The UV curing system market is projected to reach USD 6.7 billion by 2025 from USD 3.3 billion in 2020; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.0% during the forecast period. Major drivers for the growth of the market are growing inclination toward eco-friendly products, greater benefits of UV curing systems than traditional curing systems; rising demand for UV LEDs due to COVID-19; and increasing adoption of UV disinfection due to COVID-19.
Driver: Growing inclination toward eco-friendly products, along with stringent regulations regarding use of green products
In traditional heat-based and air-drying curing techniques, solvents were evaporated. As a result, environmental pollutants were generated due to the emission of substantial quantities of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases, thereby impacting the environment and the ozone layer. VOCs are usually formaldehyde and organic solvents. Most of the VOCs include solvent-based formulations that evaporate into the atmosphere to contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer or the greenhouse effect. The generation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during coating or drying applications is highly undesirable because these VOCs can cause headaches and dizziness, along with a few long-term effects, although uncertain, such as cancer.
Restraint: Limited depth of curing
UV curing technology is limited to opaque parts and leaves adhesives on the surfaces owing to oxygen inhibition. While curing in the presence of air, free radicals can react with oxygen before initiating polymerization, which leads to incomplete curing and a sticky surface. UV curing systems also have the issue of a high degree of shrinkage, thereby making it difficult to cure deep sections and shadowy areas.
To overcome shadows, a second cure operation in a heat curing oven is possible. However, there are many electronic component assemblies, especially in industries such as automotive, agriculture, consumer electronics, and construction that cannot be exposed to secondary cure. The secondary operation slows down the production assembly process and consumes more energy than that of traditional curing systems.
Opportunity: High-growth prospects of UV curing technology in new applications
Currently, coating, bonding, and printing are the most prominent applications in which UV curing systems are used. Industries such as printing, healthcare, and automotive are the major users of UV curing systems.
Other emerging applications of UV curing are 3D printing, digital printing, and metal coating, which hold high-growth potential. These applications are currently in the phase of development with effective commercialization expected in the coming years. According to the American Coatings Association (ACA) article, in 2013, metal decorating, the sixth-largest growing UV/EB application, accounted for an annual growth rate of 9.3% and 3D printing accounted for the fastest growth rate of 27.3%, while the overall annual growth rate for UV curing from 2015 to 2017 was 6.7%.
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UV curing technology is also expected to be recognized as one of the leading technologies for metal coating applications than for plastic and wood coatings in the future. The metal coating market includes several potential industries, such as automotive and aerospace & defense.
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