The metal container industry adopted UV curing technology beginning in the late 1960's for curing UV decorative inks and functional coatings. UV curing enabled can manufacturers to improve their products, and increase productivity, for themselves and their customers, with an environmentally friendly process. Producers of steel and aluminum, 2-piece and 3-piece cans as well as beverage and food manufacturers find UV curing is an ideal solution.
UV Bottom Rim Coating
Heraeus Noblelight America was instrumental in pioneering UV rim coating for steel and aluminum beverage cans in the early 1990's. UV coatings provide a slick, highly mobile and very durable surface for the bottom rim of the can as it travels along the conveyor through the manufacturing and filling operations. The UV coatings are typically applied via roller coating by UV curing.
UV Rim Coating Advantages:
- Reduced scrap rates due to jams or leaks
- Reduced maintenance from reduction of metal fines
- Improved corrosion protection
- Increased production rates due to fewer jams causing downtime
- Increased transport capacity of existing conveyor belts
- Little or no VOCs and HAPs
Can Coating and Decorating
Both 2-piece and 3-piece cans are coated and decorated using UV curable coatings and inks. In fact, Heraeus Noblelight America installed the first 2-piece can UV decorating line in the 1970’s. Typically, 2-piece cans are formed via deep drawing and then decorated using offset lithography and a roller applied overprint varnish followed by UV curing. In contrast, 3-piece cans begin as cut metal sheets and are coated on both sides prior to forming. Exterior coatings prevent corrosion and include base coat, size coat, decorative ink and overprint varnish. Nearly 100% solids UV inks are typically printed via offset lithography onto the sheets followed by roll coated UV curable overprint varnish followed by UV curing.
UV Can Coating Advantages:
- Reduced floor space requirements
- Lower production costs
- Easily expandable to meet increased production needs
- Envrionmentally friendly process