In the biennial survey, "North American Market Update," respondents indicated that UV- and EB-formulated product use rose 8% during the two-year period 2000-2001, to slightly more than 77,000 metric tons.
James Reese of DSM Desotech, the current president of RadTech, said the survey suggests that UV and EB processing is expected to grow significantly in a number of newer applications, including digital printing, rapid prototyping, adhesives, automotive, and food packaging. The survey concludes that the technology is well established in 14 industries, including fiber optics, the manufacture of CDs and DVDs, premium packaging, screen printing, tag and label, premium no-wax flooring, automotive headlamps, and composite wood fillers.
David Diehl of PPG Industries Inc., RadTech's incoming president, said the survey indicates that process speed and simplification have emerged as driving forces in the growth of UV/EB processing, surpassing pollution prevention and environmental compliance as key motivations for the wider use of the technologies.
Asked to offer views on the "top recent industry advances," survey participants mentioned lower costs and better materials, which are helping to fuel expansion of supplier operations and bring new companies into the field. Regarding major limitations on adoption of UV/EB technology, the survey found that education of potential customers remains a key challenge. Suggestions offered to address the challenge included efforts to provide users with better information about cost justification for capital equipment and data on "applied" costs rather than costs per gallon or pound for materials.
In reply to a question about UV/EB applications currently in an early stage of development that offer the greatest probability of significant success by 2007, survey participants listed as the top four candidates coatings for plastics, impactless printing (ink jet, digital), wide-web flexo printing, and pressure-sensitive adhesives.
Complete details on survey results are available at the RadTech website, located at www.radtech.org.