Beckers has been working for many years with its partners to develop more sustainable paints.
The development of radiation curing technology represents a real step change in environmental terms and Beckers France has been chosen to be the first supplier for the industrialization of this technology for the coil market. Two irradiation processes are currently used in the industry for the radical polymerization of paints: ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the electron beam (EB). Both have advantages, including the speed of crosslinking, compatibility with heat-sensitive substrates and the reduction in energy consumption compared to traditional drying methods. Through many years of development, Beckers France has acquired a strong knowledge in this technology. Together with steel customers, Beckers has carried out a large number of pilot line trials since 2005 to develop and fine tune UV/EB products.
Radiation polymerization not only eliminates many of the solvents required for traditional processes and therefore helps manufacturers to comply with VOC regulations, but the product is also formaldehyde free while meeting market performance requirements such as high product yield, no yellowing, high thicknesses and high coverage. The process also has advantages in terms of sustainability. As there is no need for a solvent incinerator or heat release, energy savings can be made that translate into a significant reduction in the product’s carbon footprint. Some of Beckers’ customers are now exploring the possibilities of the radiation curing technology. Metal coating with radiation curing still only represents two percent of the total market share. By replacing solvent-based topcoats with products that use UV/EB technology, there is the potential to achieve significant gains in terms of sustainability.
* RadTech Europe