Ultraviolet curing (commonly known as UV curing), used in the printing industry, is a photochemical process in which high-intensity ultraviolet light is used to instantly cure or dry inks.
The UV curing process is based on a photochemical reaction, using light instead of heat. Liquid monomers and oligomers are mixed with a small percentage of photoinitiators, and then exposed to UV energy. In a few seconds, the ink instantly hardens.
UV curable inks were created as an alternative to solvent-based products. Conventional heat-and air-drying works by the evaporation of solvents, which shrinks the initial application by more than 50% and creates environmental pollutants.
In contrast, in UV curing there is no solvent to evaporate, no environmental pollutants are created, there is no loss of coating thickness, and no loss of volume. The result is higher productivity in less time, with a reduction in waste, energy use and pollution.