Ultraviolet Curing Vs. Electron Beam Curing

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Ultraviolet (UV) curing and electron beam (EB) curing refer to processes that use UV or EB light to cure coatings or adhesives onto a range of printed or manufactured goods. Compared to traditional curing processes, these methods are more energy-efficient and eco-friendly. This, along with their many other benefits, makes UV and EB curing ideal for a range of applications.

What is UV Curing? What is EB Curing?

Click to ExpandUltraviolet Curing Vs. Electron Beam Curing

UV and EB curing use ultraviolet, electron beam, or visible light to polymerize a combination of oligomers and monomers onto a substrate. These processes offer an improved way to cure, or dry, adhesives, inks, coatings, composites, and other materials. Compared to traditional curing techniques that use more energy and produce harmful emissions, UV and EB curing use less energy and are better for the environment. 

UV/EB Curing Processes

The UV and EB curing processes are known as radiation curing, as UV and EB are radiant energy sources. Their individual processes are as follows:

  • UV curing. UV curing is a process that involves using high-intensity ultraviolet light to create a photochemical reaction, which instantly cures adhesives, coatings, inks, and more. Common sources for UV light include LEDs, lasers, pulsed xenon lamps, and more.
  • EB curing. EB coatings and ink contain monomers and oligomers that, when exposed to a beam of high-energy electrons, release free radicals that cause the ink or coating to cure.

UV and EB curable compositions include:

  • Monomers
  • Polymers
  • Oligomers
  • Photoinitiators
  • Additives

These compositions can be combined in various inks, coatings, adhesives, and more to create UV and EB curable materials.

UV/EB Curing Applications

UV and EB curable inks, coatings, and adhesives are used on products that span a wide range of industries and applications. Common applications include:

  • UV and EB curable inks. Screen printing, flexible packaging, lithography, flexography, inkjet, gravure, letterpress
  • UV and EB curable adhesives. Laminating, automotive headlamps, pressure-sensitive decals and labels, medical and small part bonding, encapsulating of electrical components
  • UV and EB curable coatings. Military and aerospace components, food and consumer packaging, furniture, wall paneling, leather finishes, beverage cans, photovoltaics, magazine covers

Benefits of UV and EB Curing 

The benefits of both UV and EB curing techniques are numerous and well known, especially when used with manufactured products requiring fast processing on substrates that are sensitive to heat. One of the biggest benefits of UV and EB curing is its environmental friendliness. Traditional curing methods release harmful compounds into the air, whereas UV and EB curing methods eliminate the need for hazardous solvents that produce these compounds. These curing options also offer stain resistance and enhanced durability.

Specific benefits for UV curing include:

  • Fast drying times
  • Scratch and abrasion resistance
  • Consistency
  • Improved print quality
  • VOC free

Specific benefits for EB curing include:

  • Instant cure
  • Abrasion and chemical resistance
  • Immediate bond strength
  • Free of initiators
  • Low to no VOC content

EB and UV Curing from DBT Coatings, Inc.

EB and UV curings offer a fast and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional curing methods. At DBT Coatings, Inc., we can formulate and produce custom EB and UV coatings and adhesives based on your specific needs. We can create solutions for a wide range of substrates and applications, and we have the necessary experience to overcome any process challenges. To learn more about our UV and EB curable solutions, contact us or request a quote today.