In addition to the clear benefits it delivers to manufacturers, UV curing is an environmentally friendly technology. It is a clean technology that minimizes or eliminates the VOC emissions commonly associated with other curing technologies.
Most UV processes do not require pollution controls and significantly reduce energy consumption.
We invite our customers to publicize “green” characteristics pertaining to their use of UV curing processes. The following statement serves as a useful baseline for formulating a sustainability message:
“Using UV curing in our manufacturing process significantly reduces volatile organic compound emissions, carbon dioxide emissions, and reduces the energy needed to produce our product. The EPA labeled UV curing as a Best Available Control Technology in 1999. By incorporating clean processing technologies such as UV curing, we’re doing our part to protect the environment.”
Several of the important “green” advantages of UV curing are described below:
UV processing, a fast, efficient and clean industrial process, was officially recognized in August 1999 as a "Best Available Control Technology" (BACT). BACT is a concept used by the EPA to ensure that companies utilize cleaner technologies under the Clean Air Act of 1990.
UV is a proven technology that instantly "cures" or polymerizes inks, coatings and adhesives, making industrial processes more efficient, while virtually eliminating the air pollution and waste generated by traditional methods. UV is used in a wide range of applications to protect, decorate or bond items such as wood, fiber optics, compact discs, credit cards, beverage cans, food packaging, magazine covers and automotive parts.
The nation's most stringent air quality district, the Southern California South Coast Air Quality Management District 9 (SCAQMD), has named UV as BACT for a wood coating operation. "This is a milestone decision for an air district to include 'Pollution Prevention' in their regulations," says Rita Loof, RadTech's legislative Consultant. "Certain 'end-of-pipe' controls are also considered BACT, but end-of-pipe can be expensive to install," says Alex Ross, RadTech's Director of Legislative Affairs, "and careful attention must be paid to ensure operational effectiveness." Now, with the addition of UV as a BACT option, end users have a 'pollution prevention' alternative to meet BACT standards.
"New low- and zero-emission technologies will be the key in order to achieve clean air goals, and UV/EB is a prime technology to consider for any facility that applies links, coatings or adhesives," says Paul Elias, RadTech's President. "In fact, the SCAQMD has defined 'Superclean' technologies as those emitting less than 5% by weight of ozone-generating volatile organic compounds," according to Elias. "Most UV/EB coatings easily beat the superclean definition, and average just 3% emissions, with the VOC content for the wood coatings BACT operation even better, emitting less than 1/100th of the definition of just 0.03%."
UV curing processes eliminate the need for thermal oxidizers or other means of incinerating VOCs (volatile organic compounds), since most UV formulations contain little or no VOCs. This usually means easier environmental permitting and less record keeping for manufacturers.
UV curing is also significantly more energy efficient than most thermal drying processes because the curing takes place at low temperatures and in a matter of seconds instead of minutes or hours. Most thermal ovens also require warm-up and cool-down cycles. UV processes typically start just a few minutes before starting a production run and no cool-down cycle is needed.
For more information on UV technology as an environmentally friendly curing application, click here.
Contact us if you would like more information or have specific questions.