Industry News

Awards for "Enabling" UV Automotive Application

Published on 2002-05-23. Author : SpecialChem

Meridian and Ford Motor Company Win Awards

CHEVY CHASE, MD-An innovative automotive application swept the end use awards at the recent biennial trade show and conference for the ultraviolet (UV) and electron beam (EB) curing industries, RadTech 2002, at the Indianapolis Convention Center, IN.

The award winning application involves the innovative fabrication of a composite sheet-molded-compound (SMC) pickup truck body box outer, for Ford Motor Company.  "Ford was looking for an enabling technology to develop a process with characteristics not available using traditional methods," says Jeff Robbins of Meridian Automotive Systems, producer of the part and RadTech award winner.  "Ford required the composite parts to 'paint like steel.' We needed to eliminate the 'paint pops' or substrate out-gassing which affected the OEM paint process.  Traditional SMC sealers require some type of high temperature bake, which causes the pop problem in the first place," continued Mr. Robbins.  "UV gives a remarkably fast cure at near room temperature-with no pops."  According to industry sources, the process involves a conductive, two component hybrid UV sealer, designed for application over composite substrates such as SMC and BMC, which when cured,  develops a high performance polymer matrix providing excellent adhesion and 'pop' resistance.  Meridian Automotive Systems received two awards for the process, Best of Show and People's Choice. 

In addition, Ford Motor Company was presented with the first annual RadTech President's Technology Advancement Award for their work in the "science and implementation of UV technology in the automotive industry," in developing and implementing the process.  In accepting the award on behalf of Ford, Becky Leary from Ford Vehicle Operations Paint Engineering, highlighted the importance of collaboration and partnerships as Ford adopts new technologies to implement innovative, efficient and environmentally friendly processes.

To further UV/EB automotive technology, RadTech sponsors an "Automotive Focus Group."  The group has undertaken several projects, including creation of a CD-ROM on UV for automotive applications.  Currently under  development is a book due for publication in late summer: Radiation-Cure Road Map, A Guide to Automotive UV Curing; the group is also beginning to address the potential uses for UV cure in the refinish industry. 

UV and EB are high value, rapid throughput processes offering the virtual elimination of polluting emissions and lower energy consumption compared with traditional methods-providing manufacturers with a safe, fast and efficient pollution prevention technology.  As a result, the industry has been growing at over twice the rate of traditional processes over the last several years.

Source: RadTech International, N.A.

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