The energy-curing industry has been one of the bright spots during the past few years, as growth has remained steady and new applications have been numerous.
This year’s RadTech 2002 conference, held in Indianapolis, IN, showcased the continuous interest in radiation curing, as an estimated 2,700 visitors attended the numerous discussions on new technologies and the exhibition floor.
|Dr. David Biro of Sun Chemical, left, and Dr. Don Duncan of Wikoff Color served as RadTech 2002’s Graphic Arts Focus Group’s co-chairs.|
Right from the keynote addresses, the future was very much a topic of interest.
“The future of well-being on Earth depends on extending the quality of human life,” said Llewelyyn King, founder of King Publishing.
“The only way we can achieve that is through the marvelous glories of technologists. It takes wildly passionate people to innovate. The importance of a better idea can not be overlooked. For example, the wheel has been around a long time, but it has not been attached to a suitcase until recently.”
Dr. Godwin Berner, head, business line coatings, coating effects segment, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, gave the second keynote address, “From Chemistry to Radiation Curing Solutions.” Dr. Berner discussed energy curing milestones and discussed the importance of partnerships.
“We have to bring the right people together to develop integrated solutions beyond chemistry – engineers, IT experts, chemists, formulators and end-users,” Dr. Berner said. “End-users have to have a major role in integrated technologies.”
RadTech has always been known for its presentations, and numerous ink industry leaders and key suppliers gave talks. Among the speakers were Michael McGovern and Anthony Bean of Sun Chemical; Dr. Don Duncan of Wikoff Color; Dr. Shaun Herlihy of Coates Lorilleux; Ros Waldo, Phillippe Goethals and Peter Weissman of UCB Chemicals; Dr. Jean-Luc Birbaum, Thomas Bodnar and Dr. Eugene Sitzmann of Ciba Specialty Chemicals; Jim Raymont of EIT, Ramesh Narayan of Cognis; and Jean Luc Guilaume and Dr. Robert Eaton of Dow Chemical.
Poster presentations were done by Bonnie Bedolla of Flint Ink, Robert Geiger and Michael Kramer of UCB Chemicals, and Anbu Natesh of Cognis.
|Handschy Industry’s John Copeland and Paul Kats visit Ink World’s booth.|
Ink companies had a variety of new products to show at RadTech 2002.
“We have our Matrixcure inks and Gemini hybrid systems here,” said Eric Yelsma, marketing manager, commercial division at Flint Ink. “Xicure ink is our newest sheetfed UV system, and offers value-based performance using our Matrixcure technology.”
“We have some new technologies, and we have a wide array of UV/EB products,” said Steve D’Angelo, director of marketing, packaging division at Flint Ink. “Our Matrixcure ink has had wonderful acceptance in the market. We’re seeing a significant amount of interest in our Gemini system – it’s by far the most successful product launch we’ve had in year. It is priced just right, and our customers love it.”
Zeller+Gmelin introduced a line of flexo inks at RadTech 2002.
“There are a lot of new developments,” said John Kilbo, UV flexography and rotary screen chemist at Zeller+Gmelin. “We’ve just developed a new flexo lineup specifically geared for the new high definition YAG technology aniloxes. This new system with its high density at very low film weights will really impart some exceptional cost saving advantages to our customers.
“It’ll be interesting to see how this new lineup pushes the market from more traditional users of water and solvent flexo inks into UV,” Mr. Kilbo said. “Properties such as low viscosity and yield, low odor for non-direct food contact, very high cure speeds while maintaining decent flexibility, silicone and surfactant-free, and excellent adhesion to many different plastic stocks are a must for our customers and have all been enhanced upon in this system over current systems.
“We’ve also developed new non-silicone rotary screen whites for the purpose of eliminating reticulation of inks printed on the surface,” Mr. Kilbo said. “Properties such as higher opacity and whiteness, flexibility and natural adhesion to fully eliminate chipping and cracking are all properties enhanced upon as well. We’ve also recently designed a high film weight flexographic white designed to be printed with adhesion to corona treated polyolefin substrates to the opacity of screen whites reducing ink consumption 30 percent from a rotary screen white.”
“Our INXFlex UV inks have superior strength with extremely low viscosity of 400 cps or below, which is ideal for up to 1200 anilox,” said Hal Clifton, national sales manager, tag and label for INX International Ink Company. “It also works nicely with dispensing systems. INXFlex 1000 runs on a variety of substrates and flexo equipment. It’s a cutting-edge system. We’re also releasing a silicon-free white and black in the near future for rotary screen. They will also be stampable.”
“We have a new UV adhesive, and have also introduced UV screen products for rotary and flatbed,” said Len DiLeo, manager of UV technologies at Kohl & Madden. “The market still seems to be growing in all aspects of the graphic arts.”
Eckart was active as well, introducing its ultra-brilliant silver UltraStar UV inks for flexo and gravure and TopStar inks for offset. The company also showcased its MetalStar Hybrid metallic inks and RotoStar UV 825 Series for rotary screen metallic inks.
Suppliers are Active
Key suppliers also introduced a number of new offerings for the UV and EB markets.
“RadTech is certainly our big show,” said Brett Johnson, UCB Chemical’s market manager, graphic arts. “We are continuing our work on vehicles, which is the trend we have seen in the marketplace. We work to simulate litho properties on our presses, such as water window. We introduced a whole family called ViaGraph. There is ViaFlex for flexo, ViaSet for litho, ViaCure for photoinitiators, and ViaJet will be introduced in early June for ink jet.
“Our customers’ reaction has been very positive,” Mr. Johnson said. “The flexo side has taken off faster that any other segment. We need to be able to technically support our products in the market, and we have a two-color flexo press and a small UV press in Smyrna, and our customers can run their inks to prove out concepts.”
“We’re working on new oligomers for inks,” said ,” said Paul Elias, business manager, specialty products at Sartomer. “We just came out with three new polyester acrylates with improved pigment wetting and adhesion features. In most cases, these oligomers will allow you to take the monomers out of the system. A lot of people don’t like to work with monomers due to perceived skin sensitivity issues.”
“CN 2270, 2271, 2272 and CN 293 are recently developed vehicles for low viscosity flexo inks that are 100 to 1000 cps,” said Henry Miller, manager, UV/EB technology for Sartomer. “The keys are the Newtonian materials. These take care of every color in the spectrum.”
“We have introduced LithoKure, a new UV gel vehicle for paste ink that we believe provides the water balance and window that conventional UV has lacked,” said Jerry Trauth, products manager, paste ink applications at Kustom Group. “It also has less misting at a lower tack, and has better economics.”
“Actilane 755 amine acrylate is a diacrylate functional amine synergist. It offers an excellent cure rate and physical properties for OPVs,” said John Braddock, technical service manager, UV/EB curing chemicals at Akzo Nobel Resins. “Actilane 245 is a water-reducible hexafunctional aliphatic urethane. Its applications vary from wood coatings to graphic arts. It has a very fast cure rate and offers good flexibility. Actilane 411 is a cyclic trimethylol propane formal monoacrylate that is ideal for wood coatings and screen inks. It has extremely low odor and minimal yellowing.”
“Cationic curing has always been a small percent of the world of energy curing,” said Victor Bull, global marketing manager, peroxymeric chemicals at Dow Chemical. “Our new ERL-4140 cycloaliphatic epoxide monomer is a starting point for customers to make their own derivatives. The primary market for cationic has been in the difficult-to-adhere substrates such as metal and plastics. You can react this new monomer with a polyol to get differentiated resins with the adhesion and toughness that you need. Our base CYRACURE product line is our workhorse. There are also cyclos used in flexo, which allows inks to be printed on foils with UV flexo.”
"Our XZ92551 resin provides a viscosity lower than any other epoxy acrylate available," said Ken Bryan, Dow Chemical's commercial manager, UV specialties. "This resin delivers improved flow characteristics for formulators of overprint varnishes and inks. In addition, it is monomer free, which eliminates diluent and allows ink makers to tailor their products to the specific properties they need. Dow offers a patented dispersion technology for developing water-based systems allowing formulators to eliminate solvents, and develop systems with higher solid levels, thus increasing productivity."
“We’re highlighting some new work we are doing to ensure good wetting properties and reduce surface tension, which is especially important for overprint varnishes,” said James Yosh Jr., business manager, Tego Coating & Ink Additives. “After comparing different UV varnishes, we found that Glide 432 flow and leveling additive showed very good results on slip, release, surface wetting and surface tension reduction. Out Wet 270 works very well on reprintability and glueability, while Tego Rad 2100 silicone acrylate has very good flow and leveling properties. Airex 920 deaerator is a 100 percent active non-silicone that is very compatible with UV systems. It gives you a nice clean film.”
“Irgacure 250 is a new cationic photoinitiator,” said Christopher Bridge,
regional marketing manager, Imaging & Inks at Ciba Specialty Chemicals. “White inks absorb UV, so we need an initiator system which absorbs visible
light, in order to cure whites. This is made possible through the use of Irgacure 250 with a sensitizer. It is fast and it has no heavy metal content. This allows us to bring cationic photoinitiators to new markets. Irgacure 819DW is a new water dispersion for water-based inks and coatings which gives free radical curing of whites. CGI 113 will be available at the end of the year. It will be a high-speed photoinitiator with better solubility for UV offset.
Aside from its new products, Ciba Specialty Chemicals has developed a new structure to benefit its customers.
“Our new organization allows us to be a one-stop solution from pigments to UV photoinitiators,” said Mr. Bridge. “It’s quite powerful. Our customers have asked for this sort of organization. We can now optimize to serve the needs of our customers.
“Our Photomer 5432 offers improved properties and better printability for high-speed litho applications,” said Kevin Berger, market manager, graphic arts at Cognis Corporation. “Photomer 4703 is a newer acid functional that is good for clear coatings and laminating adhesives. There’s been a lot of interest in it. Photomer 8127 is now fully commercialized, and has really unique surface wetting properties and low use levels. Photomer 60129 is a high performance, very economical urethane which provides good toughness and durability.”
“Laromer 9013 is a product we designed to disperse pigments in offset inks,” said Kyle Sass, technical advisor, performance chemicals for coatings at BASF. “It is an effective pigment wetter and can also be used for flexo inks. If three-dimensional curing can be overcome, it opens up the market. BASF has a process that uses low cost lamps. We use carbon dioxide because it’s heavier than air. We think it will help expand the marketplace.”
“Our newest addition is The PALM Probe, which allows converters who can’t get a radiometer through their system to measure peak irradiance and UV energy dosage under the UV bulb,” said Sue Casacia, marketing representative for EIT Instrument Markets. “We also have a lot of on-line monitors for UV bulbs.”
Reactions to RadTech 2002
Organizers and exhibitors alike felt that RadTech 2002 showed the strength of UV and EB even during the economic slowdown.
“I’ve seen a lot of new faces and heard nothing but good opinions,” said Gary Cohen, executive director of RadTech International North America. “We’ve had a lot more exhibitors and companies attending, and the end-user sessions have been full.”
“I think the show and the presentations are much improved,” said Jim Reese, RadTech’s president and regional business manager, Americas for DSM Desotech Inc. “This is the largest RadTech that we have had. We had more than 2,000 people preregister, and our 150 exhibitors are up substantially from 2000. In addition, we have more than 30 people in from 24 different countries. The one thing that is very positive is that there are a lot of new people and a lot of end-users.”
“The preregistration attendance is up over two years ago, which we are happy about,” added Dr. Don Duncan, director of R&D at Wikoff Color and co-chair of RadTech’s Graphic Arts Focus Group. “The energy cured area of the marketplace is doing better than other segments.”
“I thought the Graphic Arts End-Users sessions went very well,” said Dr. David Biro, project team leader, scientist, energy curables R&D with Sun Chemical Ink (GPI) and co-chair of RadTech’s Graphic Arts Focus Group. “We started with 85 attendees, and had more than 100 during one talk. I believe we also had as many as 20 end-users there.”
“I was surprised by the numbers,” said Dr. Berner. “This is really a large event for our industry. It’s also a little like a family. What I find to be a big step forward is that a lot of end-users are attending, including automotive and paint companies. A lot of people are talking about radcure in the automotive industry, and more products will follow.”
Ink companies in attendance also felt the show was successful.
“It’s been a very good show, a vendor-oriented show,” said Diane Parisi, Flint Ink’s technical director, paste ink research. “It gives us the opportunity to meet with our suppliers and discuss what we need. It’s also a great technical show.”
“It’s been a very good turnout,” said Mike McGovern, Sun Chemical’s director, sales and marketing, energy curable products. “We’ve seen a lot of customers, and there’s a lot of interest in our products.”
“The show has more attendees than I originally thought,” said Steven Lazure, vice president of operation at Zeller+Gmelin. “It appears the graphic arts industry is bouncing back, and there appears to be a lot of interest in EB. We are very happy with the increased attendance and interest in new radiation-cured technology.”
Suppliers to the ink industry were also pleased with what they saw at RadTech 2002.
“I’m quite surprised by the turnout,” said Paul Elias, business manager, specialty products at Sartomer and a former RadTech president. “Preregistration exceeded our expectations, and the reception and keynote talks were packed. I’m impressed by the number of new faces, including a lot of end-users.”
Brett Johnson, UCB Chemical’s market manager, graphic arts, said that the attendance at RadTech 2002 showed that the interest in new applications for UV and EB remains strong.
“The UV resin market is quite healthy,” Mr. Johnson said. “There has been a lot of experimenting for UV hybrids. We’re doing a lot of work in color, and some major pigment producers are making products designed specifically for UV.”
“It’s been a great day with lots of top people in the business walking by,” said Jim Volz, vice president of sales at Kustom Group. “It’s a growing market, and this is a great show.”
“We’ve collected a good number of leads and have had opportunities to sit with customers and have productive meetings,” said Kevin Berger, market manager, graphic arts at Cognis Corporation.
“The show is going very well,” said John Braddock, technical service manager, UV/EB curing chemicals at Akzo Nobel Resins. “It’s been a large, focused turnout.”
“It’s been a good show for us,” said Victor Bull, global marketing manager, peroxymeric chemicals at Dow Chemical. “We’ve brought some new products, and we’ve had very good customer reaction.”
“I think RadTech has been successful,” said Kyle Sass, technical advisor, performance chemicals for coatings at BASF. “It allows everyone to work together in a cooperative atmosphere. There’s a synergy here.”
The success of the 2002 show has already started to generate excitement the next RadTech conference in the U.S., which will be held in 2004 in Charlotte, NC.