The Wide Application of UV Ink and Technology (I)

UV ink is a new type of environment-friendly ink. It has fast drying, high production efficiency; no solvent discharge, no environmental pollution; low energy consumption; suitable for a variety of substrates, especially for heat-sensitive substrates (such as Paper, plastics, etc.); excellent performance of printed products; combined with the advantages of low investment in UV curing equipment, small footprint, etc., have always been valued by countries around the world and have achieved rapid development, especially in the printing and packaging industry and the electronics industry. Application (see Table 1).

* North American and European statistics for 2002 and Japan for 2001 statistics.
* * Photoresist and dry film are also included in electronic chemicals.

Table 1 UV ink production statistics in North America, Europe, and Japan ★(t)

Because UV inks fully meet the "5E" characteristics: Efficient, Enabling, Economical, Energy Saving, and Environmental Friendly, it is an environmentally friendly green industrial product. Therefore, it is not only widely used in developed countries but also in developing countries.

In the early seventies of the last century, ink printing plants in Shanghai and Tianjin began to develop UV inks for printing. However, due to the lack of raw materials at that time, the light sources and curing equipment could not be matched, and thus they could not be industrialized. After the reform and opening up, due to the development of the printing and packaging industry and the electronics industry, a number of foreign UV curing production lines were introduced and various UV inks were required; domestic companies could not only produce UV light sources and UV curing equipment but also assemble various products through digestion and absorption. In the production line, the market for UV inks has rapidly expanded, which has led to the development and production of domestic UV inks. At the end of the last century, raw materials needed for UV inks: reactive diluents, oligomers, and photoinitiators were rapidly localized, and UV inks were also produced. Provides a material basis, since the end of the last century, China's UV ink production has been unprecedented development. Since 1998, the association began statistics. At that time, the domestic production of UV inks was only 1,030 tons. By 2004, it had reached 9056.5 tons, which was 8.8 times that of 1998, and the growth rate was far faster than the sustained rapid development of China's national economy. (See Table 2) The range of UV inks has also increased from the original 4-5 kinds to more than 20 kinds now. High-grade UV offset printing inks, screen printing inks, CD inks, and photo imaging PCB inks have all been mass-produced and are more gratifying. There is a small amount of UV screen printing ink, PCB with UV ink and CD ink exports. The industry has also emerged a number of key enterprises with a certain scale and R&D strength, such as Hangzhou Hanghua Ink Chemical Company, Shenzhen Miramar Ink Coating Company, Guangzhou Xuwei Fine Chemicals Research Institute, Zhongshan Zhongyi Ink Coating Company, Panyu Guangxin Silk screen materials company, Shenzhen Rongda Electronic Materials Co., Ltd., Fuji Chemical Research (Kunshan) Co., Ltd., Beijing Rio Tinto Technology Co., Ltd., etc., have become the vanguard of the sustainable development of UV inks in the future.

Table II Statistical Summary of UV Ink Production in China 1998-2004

UV inks are produced by dispersing and milling oligomers, reactive diluents, photoinitiators and pigments, fillers and various additives. They use UV light to generate free radicals or cations for photoinitiators. The polymer and the reactive diluent undergo polymerization and cross-linking, allowing the liquid ink to dry quickly. UV inks can be categorized into two categories according to their uses, namely UV printing inks used in the printing and packaging industry and UV inks used in the electronics industry.

(to be continued)

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