UV Curing

Curing a product with exposure to UV light, while fast and economical, requires careful control of the exposure process such as the spectral output of the light source, intensity levels, and exposure times of the products.

International Light Technologies has developed a broad range of UV curing-specific systems to aid in the challenging task of defining and monitoring these process variables.

In particular, ILT Belt Radiometers are self-contained compact radiometers designed for measuring the exposure of conveyor-fed UV curing process equipment from 1 to 80 feet per minute. All ILT Belt Radiometers feature single button operation, miniature integrating sphere receptor, irradiance exposure profiling and a durable polished chrome housing to handle the extreme environmental conditions typically found in process UV curing equipment.  



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UV Curing
Spectral Range ILT System Options
Click Links Below
Measurement Range Units
Spectral Analysis Any 200-450 nm ILT950UV Spectroradiometer Customized Spectrum W/m²/nm
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UV CURING 3D Printer 230-475 nm ILT2400, XRD340AT7 4e-6 to 6e+1 W/cm² & J/cm²
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Belt Radiometer
270-475 nm ILT400BAV 1 mJ to 20 J/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    315-390 nm ILT400UVA 1 mJ to 20 J/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    390-475 nm ILT400UVV 1 mJ to 20 J/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    250-400 nm ILT490 1 mJ to 20 J/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    205-345 nm ILT490C 1 mJ to 20 J/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
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UV CURING Broadband UV 250-400 nm ILT5000, SED005/WBS320/W 2.33e-8 to 2.33e+0 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    250-400 nm ILT1700, SED005/WBS320/W 2.33e-9 to 2.33e+0 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    250-400 nm ILT2400, SED005/WBS320/TD 1e-7 to 1 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    250-400 nm ILT1000/WBS320/T1MM 7e-8 to 1e+3 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
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UV CURING Narrowband 335 330-340 nm ILT5000, SED005/NS335/W 5e-9 to 5 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    330-340 nm ILT1700, SED005/NS335/W 1.00e-8 to 1.00e+1 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    330-340 nm ILT2400, SED005/NS335/TD 2e-6 to 2e+1 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
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UV CURING Xenon Flash 326-401 nm ILT5000, SED033/B/QNDS2/W 3e-8 to 2e+1 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    326-401 nm ILT1700, SED033/B/QNDS2/W 5.70e-8 to 5.70e+1 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
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UV CURING Low profile high UV 250-400 nm ILT5000, SED005/WBS320/RAMP 5e-7 to 1e+2 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    250-400 nm ILT2400, SED005/WBS320/RAMP 5e-7 to 1e+2 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    250-400 nm ILT1700, SED005/WBS320/RAMP 8.00e-6 to 1.00e+1 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
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UV CURING Low profile low UV 250-400 nm ILT1700, SSD001A 2.22e-7 to 9.00e-1 W/cm² W/cm² & J/cm²
    260-400 nm ILT2400, SSD001 6e-06 to 9e-01 W/cm²
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UV CURING Dental curing 370-515 nm ILT1700, SED033/TBLU/T1MM 1.30e-7 to 1.29e+1 W/cm 2 W/cm² & J/cm²
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* All Radiometers/Photometers/Spectroradiometers are NIST Traceable.
* If units of measure are not shown, contact ILT (empirical units also available i.e. fc, fL, nits, lm/ft²).

Background Information - UV Curing

As the world's population continues to expand, so too does the demand for goods and the world wants them faster and less expensive. To keep up with the increase in demand, manufacturers are constantly looking to increase their output by shortening the production time while keeping costs low.

One typically troublesome bottle neck is the use of inks, paints, adhesives, and other coatings in production since these need time to set or cure properly. This may entail simply waiting the required amount of time for the product to set, which could take minutes or even hours, or attempting to accelerate the process with various methods such as forced air drying or oven baking. The gains in production experienced with these acceleration methods are often minimal and their adaptation and use typically costly.

The pressure to free the bottleneck to increase their production and remain competitive in their markets forced manufacturers to research a faster, more adaptable and less expensive alternative to traditional curing acceleration methods.

The breakthrough in this research came in the form of new chemicals, called photoinitiators. These photoinitiators react when exposed to a certain amount of light from a particular band or "action" spectrum causing the compound containing the photoinitiator to cure by polymerization of the liquids within.

Photoinitiators could be developed into a myriad of compounds useful in manufacturing leading to the availability of instant or delayed cure photoreactive inks, paints, adhesives, and coatings. Designed with a wide selection of available action spectra, photoreactive compounds now give manufacturers a menu of solutions to quickly and economically adapt the technology to their unique applications.

The right action spectrum is critical to production success

Choice of action spectrum from a photoreactive compound will be dictated by the intended application for the product, the desired effects after curing and even the manufacturing environment itself.

Ultraviolet or UV light is typically used as the action spectrum due to the efficiency and economy with which it can be produced in a manufacturing process but also because manufacturing facilities tend to have large amounts of visible light present either from windows or task lighting.

The use of UV photoreactive compounds eliminates the concerns about storage and use in the prevention of premature curing from exposure to the visible light present. UV curing does present certain challenges since exposure to UV can gradually degrade production equipment and pose health risks to humans, both of which must be carefully considered.

Despite these concerns, UV curing remains the predominant choice in high-speed, large quantity production applications such as the printed circuit board, publishing, screen printing, and furniture manufacturing industries.

Visible light, while less efficient and slower than UV curing, has advantages over UV when human safety is of prime concern, particularly if a compound needs to cured in direct contact with a person, such as with an oral adhesive.

Specifically, blue visible light is used in such applications as its shorter wavelengths are not produced in the large quantities from the sun or task lighting as are the longer visible wavelengths like green, yellow orange or red. This allows use without rapid premature curing and extends the working time beyond that of photoreactive compounds with an alternative visible light action spectrum.