Fast, Clean & Green – UV Powder Coating for MDF

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Sep/Oct 2013 International Paint & Coatings Magazine

The global population in 2012 was 6 Billion. ln 2030 it will grow to 7.4 billion¹. There will be 3 billion more middle class consumers by 2030¹ . China and India will build new homes for 600 million people between 2010- 2030¹.  In 2012 the global motor vehicle production has reached 51.7 million units². And in 2030 the estimated global motor vehicle production is 80.6 million units³. The energy demand is expected to increase by 420 quadrillion BTUs in the period 2010- 2030¹ so is a convergence of sources and diversity of energy mix fossil- biofuel- renewables -nuclear4.

Global coatings market is expected to reach 8. 7 billion gallons and 107 billion by 20175. Solvent borne liquid coatings accounts for 75-80% of the market while global powder coating market is around $5.4 billion5. The consumption of UV- curable coatings from 2009-2017 will grow at CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of 6.65%4. In the US in 2012 the consumption of UV-curable products was 131,175 tons7.

Why all this data?
UV-Curable coating technology is increasingly being seen as a future technology in the area of industrial coatings, represents one of the rapidly growing segments in the coatings industry, and is arguably emerging as the answer to the rising environmental concerns and stringent regulations. Several application related advantages include absence of pot life issues, lower energy costs, fast cure speed, and reduced environmental impact. As such, one-component UV-Curable coating ranks among the fastest coating processes available in the present context. Curing of one-component UV- Curable coating takes few seconds to minutes, which makes it more ideal for use in applications that require faster turnaround time (Fig. 1).

DVUV, Cleveland, OH, is the innovator of UV-cured powder coating for MDF (medium density fiberboard) wood. The company specializes in custom powder coated components for the retail,  store fixture, pop display, healthcare, educational and office furniture industries, and specialty applications. UV-cured powder coating is environmentally friendly, does not contain VOCs or HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) and ensures efficient process, high performance finishes and affordable sustainability.

History of UV·Curable Powder Coating
The 1st commercial applications of UV-Curable Powder Coatings in U.S. dates back to the years 1998 – 2000’s: they were applied on automotive radiators and industrial motors. In 2001 the company Decorative Veneer built the 1st UV-Curable powder coating facility for MDF in
Plainwell, MI USA, followed by RADEX in London, Ontario, Canada. In the following years application facilities were built in Europe for MDF and PVC cushion floor. In 2005 Decorative Veneer system moved to Cleveland, OH and DVUV, LLC was formed.

DVUV is a manufacturer of finished components and applicator of UV-cured powder coatings on MDF. DVUV is the 1st  UV powder MDF system (Ref, Opening Photo) in North America. DVUV provides durable finished components based on the customers drawings. In 2006 Keyland Polymer, Ltd. formed to develop, formulate, and manufacture UV-curable powder coatings for DVUV and other customers; in 2010 DVUVSystems was formed to design, engineer, install, support UV-cured application systems. Today DVUV Holdings, LLC is the U.S. expert in the UV-Curable powder coating technology and application.

Environmentally Green Powder Coating
“At DVUV, we are committed to protecting the environment in every way possible – comments Michael Knoblauch, DVUV President – We create high quality products with an environmentally green powder coating that is safe for the environment and reduces our environmental impact.
Our MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) wood contains 100% pre consumer recycled content MDF, which would have otherwise been incinerated or ended up in a landfill.

All of our MDF is certified by the SFI or Sustainable Forestry Initiative and meets both CARB (California Air Resources Board) phase
I and II requirements for the limit of urea-formaldehyde emitted from composite wood products. Phase I limits emitted urea-formaldehyde to <.21 ppm and <.11 for phase II”.

Green Finish
“The UVMax® powder coatings manufactured by Keyland Polymers contain zero solvents and emit zero VOCs, making it an environmentally green
powder coating – Michael Knoblauch explains UV- cured powder coating provides superior wear characteristics with an environmentally friendly,
efficient and cost effective process. Our UV powder coating process is fast and extremely efficient, turning a raw part into a finished component in less than 20 minutes.

There is no time wasted waiting for parts to dry. The manufacturing plant space is also significantly smaller than other typical finishing systems resulting in lower labor, operational and energy costs. Our system allows complete design freedom: UV-cured powder coating is an excellent finish for bullnose, radiused and waterfall edges, built up components and cutouts and contours. It’s a seamless finish that flows smoothly over complex shapes with 360° coverage for any component, three-dimensional or not and no need for edgebanding.”

The cross-linked (Fig. 2) bond created during the UV-curing process is so strong that only 3-5 mils of powder are required. The coating is durable enough to withstand the NEMA impact test at 35″ with no cracking and the ASTM abrasion test with a wear-thru of 3,000 cycles with no effects (Table 1).

Ultraviolet (UV) light creates on instantaneous cure through a process called photopolymerzation. This creates a cross-linked and bonded molecular finish with superior wear characteristics. The highly durable powder coated finish withstands even the toughest environments- maintaining its original color, gloss and texture even after frequent traffic and cleanings.

UV·Cured Powder Coating Process
“We’ve invested millions of dollars and countless hours of research and development to operate the most advanced UV-cured powder coating process and facility – Michael Knoblauch commented – Our state of the art finishing facility at our headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio is extremely accurate, highly efficient and cost effective. The in-house powder formulation and colour matching make it easy to achieve a colour for a specific project (Figs. 3 and 4). A single step innovative coating process allows us to go from raw MDF to a finished part in just 20 minutes. You give us
a drawing and we give you a finished part ready for assembly. Maximum product dimensions are 55″ x 96″ x 4″ : Color coverage is available on any exposed surface and in any combination of size, shape, cut, surface or edge finish within these overall dimensions” (Figs. 5 and 6).

A 40-60% energy savings when compared to other finishing systems and higher material utilization makes the UV-cured powder coating either for MDF or metal and plastics materials a streamlined operation that is extremely cost effective than traditional finishing processes.
Tab. 1: Technical data. Tests performed by Element
( – formerly Stork Herron Testing)

Technical Data

Test Name Test Standard Result
Crosshatch Adhesion ASTM D3359, Method A No loss of adhesion
Impact NEMA LD3-1995, 3.8 224g steel ball No cracking at 48?
Thickness ASTM D4138, Method A, Destructive, Tooke Gauge 3-4 mils
Abrasion Resistance ASTM D4060, CS-17 Wheel, 500g, 500 cycles 34.2 mg
Scratch Resistance 500g weight on corrugated cardboard 4? movement, repeated 5 times, same location No effect, no signs of wear or damage
Cleanability/Stain Resistance
10% citric acid NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect
Vegetable oil NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect
Coffee NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect
Tea NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect
Milk NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect
Catsup NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect
Mustard NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 Slight Effect
Vinegar NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect
Red lipstick NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect
Grape juice NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect
Black permanent marker NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 Effect
#2 pencil lead NEMA LD3-2005, 3.4 No effect