UV Paints, Has The Future of Body Repair Arrived?
A little over ten years ago Akzo Nobel, broke new ground in the industry with a clear coat – the top layer of an automotive finish—that could be cured in minutes following exposure to ultraviolet light.
In those days, when clearcoats needed to be baked at 60 degrees for 30 minutes or more, the energy savings with “UV-curable” coatings were huge. Curing times may have improved for clearcoats in the interceding years, but UV-curable clearcoats exposed to the newest generation of efficient LED lights still deliver significant energy-saving benefits.
The system though was only used for small repair areas and UV Fillers hadn't been perfected yet so it's largely remained untouched and not picked up by the large body shops for every day repairs.
Here we chat with Wayne Beardsmore at Damage Undone about his experiences with UV Paints, Lights and Fillers.
"2020 is the Year of UV Curing"
UV curing has been around for a while now but I was only made aware of it back in 2018. Lee Wallbank from IRG (Innovative Repair Group) asked me to try the Tesla Cure (handheld rechargeable100w UV-A lamp)| that Steve Peart had developed and distributed in the UK.
I was as sceptical, as some of you reading this might be, having never seen one in action. The question I asked myself was, is it possible to fully cure a primer that has the same build as a 2k primer in under 45 secs, without any issues down the road?
The answer to this is, yes it is possible. This has undoubtedly been the BIGGEST GAME CHANGER to my business and I can’t be thankful enough to Lee and Steve for introducing me to UV curing.
It has enabled me to work SMARTER and QUICKER and this technology has therefore allowed me to increase my turnover by being able to fit in another 1-3 jobs a week.
How does it work:
This is where it can get very technical and confusing and I am still continuing to learn more about it each week. What I will try and do is simplify it as best as I can be based on what I currently know. With some helpful data that a great lady called Sarah from Socurinc recently shared.
The lights work on the following:
IRRADIANCE - the energetic output of the bulb and how much light it emits over a given area, which is measured in mW/m2.
WAVELENGTH: the size of the wave of a given aspect of the electromagnetic spectrum is important because you need a UV lamp that gives off the same wavelength or as close to the photoinitiators in the filler or primer to cure it.
IRRADIANCE STRENGTH: ideally nothing less than 80 mW/m2 for a spot cure and greater than 180mW/m2 for priming and UV fillers.
Over the last 2 years, I have been in a fortunate position to have been able to test several of these lamps and below you will find a list of the ones that I feel are worth considering:
Scangrip NOVA-UV S: Cost Appro £380
This lamp is the most economical of all the lamps but it is also the least powerful and therefore takes the longest to cure but its also the best value price-wise so there is a trade-off.
As expected from Scangrip the product design, build and features are the most advanced of the four lights I will talk about. It can be used plugged in or unplugged and has good battery life. It also features a timer which goes up in increments of 1 minute up to 5 minutes and then switches itself off, allowing you to work on something else whilst it cures the product. I also like the fact that Scanprip produces a stand for it too (optional extra but worth the investment if you are going to buy this light as it takes longer to cure).
Irradiance centre 15 mW/m2 ( I know this falls short of the minimum that I have noted above but it is a well-built light that will allow you to start UV curing, just at a slower speed)
ATEX APPROVED: NO
IDEAL USE: Small spot repairs in a static or mobile unit.
NEED TO KNOW: Scangrip has developed a larger more powerful unit that will be out soon.
FXSPECULAR SPECULAR: Cost approx £750
The specular lamp is only available on the internet through Facebook and Instagram and is made in Thailand. This is a very robust lamp but very basic, it literal cures and there is no timer.
One downside is that It can’t be plugged in so a spare set of batteries are always required but it has the power to cure primer very quickly in 45-60 secs. It is twice the price of the Scangrip Nova and has proved to be a success with mobile repairers.
I have enjoyed using this lamp because of its robust design and powerful lamp, however, what lets it down for me is the lack of technological features eg. no timer, no indicator of battery life and therefore the chance of running out of power on a job.
Irradiance centre 200mW/m2 W
ATEX APPROVED: NO
IDEAL USE: Perfect for SMART repairers that are either static or mobile
TESLA CURE R100: Cost Approx £1750
This is currently the ULTIMATE rechargeable and most powerful UV lamp on the market. It can be used as a wireless unit and its re-look chargeable battery lasts ages but if you run out of charge during a job, then like the Scangrip you can just plug it in and use it.
The unit comes with a digital timer and a built-in thermal cut out which cuts in after 3 mins to protect the internals from overheating. This, however, does not affect the productiveness of the lamp because you would not normally need to run it for longer than 45-60 secs per coat of primer. Tesla will allow you to repair and cure larger areas faster than the Specular or Scangrip.
Irradiance centre 200 mW/m2
ATEX APPROVED: YES
IDEAL USE: Full SMART repairs and my first choice for mobile or static units
HEDSON UV SPOT CURE: Cost Approx £2250
At 400w this unit is by far the most powerful unit I own and the fastest UV curing lamp I have ever used but this comes at a price. Firstly it is the most expensive lamp out of all 4 I have talked about and secondly, it is a wired unit connected to a transformer base which is needed to power the 4 100w LED UV-A lights.
It is amazing and in a league of its own and will cure a full door in under 90 secs (possibly even less). From my experience, this unit will cure in a quarter to half the time of the Specular and Tesla.
Irradiance centre, I believe this unit exceeds the 200 mW/m2 that is achieved by the specular and Tesla but Hedson measure things differently
ATEX APPROVED: NO
IDEAL USE: Full SMART and crash repair sites both mobile and static
PRIMERS AND FILLERS:
Primers have been around for a while and most manufacturers are now producing them but the two that currently stand out from the rest are Sikkens and Glasurit. I have used both of these primers alongside a couple of other brands but these are the two I would not hesitate to recommend.
If you were to ask me which one I would choose? It would be the Glasurit. Bizarrely in the UK, it is a little more expensive than the Sikkens compared to other countries. The way it sprays/lays, the coverage and the build, it is far more superior and so you get far more for your money.
This side of things is very new and still developing, over the last 2 years I have worked with Socurinc Chipfix, FXSPECULAR UV filler and Low Bake’s (Australia) filler.
They have all had their pros and cons and we will probably have to make another post on this.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR:
As the title says, “2020 is the year of UV curing” and I have only touched on this subject and not even mentioned what is coming:
Colad, have produced their own lamp to rival the Tesla Cure. They have also developed their own UV putty. Both I hope to test out soon
Glasurit, have also launched a new UV putty and although I have not used it, I have been hearing good things
Lamps: I know of at least 3 new lamps that will be coming onto the market very soon, 1 rechargeable and 2 wired, all of which I am led to believe will change the way we UV cure yet again.
With thanks to