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Beckers, the global market leader in coil coatings, has joined forces with the leading steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal to develop the first commercial paint formulations for electron-beam (EB) curing for the coil coating industry.
The game-changing technologies, which build on Beckers’ 18 years of pioneering work, can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), and enhance efficiency in the industry by providing up to twice the surface coverage per kilogram of paint. The European Coil Coating Association (ECCA) considers Radcure technology to be the most significant gamechanger in terms of decarbonisation of the coil coating industry.
Collaborating on the first EB pre-painted steels
Beckers and the steelmaker ArcelorMittal have collaborated to implement this technology for pre-painted steels for the building and construction segment. This major innovation in the coil coating industry has been achieved following a long-term partnership between the companies.
The ambition is for EB curing technology to replace solventborne paint systems with solvent-free coatings to produce pre-painted steels for the building envelopes. Regular thermal curing is substituted by EB curing to reduce CO2 and VOC emissions, decrease energy consumption by avoiding natural gas and to avoid the use of cooling water as the process occurs at room temperature. EB curing also reduces waste treatment, improves productivity and lowers VOC emissions in the finished product. Both Beckers and ArcelorMittal are sustainability-driven companies with ambitious sustainability goals. Solvent-free EB technology is an important step towards achieving their environmental targets.
World-first EB coils produced
Coil coating line #3 at ArcelorMittal Construction in Contrisson, located in the north-eastern part of France, was converted in early 2023 as part of a pilot project. The paint formulation for the pilot was specially developed by Beckers to match the performance levels and applicability of solventborne products while the application and curing proprietary technology were invented by ArcelorMittal to meet the high-speed strip coating requirements.
The long-term partnership between ArcelorMittal and Beckers has been crucial to overcoming challenges with scaling up the technology from laboratory to industrial production in a very short timeframe. The first coils produced were processed to make sandwich panels that have already been installed on a pilot building. The new paint technology is expected to be used together with a high-speed galvanizing process in the future.
Beckers invests in UV/EB expertise for the future
Beckers has conducted a peer-reviewed life cycle analysis (LCA) study showing that a full switch from current solventborne coil coating technology to full UV/EB-cured systems can reduce the carbon footprint of the coil coating process by up to 50 percent. The company is making substantial investments in advancing UV/EB curing technology to promote a widespread adoption within the industry to further drive decarbonization. Beckers is furthermore building a 300 m2 Sustainable Innovation Centre in Liverpool which will house the UV/EB development centre and long-term sustainable R&D technologies.