In the same way that LED technology has replaced some automotive lighting, interior lighting, and other traditional light sources, UV LED curing will inevitably replace traditional UV curing technology for some converting applications due to the production advantages discussed here. The most promising wide web converting applications for UV LED curing (development work, pilot lines and a few commercial lines) are:
- laminating adhesives (film-to-film, film-to-foil, and film-to-paper)
- hydrogels (transdermal patches, etc.)
- processes where the UV energy can pass through one side of a substrate such as a transparent film to:
- reach the chemistry beneath
- create patterns (nanoimprint lithography) on the film.
Any existing converting application using additive (iron or gallium) UV curing is a good candidate for UV LED curing because their UV energy output is long wavelength and essentially monochromatic at 365, 385, or 395 nm. Converting applications such as optical films that require a hard coat are especially challenging for UV LED curing since short wavelengths, well below 365 nm, are needed for surface curing. Pairing UV LED curing with existing UV curing can be an ideal solution for producing a wide variety of converted products on a single line.
The bottom line and next steps
Based on the factors discussed here, most converting production lines that replace arc lamps with UV LED curing systems will increase production rates by as much as 10% or more. UV LED system manufacturers can help you assess the potential for your converting lines based on recommended maintenance practices, equipment design, and your specific production needs. Once you have an estimate of reduced downtime and higher machine utilization for your specific converting lines you can easily calculate increased production rates or yield possible using UV LED curing.
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when choosing a UV LED curing system provider who can help you assess feasibility and production rate improvements for your converting manufacturing operations.
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