Radiation curing: “A global product launch is taking more time, at higher cost”

Radiation curing coatings are considered to be one of the most sustainable technologies in the industry. However, health, safety and environmental aspects have to be considered. We spoke with experts about HSE-topics and other trends in radiation curing.

For Brigitte Lindner, Head of Regualtory affairs at Rahn, regulatory aspects are one of the major challenges in radiation curing. “While business is increasingly acting global, the regulatory landscape is becoming more fragmented, various countries are setting up chemical inventories and end applications become more regulated”, she explains and adds: “more time is needed to market new developed products, a global product launch is taking more time, at higher cost.”

Brigitte Lindner from Rahn.

For Rüdiger Schönemann from Saicos Colour the situation is quite similar. “Many raw materials for the radiation-curable coatings sector are subject to classification, which can quickly lead to critical labelling and thus pose HSE risks to people and the environment”, he says.

Replacing materials is difficult

Even though classifications can be problematic because it is not always easy to replace them, Schönemann says “at Saicos we consistently avoid the storage and use of such raw materials.” Additionally, he explains that measures have primarily been taken to avoid air and water emissions and thus ensure protection of soil and groundwater.

Brigitte Linder expects that new products that could help especially small businesses with customised products in small volumes will have some difficulties in the future. “Only for very few carefully selected new products based on new chemistry, costs and risks will be justified”, she says. Rüdiger Schönemann, however, has a different opinion, he thinks that customisation will become more of a topic: “For raw materials there will be more customer-oriented developments in terms of ingredients and declaration. For example, the synthesis will be optimised in such a way that certain components are no longer contained in the raw materials for production reasons.”

Rüdiger Schönemann works for Saicos Colour.

Sustainable and bio-based products needed

“Currently of increased interest are UV/EB curable environmentally friendly, “bio” based products”, says Brigitte Linder. Schönemann agrees: “The LED curing sector will also gain ground in some areas”, he says. “Low-emission coatings are also becoming more important, as more and more labels require a chamber test – either to comply with prescribed limits or for self-classification in order to use certain labels for advertising purposes”, he adds.

This article is a summary of a more extensive interview in European Coatings Journal 5/2020. The complete interview is available at our online library 360°.

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