • Low energy and carbon dioxide consumption
  • Low investment costs, and easy upgrade routes
  • Possibility to save 40-50% in material and waste management costs
  • Similar or lower process costs compared to existing systems
  • Similar or better surface properties than achieved with solvent-borne products
  • Reduced throughput time. Products are immediately ready for packaging
  • Low curing temperature, suitable for heat-sensitive materials, such as pine and plastics

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