New UV-cured acrylic waterborne coatings for interior applications deliver long-term elasticity, adhesion and durability.

ICA Group, based in Civitanova Marche on Italy's Adriatic coast, has created a series of UV interior coatings. These coatings represent the fruits of the company's research into cutting-edge products that meet users' needs for interior coatings that work perfectly on doors, cupboards, edges, flat panels, interior furniture and furnishings. The main characteristics of these coatings products are the solid elasticity, high chemical-physical resistance and reliable adhesion they offer. But that's not all. While delivering high performance, these coatings are designed to have a lower level of impact on the environment than traditional coatings. ICA Group's latest products in the UV-curable range include a transparent acrylic primer; a transparent UV plaster for laser-roller application; a transparent acrylic medium-matte topcoat for roller application; and a base for pigmented, waterborne UV topcoats.

In recent years, the tendency toward reducing environmental damage caused by coatings products has become clearly discernible. In response to this intensification of environmental awareness, research has produced constant qualitative increases in the performance of alternatives to traditional, solventborne products. These alternatives have started to make headway even in markets such as Italy, where consumers demand the highest levels of finish and performance from the coatings they apply.

Recently introduced regulations - such as EU Directive 1999/13 on the limitation of emissions of VOCs resulting from the use of organic solvents in certain activities and installations - have focused attention on those products that can still deliver top-quality performance without emitting high levels of VOCs. ICA Group has, for many years now, been researching, developing, testing and perfecting coating cycles that combine high levels of performance and quality with low levels of environmental emissions. Their UV-cured coating products (which include polyester, acrylic and waterborne UV coatings) are at the forefront of the emerging market for eco-friendly products.

Acrylic UV Coatings

Compared to polyester UV coatings, acrylic UV coatings have lower environmental impact, since the monomers they contain have only very low levels of volatility in relation to the styrene contained in polyester UV coatings, making it possible to achieve products that have a 100% dry residue. These UV products offer outstanding levels of elasticity, adhesion and chemical-physical resistance. Moreover, by first applying the appropriate primer, it is possible to resolve the problems associated with resinous woods. The comprehensive range of products is suited to all types of uses and applications (spray and roller).

ICA has recently introduced a series of new products specifically designed for application using the most modern coating systems, such as laser-rolling (for use with both base coats and topcoats) and plating (both normal and vacuum). Thanks to their high reactivity, ICA's specially designed products for coating edges and frames more than satisfy market requirements for high line speeds. UVS5099 is an acrylic UV primer that can be photopolymerized with a high-power UV lamp, and has been designed to function as a base coat for use on difficult or resinous wood surfaces. This is a ready-to-use product that can be applied directly onto unfinished wood using a plaster-roller in the quantity of 20-30 g/m2, then semi-dried using two high-power UV lamps at a speed to 8-10 m/min before the application of the UV plaster topcoat. UVS5099 primer delivers exceptional levels of elasticity and adhesion, making it ideal for application to interior furnishings and flat surfaces.

In contrast, UVS5107 is a transparent acrylic UV plaster that can be photopolymerized using a high-power UV lamp, and has been specifically designed for application with a laser roller-spreader, although it can also be applied using regular spreaders. This plaster is easily sanded and offers excellent coverage and distension, making it perfect for general use for interior furniture and furnishings (such as doors and panels). It is dried using two high-power UV lamps at a speed of 6 meters per minute.

UVO5095G is a transparent acrylic UV topcoat, available in various gloss levels (photopolymerizable using high-power UV lamps) that can be applied in line using regular or laser rollers. This acrylic topcoat displays excellent fullness and distension, meaning it is well suited for use on interior panels. This coating is ready-to-use and can be applied in quantities varying between 15 and 20 g/m2 in a single coat using a laser roller or in two coats using a regular roller (with a suitable drying period between the two coats). The coating can also be dried using two high-power UV lamps at a speed of 6 meters per minute.

Waterborne UV Coatings

ICA's waterborne UV paints deliver excellent chemical-physical performance and produce aesthetic results that are perfectly comparable to the finish produced by solventborne polyurethane coatings, but with a much lower level of Volatile Organic Solvents (VOSs), varying from 1% to 3%, compared with the 55% to 75% found in traditional solventborne products. These coatings allow users to remain within the guidelines on the reduction of solvent emissions into the atmosphere, thereby safeguarding the health of the person applying the coating while still producing excellent results. This explains, in part, why these UV coatings have been well-received by the coatings industry, which views them as valid solutions for the reduction of hazardous environmental emissions.

Thanks to the excellent chemical-physical properties of the dry film they produce and to the wide variety of ways in which they can be applied, latest-generation waterborne UV coatings are becoming ever more popular for spray and roller application. Traditional (polyester and acrylic) UV products need to be made with monomers and volatile solvents to make them suitable for spray or roller application. In contrast, with waterborne UV coatings, the function of the solvent is performed principally by water. This allows users to solve, at a stroke, the problem of atmospheric emissions, thus avoiding the installation of expensive waste-disposal systems. The waterborne UV coatings allow open-pore finishes to be produced with ease, whereas these are extremely difficult to achieve using acrylic coatings. ICA produces pigmented topcoats in any color, with no limitations on tonality, thus overcoming the limits that constrain typical UV acrylic and polyester coatings. Thanks to their physical drying process, waterborne UV coatings can also be applied to three-dimensional objects. It is even possible to implement mixed coating cycles, using acrylic UV base coats and waterborne UV topcoats, which make the most of each type of technology.

One particular coating product from the Italian manufacturer is UVA5173G, a base for pigmented waterborne UV coatings that can be used to make any color and is available in various gloss levels. Colors made using UVA5173G have outstanding chemical-physical properties as well as excellent distension and smoothness to the touch and, as such, it is especially useful for coating interior furniture and accessories using short coating cycles with forced water evaporation (e.g., microwaves, near infrared (NIR), etc.), or for applying strong colors dried with the dual cure technique.

One of ICA Group's main strategic assets is its culture of quality through innovation. Over the course of many years, the company has researched and initiated numerous trailblazing production processes aimed at creating cutting-edge products and reaching ever-higher standards of manufacturing quality. Having accumulated a wealth of experience across the years, ICA can now leverage its consolidated expertise, technologies and project capacity to produce wood coatings that actually benefit those who use them. The company conducts constant studies, laboratory research, and product and application testing to ensure that its coatings meet the ever changing needs of the market. The R&D activities represent the perfect synergy between product and process innovation, on the one hand, and rapid response to customer requirements on the other. Product lines for professional users are sold around the world. Highly specialized distributors cover the various wood coating sectors, dealing with everything from furnishings to carpentry, shipyards to external structures, locks to garden furniture, and parquet floors to musical instruments.

ICA Group's latest products in the UV-cured range (acrylic and waterborne) are distributed directly in the United States. For more information, call 519/768.0732, or e-mail