Electron beam (EB) processes have been a safe and efficient method of crosslinking, as well as curing inks, coatings, and adhesives for many years. This has created eBeam markets in flexible packaging, film, specialty packaging, rubber, and sterilization. Within those markets specific machines and operations were created, covering EB Flexo Inks, EB Offset Inks, EB Coatings, EB Laminating Adhesives and GelFlex-EB Ink.
Recently, The Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) in Maharashtra, India conducted a study on the application of EB curing with varying industry ratios to compare crosslink density, coating properties, and overall effectiveness within new applications, such as urethane acrylate. The results found two things to be true: First, “In this paper, urethane acrylate and TMTPA cured with electron beam are shown to offer good coating properties.” And second, that the use of electron beam “would find numerous industrial applications in surface coatings.”
Some of the surface coating applications are common practice today. Electron beam coatings are applied to candy wrappers and other surfaces, where cold seal compliance is a potential issue. EB offset inks and coatings prevent freezer burn, have a high gloss, do not produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and are used in labeling because of their resistance to moisture scratches, and their high print quality.
New industry applications are being invented every year for electron beam inks and coatings, especially in food packaging. With EB curing technology having both FDA and EPA approval, more cost effective methods of printing on packages with EB is being adopted by more and more companies every day. As the aforementioned study from ICT notes, safety is also a key factor in the growing trend towards EB technology, “The [EB] method presented in the paper could be very useful for controlling environmental pollution; as the conventional method of curing releases VOCs.”
Carbamates—Advances in Research and Application: 2013 Edition. (ScholarlyEditions) P.77