Curing is a process that involves hardening products by drying them. Ultraviolet (UV) curing is a method that uses intense light to accomplish the task. This method, which is believed to date back to the 1960s, is used in a wide range of industries in the 21st century, such as graphic arts, footwear, and telecommunications. The use of this ultraviolet process has numerous benefits, including the ability to allow producers to make more goods with less space in less time.
Inks, coatings, and adhesives are all materials that are used in the production of finished goods. In order for finished goods to be usable, durable, or attractive, these production materials usually need to be hardened. For example, shoes usually require an adhesive to make a strong bond between the upper portion of the shoe and the sole if they are to be beneficial to wearers.
Many curing processes make use of heat or air. Ultraviolet curing differs in that it is a photochemical process. This means that the effects are produced as a result of the exposure to light. UV curing cannot be accomplished with just any type of light. Instead, high-intensity UV light is required. This is commonly produced by a mercury discharge lamp or an electrodeless lamp.
When UV curing is used, photoinitiators are also used. These are light-absorbing chemicals that are added to the products that will be exposed to UV. These facilitate the process of allowing light to be used to harden materials such as inks and adhesives.
Numerous benefits are associated with the use of ultraviolet curing. One of them is that this process works quickly. Whereas some other methods could take hours or days, UV curing is usually completed in less than one minute, often requiring only several seconds. In addition to saving time, this method also tends to save space because UV drying equipment is often more compact than other types of drying machinery.
UV curing is commonly praised for its ability to create a better finished product. In addition to the speed with which they are created, the bonds have been noted to be superior to those produced by other methods. Products that have been dried with ultraviolet light have been found to be more scratch resistant and to have a higher degree of chemical resistance.
Ultraviolet curing is also considered more environmentally friendly than many other curing processes. One reason for this is because other methods tend to require solvents, but ultraviolet curing does not. The drying of solvents generally involves the production of harmful emissions.