“UV Curing is a photo-polymerization process, initiated by UltraViolet (UV) Energy. During the process, Electromagnetic Radiation transforms a liquid, applied to a substrate, to a solid cross linked polymer material. The process is extremely fast, which makes it very favorable for today’s manufacturing demands of high throughput (increased productivity) as well as higher product quality when compared to other coating and curing processes. UV curing is also considered an environmentally friendly (GREEN) solution as companies are looking for additional ways to reduce the use of solvents, hazardous air pollutants and VOC’s.
While this process has many established benefits, the push for lower film weights on various substrates and many new applications have made the use of inert atmosphere curing a must to allow more complete cross linking. In fact, without the exclusion of Oxygen (O2) from the curing zone, some processes will not cure. The benefits of improved adhesion, chemical resistance and lower photo-initiator levels bring a higher need for inert atmosphere curing.
The termination of the reaction by hydroperoxides, causing the incomplete network formation at the surface and the remaining acrylate double bonds are commonly called and referred to as “oxygen inhibition”
From “UV Curing in an Inerted Atmosphere – Equipment Update”
Jim Borsuk Senior Application Engineer Nordson UV Systems Group 09Apr14
Analytical Industries’ oxygen analyzers are widely used for monitoring the blanketing during curing processes.