UV cure clearcoats are “water white” after curing, so there are no tinting effects caused by these clearcoats during refinish operations. UV cure clearcoats have built-in UV protection to resist film degradation caused by the rays of the sun. They also have excellent gloss retention, are durable, and have excellent chemical and scratch resistance. As long as 1K UV clearcoats are stored in containers that do not allow light exposure to the product, there are no pot life issues.
Some collision repair facilities offer their customers the option to repair and refinish small areas of damage on lower vertical panels by blending UV cure clearcoats. Keeping repair and refinish areas minimized sometimes allows a vehicle owner an economical repair option for small scratches and dings that the owner may not otherwise have repaired. Although blending clearcoats may not produce results equivalent to an OEM finish, the latest UV clearcoats will produce a blend edge that is barely visible on lower vertical panels, and may be an acceptable repair solution in some instances.
2K UV Clearcoats
These clears are designed to achieve cure in “shadow” zones where UV light does not effectively penetrate, such as sharp reverse angles on body panels and panel edges. These 2K UV clears may also be an alternative to 1K clears for refinishing larger areas. Because these clears require a chemical catalyst, the curing process begins as soon as the catalyst is added. There is a definitive pot life. Consult your Coatings Supplier’s Technical Data Sheet for application recommendations.
UV Clearcoat Application
Applying UV cure clearcoat is very similar to applying conventional clearcoat.
As with conventional clears, for optimum film build, speed of application, flow out, and transfer efficiency, always consult manufacturer’s technical data sheets for application instructions along with specifics regarding spray gun fluid tip and air cap recommendations and equipment settings. Because UV clear has relatively short tack times, dust contamination is minimized. If sanding and buffing becomes necessary because of surface defects, it can be done immediately after curing. If rework is required, the cured finish should be scuffed and cleaned before more product is applied. UV cure clearcoats are compatible with most other automotive finishes, so if the repaired area is refinished at another time with conventional paints, no issues should arise.
Watch a video on applying clearcoat (1.5 Mb).