UV LED curing in furniture finishing used by major Ikea supplier in Europe

A new finishing line in Europe was designed to provide UV-LED curing on all positions except the final topcoat cure, reported Woodworking Network.

SC Freda has started production on their new high-speed furniture coating line. The oldest furniture company in Lithuania specialises in manufacturing flat-pack furniture from particleboard, MDF and cellular lightweight construction panels.

The surfaces range from decorated paper with clear UV varnish to highly pigmented UV coating systems. SC Freda is a major supplier for Ikea, and manufactures multiple product series.

SC Freda increased its manufacturing capacity by expanding production operation, purchasing a high-speed production line with UV curing that complies with Ikea quality and process control standards. In addition, sustainability and energy efficiency were taken into consideration to ensure a strategic, long-term investment.

Efsen UV and EB Technology is involved in radiation curing technology, and has experience in measuring and integrating UV-curing equipment for a wide range of applications and industries.

Efsen and Freda have been working on optimising UV for many years, and they started discussing developing an efficient and smart UV line back in 2017. Freda wanted cost efficiency, product quality and maximised production capacity. The production process should also be modern and environmentally friendly.

While UV-LED curing in the wood industry is not new, according to Efsen, the current UV-LED curing production lines are only using a fraction of the capability the UV-LED technology can offer. Efsen wanted to go one step further, not limiting the use of UV-LEDs to gelling positions, which is how UV-LEDs are used in most lines.

The intention was to change the whole process to UV-LED curing on all positions except the final topcoat cure. The price/performance of conventional mercury lamps can’t be matched yet for the final layer, due to the challenges of formulating price competitive UV-LED curing coatings that meets the high resistance and colour accuracy requirements of a topcoat.

Curing the sanding sealer with LED only is reported to be an industry first. With the high-power output of LEDs, the primary limiting factor of the technology is the coating itself.

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Source: Woodworking Network