The growth of UV/EB technologies has been steady in recent years, even through the recession. The advantages - instantaneous curing, improved performance characteristics and environmental benefits (including virtually no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and being more energy efficient) - have driven this growth.
SUNY-ESF held an open house during uv.eb East 2011.
With an eye toward expanding the ability of New York manufacturers to compete by using UV and EB, NYSERDA, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and RadTech International North America have established the Ultraviolet Light (UV) and Electron Beam (EB) Process Curing Systems Technology Center in Syracuse, NY.
NYSERDA provided $900,000 in funding for the independent technology center, which will serve as a center of expertise with advanced equipment and analytical laboratory capabilities.
“The selection of this center is the result of NYSERDA’s jointly sponsored work with RadTech International,” said Francis Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA. “The Center offers assistance to help New York-based manufacturers adopt ultraviolet light and electron beam-curing technologies that can dramatically cut costs and waste, enable New York State manufacturers to remain competitive and reduce air emissions.”
Scott Larsen, project manager, manufacturing technology development and on-site power applications for NYSERDA, said that NYSERDA’s mission is to advance innovative energy solutions in ways that improve New York’s economy and environment, and UV/EB fits that goal.
“NYSERDA serves as a catalyst, advancing energy innovation and technology, transforming New York's economy, empowering people to choose clean and efficient energy as part of their everyday lives,” Mr. Larsen said.
“NYSERDA has long recognized UV/EB processing as an advanced manufacturing technique that embodies every aspect of our mission statement: energy efficient, environmentally friendly and economically beneficial to end users. NYSERDA has supported projects involving UV/EB processing for more than 10 years,” Mr. Larsen said. “In 2007-08 we noticed an increased interest in UV/EB projects from the marketplace, which prompted NYSERDA’s strategic focus on UV/EB processing. This focus led to our partnership with RadTech and NYSERDA’s issuance of a targeted solicitation solely focused on UV/EB processing and market development in New York State.”
“RadTech is highly respected in the marketplace and is the ‘go to’ organization to reach UV/EB stakeholders,” Larsen said. “RadTech and NYSERDA staff have formed a close, cooperative relationship and sense of mission in the development and adoption of this energy saving, environmentally proactive technology. NYSERDA partnered with RadTech to co-sponsor uv.eb East 2009 in Niagara Falls, NY. This beneficial partnership has continued with the second biennial uv.eb East 2011 held in Syracuse, NY, and talk of a third biennial is already underway.”
In order to spur growth in the field of energy curing, NYSERDA has provided funding for the UV/EB Technology Center at SUNY-ESF.
“NYSERDA’s intention is for the UV/EB Technology Center to help New York industrial firms to increase their competitive position by reducing their energy consumption, increasing their productivity by reducing production bottlenecks, and reducing or eliminating regulatory burdens associated with VOCs and HAPs,” Mr. Larsen said. “The Center will also help New York industrial firms to integrate science and innovation into manufacturing practices and to transform applied research into business advantages.
“We determined that establishing an independent UV/EB Technology Center would have the greatest long term impact on the industrial marketplace and lead to New York becoming a hub for innovation in UV/EB processing,” Mr. Larsen added. “The Technology Center will provide confidential, unbiased support to New York State businesses and manufacturers interested in exploring opportunities for adoption or implementation of UV/EB technologies and to conduct cutting edge research into innovative applications for UV and EB technologies leading to economic development activities in New York State.”
Mr. Larsen said that the decision to build the Technology Center at ESF was the result of a competitive solicitation, in which a panel of internal and external experts in the field judged that ESF had the best proposal.
“The center is an excellent opportunity for SUNY-ESF’s students, faculty and technical staff to work closely with New York State manufacturers on energy efficient curing and manufacturing processes,” Dr. Cornelius Murphy Jr., SUNY-ESF president, said. “The college will help develop and transfer the latest in energy-efficient UV light and EB technologies to the coating, adhesive and composite industries in New York State. These new technologies will help New York State-based companies be more competitive by reducing costs and marketing more environmentally friendly products.”
UV/EB Technology Center is led by co-directors Dr. Jennifer Smith and Dr. Mark Driscoll. The Center will emphasize R&D and education, and offers a pilot plant where instrument manufacturers, formulators and end users will be able to use the Center’s equipment to qualify new equipment and chemistries.
The Center has collected a wide variety of state-of-the-art equipment, including a UV system from Fusion UV, electron beam units from ESI and AUB and an LED array. There are also a strong collection of durability testing equipment, presses and lab equipment, plus ESF has electron and light microscopes in other departments for the Center to utilize.
The faculty is on board with the UV/EB Center’s goals; Dr. Driscoll noted that at elast 20 faculty members are interested in working with UV/EB technology, and 10 members are conducting research in this field.
RadTech officials said they are impressed with the new technology and the commitment of NYSERDA and ESF.
“The lab is a great start,” said Howard Ragin of DSM NeoResins, RadTech North America’s president. “It is terrific that NYSERDA and ESF have committed to this technology and that many professors are interested in working on the technology. The establishment of the technology center and continued support of uv.eb EAST offers great potential to position the state as a global leader in this fast emerging technology.”
“NYSERDA recocognizes the benefits of this technology. The are really out in front in looking toward the future and they see how energy curing can contribute to that future,” added Gary Cohen, executive director of Radtech North America.
For more information on the Center, see the web site at www.esf.edu.