The introduction of new technologies in the bodyshop’s daily work requires the use of specific equipment. In the case of UV curing products, the specific tools required are few, although it is essential to have all of them to be able to work with these products. You probably already know or are familiar with these tools, but do you know why they are so important? Do you know their specific features? Read on to find out the answers.
Why are UV tools so important?
UV products involve particular technology in terms of the way they dry compared to other paints, so having dedicated tools is the only way to ensure fast application and efficient drying, while preserving the safety of the operator at all times.
The tools used are carefully researched and designed for use with these products, with the objective of obtaining an efficient and high-quality working process, particularly with regard to drying tools. Any other source or tool that emits UV light does not guarantee proper curing, so any attempt to do so should be avoided.
3 essential tools for working with UV products
The 3 essential tools for working with UV products in the bodyshop are:
- Opaque container.
- UV safety glasses.
- Drying gun.
The first must-have tool for working with UV products when applying products with a spray gun is the opaque container. This container is identical in shape and design to the traditional ones, but is entirely opaque, in order to prevent UV radiation from entering the interior, which would inevitably initiate the drying process of the UV product. From a practical point of view, this translates into a change in product viscosity, which can make application more difficult as the product thickens, considering that UV primers applied with a spray gun use a fluid peak of between Ø 1.2 mm and Ø 1.4 mm.
The second tool is not a tool as such, although it is extremely important when it comes to drying these products. UV safety glasses protect the operator’s eyes during the drying process, so that UV light cannot cause damage or pathologies to the eyes, as the risk level is classified as group 3, i.e. there is a high individual risk that can cause illnesses.
Regarding the technical specifications of this PPE, the UV safety glasses used must be those indicated by the manufacturer, in order to guarantee protection that precisely matches the light characteristics of the beam of light emitted by the curing lamp. In general, a lens that protects against a 400nm UV light range will provide good protection when using UV curing lamps. In addition, it is also important for these glasses to be light, comfortable and to fully cover the area around the eye in order to avoid any transfer to the human eye.
As with any safety glasses, it is important to remember the following maintenance rules:
- Before each use or thorough cleaning, rinse the glasses with cold water to remove surface dirt. This prevents the occurrence of damage during subsequent cleaning of the lens.
- Cleaning is performed using specific cleaners or wipes. Alternatively, cold water and soap can be used, but never paper.
- After use, they should be stored immediately in their box or case to prevent damage or accidental dropping.
The last of our 3 essential tools for working with UV products is the curing lamp. This is perhaps the most important tool of all from a technical standpoint, since without it, effective curing of the UV product is impossible. Among the most important features and functionalities of these lamps are the following:
- A curing range with good irradiance levels, in order to be able to use this technology for both smaller and larger scale damage. As an example, the most common UV curing lamps on the market are capable of covering a curing diameter of up to about 65 cm.
- Coverage of the entire UV wavelength around 395-400 nm.
- Manufactured with UV LED technology to eliminate the need for preheating and optimize the curing process, making it more efficient.
- LED display to indicate lamp charge and curing time.
- Integrated battery and wireless power supply. It is also recommended to have two batteries to prevent the lamp from becoming unusable.
- Comfortable to handle.
- Good resistance to low intensity impacts and waterproof.
Regarding maintenance, the most common recommendations indicated by the manufacturer are the following:
- Always use in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do not use the lamp near an open flame.
- Protect the power cables from contaminants such as oil and any heat source.
- Only charge the battery indoors.
- Replace the entire lamp when the light emitter stops working because it has reached the end of its life cycle.
Without the right tools, the magic is lost
As we have seen throughout this article, the tools used in the application and curing of UV products are no mystery. However, this simplicity does not detract from their importance, because without them it is impossible to carry out an effective and efficient work process that is also safe for the operator’s health.
As such, without these tools, the magic of UV products is lost!