UV adhesives, put simply, are resins that polymerize or cure when exposed to ultraviolet light. They are widely used for industrial applications due to their fast curing property that ramps up the production rate. These adhesives are popular for their fewer VOC emissions, making them a highly preferred pick over other adhesives. Polyurethane, silicone, cyanoacrylate, acrylic and epoxy are the different types of UV adhesives that, owing to their alluring features and plentiful benefits, have wide industrial, pharmaceutical and medical applications, along with packaging and laminating, electronics, and glass bonding.
UV adhesives have wide applications in precise alignment/positioning of parts. They can be used for temporary or structural bonding. Such UV-cure adhesives bind well to dissimilar/similar substrates, including ceramics, glass, rubbers, metals, and plastics like phenolics, acrylics and polycarbonates. Their specific grades offer optical translucency/clarity, low shrinkage, dimensional stability, and resistance to moisture, solvents, fuels and chemicals. UV adhesives offer protection against environmental degradation from outdoor weathering and also meet rigorous end user needs.
The pandemic’s staggering ramifications have impacted everyone. The worldwide personal losses are devastating, while preventative measures like physical distancing and widespread shutdowns, though necessary, have transformed people’s daily reality into something of a surreal nightmare. What does this mean for the UV adhesives market? The unfavorable condition is likely to impede market growth. Sectors that use such adhesives are experiencing different levels of demand due to fall in oil prices and the pandemic. There are some segments that have emerged victorious, some are neutral, while the others are losers.
First and foremost, with many people being confined at home, home renovation projects were definitely under way. The do-it-yourself products, especially interior applications, largely benefited from this trend. There has been a growing demand for caulks, tapes and sealants for DIY home remodeling and repair.
Another sector that experienced an increase in the use of UV adhesives at the time of the pandemic is packaging. There has been a noteworthy uptick in everything from microwavable foods to single-serve, food and beverage containers and packages, pet food packaging, flexible packaging, and carton packing. The initial quarter of the year 2020 saw a 10% rise particularly in food areas that began to hit retail outlets.
Last, but not least, are the medical equipment and devices, and safety, wellness and health products like virucides and antimicrobials. Companies increased production to cater to the spike in demand via healthcare providers, especially those who have been adversely impacted with the infection rates. There has been a rise in the UV curing technologies ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, although sans much fanfare. From syringes for vaccine use to 3D printing of swabs utilized for testing, UV curing plays an imperative part behind the scenes. The adhesives sub-segment has experienced a rise with maximum test kits for COVID-19 being plastic-to-plastic bonded. Tube sets, single-use catheters and needle bonding are all bonded with UV. Some of the processes utilized for making masks also include UV curing. Spot curing products are also used with needle assembly, endoscopy products and catheters, and in each case, UV adhesives are used.
Repair, road construction, infrastructure projects and commercial construction fall under the neutral category. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing practices made it impossible for workers to safely do their jobs, but short-term projects are difficult. Things will be brighter once these practices are deemed unnecessary.
Industrial manufacturing is the biggest loser owing to the pandemic. Again the transportation OEMs have taken a heavy hit. On the other hand, professionally applied residential construction has also struggled, especially for interior projects as homeowners kept a watch on their budget and were likely to feel uncomfortable having tradesmen inside the home. Durable goods manufacturing such as general metal finishing, flooring, appliances and furniture is another segment on the losing end. Additional industries that are anticipated to see continued difficulties comprise auto repair and refinishing, leisure craft, marine, and oil and gas.
Successful UV adhesive companies will naturally learn from the experience and, as a result, augment their future operations.
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