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Emerging Technologies Pave Way to Sustainable UV-curable Wood Coatings

Annirban Bhattacharya – Mar 18, 2021

TAGS:  UV/EB Technology      Wood Coatings      Architectural Coatings    

Sustainable & High Growth of UV Wood Coatings in Untappered ApplicationsThe global UV wood coatings market is projected to grow from 0.3 million tons in 2019 to 0.5 million tons by 2025, at a CAGR of 12.0%. The demand for UV wood coatings is expected to be strongly influenced by environmental legislation and economic constraints in the construction industry.

Because of the ecological aspects, environmental legislation, and the increasing number of consumers emphasizing quality, health, and safety, the clear focus will be on radiation cure systems and other green technologies in the future. Renewable resources have started to replace petrochemical products in wood coatings to increase sustainability.

Wood coatings are one of the main segments for UV curable coatings. These coatings are known for their:

  • Superior durability
  • High gloss
  • Scratch and abrasion resistance, and
  • Significant reduction or complete elimination of VOCs

It also enables quick curing with reduced lead times. There is high growth in the use of UV wood coatings due to its environment-friendly nature.

The market for global UV wood coatings has seen an upward surge since the last decade. This is because of the large number of new constructions after the economic slowdown. There has been a considerable record of renovation and remodeling work globally.

The Asia Pacific (APAC) region accounted for around 54% of the total market share in terms of volume in 2019, followed by Europe and North America regions at 22% and 18%, respectively. The market in developing countries, such as China and India, is expected to grow at a higher rate in the next five years.

UV Wood Coatings Market Size
UV Wood Coatings Market Size, By Region, In Terms of Volume (2019)

UV Wood coatings offer a large variety of technologies and formulations such as:

Let's explore the technologies and formulations mentioned above in detail...

Conventional UV Wood Coatings Based on Acrylates or Unsaturated Polyesters

These resin types are majorly used in the market. They are widely used for furniture coatings and industrial parquet coatings. These coatings offer a variety of gloss levels and outstanding resistance properties. They are commonly applied by:

  • Roller coater
  • Curtain coater
  • Sometimes by vacuum coatings, and
  • Relatively seldom by spray application

Waterborne UV Wood Coatings – Distinct Advantages

The waterborne UV wood coatings are mainly used in furniture coatings and hydro primers for industrial parquet. The waterborne UV technology offers some distinct advantages over the 100% solids technology. Due to their low viscosity, waterborne UV wood coatings provide:

  • An excellent penetration of the wooden pores and
  • An excellent adhesion

Moreover, waterborne UV coatings are much easier to matt. Since here physical drying and water-evaporation take place the resulting volume shrink allows the matting agent particle to work effectively. Thus, strong, reproducible, homogeneous matting effectiveness can be achieved with this technology.

UV Powder Coatings – Modes of Application & End-uses

UV light has been used to cure coatings for more than 30 years, and companies have been successfully using UV-cured powder coatings for more than 20 years. UV powder coatings can replace solvent liquid coating (in some cases thermoset powder coating) and are a finishing material of interest for many new materials and products. Currently, these coatings are applied majorly on MDF (medium-density fiberboard), and other heat-sensitive substrates such as plastics, composites, metals, and other materials.

UV Powder Coatings Applied on MDF & High-heat Plastics
UV-cured Wood Coatings are Applied on MDF (L) & High-sensitive substrates (R)

The UV powder coatings are used for components and parts for the retail, store fixture, POP display, healthcare, educational, and office furniture industries.

Furniture Application Segment Leads the European Wood Coatings Market

Despite the recent deterioration in the EU’s balance of furniture trade, European manufacturers remain a significant force in the international furniture sector. With a turnover of more than USD 20 billion, Germany occupies the first position in furniture production in Europe. Upholstery, finishing new furniture, and furniture parts were the segments driving growth between 2014 and 2017.

European Wood Coatings Market Size, By Application, In Terms of Volume (2019)
European Wood Coatings Market Size, By Application, In Terms of Volume (2019)

In Europe, the furniture segment was the largest application of wood coatings in 2019. Overall, wood performs best for large furniture items. There has been an increase in wooden office furniture production and the production of furniture parts (excluding the seating furniture segment). However, the wood coatings market in the region is restrained by the increase in furniture production using non-wood materials, upholstery for seating furniture, and plastic furniture.

For instance, in the kitchen sector, more chairs have been produced with metal frames as compared to wooded frames – a development that is set to continue in the next few years. This may be driven by the trend for merging cooking and living zones, with customers then opting to furnish them in a variety of materials.

New Development in the Kitchen Sector
More Chairs with Metal Frames Compared to Wooden Frames – New Development in the Kitchen Sector

Nanotechnology-based Wood Coatings Gaining Traction

A fewer number of market players are conducting research and manufacturing nanotechnology-based wood coatings for various industrial applications. These nanotechnology-based wood coatings provide levels of scratch and abrasion resistance (that are difficult to obtain with traditional technologies) and, at the same time, leaving the aesthetic quality of top-coats unaltered.

They are also designed for use on masonry and concrete surfaces. These coatings provide:

This coating technology is gaining popularity and is estimated to be among the fastest-growing segment of the wood coatings market.

Nanotechnology Gaining Popularity in Wood Coatings

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