Floor Coating Manufacturers Are Seeing the UV Light

Flash UV was used on the basketball court at Northern Arizona University; 28,000 square feet were coated overnight for a game the next day.

By Brent Ehrlich

UV-cured coatings have been used in factories for years because they cure instantly under exposure to ultraviolet light and have very low levels of VOCs and hazardous airborne pollutants (HAPs). Their use increases the manufacturing efficiency of products such as wood flooring while protecting workers and the environment from harmful emissions. Once considered too unwieldy and expensive to be practical for onsite applications, UV-cured coating technology is now being specialized for wood, concrete, and other hard-surface flooring by companies such as UVolve/DSM and Flash UV.

UV-cured floor coatings use a photoinitiator that, when exposed to a specific wavelength of light, acts as a curing agent. The UV light is focused directly on the floor by a machine that looks a bit like a lawnmower, and upon exposure, the photoinitiators instantly crosslink individual urethane monomers together to form the polyurethane floor coating. In contrast, conventional high-traffic polyurethanes or epoxies contain two parts that, when mixed together, undergo a chemical reaction to crosslink the product; once mixed, these coatings have to be used within a short time and can take days to fully cure.


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