As technology allows the manufacturing world to achieve ever-faster production times, it’s often the larger joinery businesses that are the main beneficiaries of these improvements.
Cost and availability of space are frequently cited as reasons for smaller joinery businesses missing out.
High tech lacquer
Recent advancements in UV curing equipment and lacquers have changed all that. Not only has the available equipment reduced in size and price but the lacquer itself has changed. Teknos’ UVILUX Sealer 1453 combines a sealer and lacquer in one. This gives the UV process two advantages; no cleaning down equipment between primer and topcoat, just coat and go again; and with UV curing the product is dry in under a minute.
There are other advantages to the UV curing system. With traditional drying systems, there is some evaporation whether using solvent or water-based coatings but the immediate solidity of UV-cured joinery puts a stop to this. And since the coating is 100% dry when it emerges, the joinery can be processed immediately.
Lancashire-based joiner Pendle Doors recently installed a Bürkle roller-coating UV-curing system and haven’t looked back.
Managing director Steve Anderson explains:
“We used to have racks of our doors taking up valuable production space while they dried. Now our products go through the Bürkle machine, get flipped over and then immediately fed back to coat the other side. Combined with the Teknos UVILUX Sealer, this system has had a massive impact on production times and expenditure.”
Cost savings from roller coating
Products have no risk of dust contamination since the unit is sealed and the joinery is not wet when it comes out. Liam Whelan from MPS Machines – which represents Bürkle in the UK – adds: “The amount of lacquer used in the Bürkle roller coating system is, on average, one tenth of the amount used by the spraying method. Despite UV lacquer being typically twice the price of PU-based lacquer, this means the cost of UV is still one fifth that of PU.” Of course, less spraying makes for a better work environment for employees as well.
Good things in small packages
Like so many technological developments, one of the main changes to UV curing systems has been the reduction in unit size. The floor space required is deceptively modest and although the initial outlay may seem out of reach for some smaller joinery businesses, the payback is said to be fast – and prices are coming down.
Lacquer technology has been keeping up with this fast-paced change. Teknos now offers an antibacterial additive for its combi lacquer, expanding the suitability of UV-cured joinery to specialist locations like hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. With paint technology and UV curing machinery developing rapidly, the opportunities for smaller manufacturers are wide open.