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Ultraviolet Is Ultra-Fast

Special Guest Contributor:

Greg Askew
Technical Services Specialist
AkzoNobel Automotive and Specialty Coatings
Vehicle Refinishes – North America

In today’s competitive marketplace, collision repair facilities are looking for any advantage which can make their process more efficient. Many are using cutting-edge coatings to markedly reduce the time needed to perform the steps of the paint repair. One technology gaining momentum — ultraviolet (UV) curing primer surfacers.

Ultraviolet primers cure through exposure to the proper wavelength of UV light. Different manufacturers have different wavelength requirements, so make sure you know what you will need before making any equipment decisions. Additionally, as with all refinish products, proper personal protective equipment is a necessity. Make sure all safety precautions, including appropriate ultraviolet radiation protections, are being followed by anyone within the area of exposure.

UV cured primers have much to offer when looking for efficiency gains. For example, certain products feature cure to sand times of as little as 30 seconds. Minimal flash times and high film builds are often par for the course. These UV products are available in aerosol cans and, in some cases, also packaged conventionally for spray-gun application.

Speedy cure times can positively affect not only how fast it can be sanded, but the whole prep process itself. Now, the “priming” process may be treated as a single “prep” process. This allows for a continual hands-on approach: featheredge the repair, clean, mask for overspray, apply UV surfacer, cure, sand, and prep blend panels all as a virtually “single-touch” operation requiring no more than just a few minutes between wet primer and sanding. No more vehicles taking up space while waiting to cure!

Additionally, this technology also provides an easy way to save on materials. Because the cross-linking of the primer occurs through exposure to ultraviolet light and not by adding hardener, only what is sprayed is used. Whatever is not applied can typically be used on the next job if it has not been exposed to light. In the case of aerosol cans, there is no clean-up at all.

Most UV primers are very capable of offering a laundry list of advantages: good build, quick cure, highly shrink resistant, low VOC, and minimal waste – to name a few. Regardless of facility size or volume, UV can be a part of a process designed for maximum efficiency.

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