Staff Blog: UV lamp checks to carry out if print media stops curing

Posted by admin on January 13, 2017

Jamie Tipler

Jamie Tipler, who works on Alpha-Cure’s UK & Export Sales, talks you through some UV lamp checks you can carry out if your print media stops curing.

Alpha-Cure’s UV lamps are used around the world to cure ink in a range of printing production lines including digital, offset, flexo, litho, screen and letterpress for some of the world’s largest printing houses. I spend a lot of my time talking to people who manage printing presses, some of which are running nearly 24 hours a day. They cannot afford for the system to be offline even for a few hours, so every part of the press must be in good working order.

The UV technology employed in printing presses offers flexible, durable and high quality print curing and is an integral part of the print process. That means if the print media stops curing, you should check the UV lamp as well as other parts of the printing press. Here’s where I would start:

Look for contamination on the lamp body

The lamp body should be examined for any external contamination, such as finger prints, dust or spray power. Alpha-Cure sells UV lamp cleaning kits which include a microfibre cloth and isopropanol, the very best tools to clean the lamp body, as well as safety glasses and protective gloves.

Check and clean the reflectors

You should also check the reflectors to see if they need to be cleaned or refocused – it may surprise you to hear that reflectors are responsible for 70% of the UV light that hits the substrate, so they really are a crucial part of UV print curing. Alpha-Cure supplies a range of UV reflectors including dichroic and aluminium reflectors, so drop us a line to chat about what you need.

Keep a note of the lamp running time

Making a note of how many hours a lamp has been running for in a printing press is important. Alpha-Cure’s lamps are manufactured with highest grade vacuumed baked quartz available in the market and ultra-high purity noble gases and mercury reaching levels of 99.995% to ensure high performance guaranteed for 1,000 hours running time. However, after 1,000 hours of use a lamp’s energy output may be lower than the original specification and in time the lamp may not provide enough UV energy for curing your application.

Consider using our UV lamp testing equipment

Our UV test strips measure the entire UV spectrum and provide an accurate visual determination of UV output. You’ll be able to monitor UV output in hard to reach places and compare multiple light sources. Alpha-Cure also sells a hand held UV lamp tester which can be used to test for a working vacuum in mercury arc, metal halide, neon, fluorescent and L.E.D lamps.

Call Alpha-Cure to discuss your requirements!

We pride ourselves on combining outstanding knowledge of UV technology with a comprehensive range of lamps and accessories and great customer service, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We know how important it is for your UV lamps to be in tip-top shape to enable your printing presses to operate efficiently – after all, in printing time is definitely money!

Contact us on +44 (0)1327 263 900 or email and we will very happy to help you.

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