UV Growth Continues Unabated

UV Coatings Growth

UV Ink as a component of the global printing ink market has been forecast to grow at a 15.7% CAGR between 2015-2020 to reach $3.5 billion in 2020. Currently the global market for UV coatings has a value of $3,430. million with a future forecast projecting sustained growth of 6.1% CAGR by 2026 or $ 6,187 million.
Figures courtesy Allied Research Markets & Future Markets Insights

upchartNew opportunities for growth continue to be identified, while there is increasing penetration of known and new markets with ever expanding new applications. There is now a greater than 40-year period of sustained growth.

Energy curing technology, represented by ultraviolet (UV) and electron beam (EB), is seen as offering attractive advantages in terms of being eco-friendly, sustainable, cost efficient, reliable, and void of VOC content.

UV Light CuringUV (ultraviolet) light curing is a photochemical process utilizing the power of UV light to achieve instant drying or curing of inks, coatings and adhesives. The use of UV cured products continues to grow due to advantages over traditionally used air/heat drying products. Other advantages include: superior product abrasion & chemical resistance, a wide range of finishes, high clarity, process consistency, high printing/coating speeds, and quality improvements, with low operational costs, resulting in higher productivity.

Growth areas for UV inks are many including the packaging market sector. Within it, fastest growing are narrow web, tag & label, folding carton and flexible packaging. UV sheetfed offset packaging and commercial printing also continue to grow however, UV flexo printing is growing at a faster rate.
In terms of UV coating markets, the broad breakdown is generally, wood, paper, plastics, and metals, with the plastics segment expected to see the greatest growth, due to a rapid expansion in electronic and automotive applications.

UV cured products, due to their advantages have attracted applications in an ever-expanding group of industries, including graphic arts, packaging, converting, automotive, electronics, telecommunications, architecture, aviation, marine, medical, textile, flooring, furniture and other wood applications. Newer applications include printed electronics, coil coating, small medical device coating, and concrete coating.

A continuing increase in global market industrialization as well as its’ competitive nature, is driving the need for the production of higher quality, more marketable products.

The use of UV curing technology is being driven by the growth of these emerging markets and their populations’ desire for the benefits of products enjoyed by western culture. Increases in the standard of living and disposable income are making this growth possible.

Globally, the UV curing products market is geographically split into North America, South America, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, and Africa including the Middle East. Historically, the market in North America has seen the largest consumption of UV curable products. This however is changing rapidly with the Asia Pacific region forecast to grow faster with China, South Korea, and Japan driving consumption. This is a result of accelerating growth in the electronics industry, where there is demand for high performance UV coatings and inks.

Usage of UV curing has also been driven by environmental concerns and government regulations. A marketable benefit is the fact that UV curables have been designated as “Best Available Control Technology” (BACT) by EPA. UV curables reduce VOC’s, CO² emissions, and energy requirements.

New evolving developments in UV curing technology are fueling growth too. Continuing UV curing materials research has produced bio-based renewable resource resins. These are fueling demand from printing and packaging buyers who desire to certify that their products are being made using sustainable eco- friendly, green resources, and processes.

Sustainable WorldInnovations in the development of environmentally friendly water-based UV/EB curables are also contributing. While 100% solids UV/EB curables are serving developed markets well, there are some markets that are better served by low viscosity sprayable products. It is here that water-based curables have the potential to offer a better process and finished product fit. New developments in UV-curable polyurethane dispersions (UV-PUDs) combining the benefits of aqueous as well as UV curing, are providing new and better product opportunities in wood finishing, plastics and concrete coating.

Emerging low energy LED UV lamp technology, is another significant development that is providing anevolutionary change in UV curing. Companion to the development are new low energy UV curing highly reactive inks and coatings (optimized for high speed curing). These are aimed at the sheetfed and web offset printing market sector. Advantages are fewer lamps, lower operating costs, no ozone byproduct, I-R free output, and higher productivity. Clearly, printing/coating of heat sensitive thin plastic films favor cold energy UV-LED curing processes.

Growth of the global UV coating and ink markets are both being stimulated by eco-friendly and sustainable UV curable technology. Higher growth of water-based UV technology is forecast as low viscosity spraying for wood, furniture and automotive use will be adopted at a high rate. The electronics industry will continue grow to become a very large end user industry of UV inks and coatings. Many applications will be grown, including displays, and sensors targeted to monitor an endless number of things.

Digitized Inkjet printing will continue to grow at a fast rate as print buyers increase demand for multiple design, variable and short run capabilities. Custom in-line decorating is pushing into new markets such as packaging, including label, folding carton, corrugated and flexo.

Our business at Cork is the development and formulation of Aqueous, energy curing Ultraviolet (UV), and Electron Beam (EB) specialty coatings and adhesives. Cork thrives on its ability to formulate novel, useful specialty products that offer users a competitive advantage.

 


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About the Author

Elmer W. Griese Jr, having accumulated 35+ years of knowledge working in the coatings and printing ink industries has now authored the Cork Tech Talk News, newsletter since 1992 producing 112 issues. He remains dedicated to educating and illuminating technological progress that offers the potential to advance coating technology and its applications.

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