How to care for the UV curing lamps in your printing press


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on November 21, 2017

Following a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for your UV lamps and accessories means that the lamps should continue to cure long beyond the 1,000 hour warranty. Indeed Alpha-Cure regularly hears from customers who report that their lamps are still curing at 4,000 hours, thanks to the environment they are run in and the fact they are looked after well.

Our UV technicians have provided the advice below, but are always happy to answer any questions you may have about UV lamp cleaning and maintenance.

  • Always wear latex gloves when handling the lamp
  • Before placing the lamp into the UV system, clean with isopropanol wipes available from your supplier
  • For longer lamps, rotate them every 100-200 hours to avoid deformation of the quartz
  • Ensure the UV system is clear of all external contamination, such as inks and paper dust, etc.
  • Allow the lamp to cool for at least 5 minutes after the power has been turned off, before you handle the lamp
  • Clean the lamp, UV system and reflectors every 500 hours to maintain the longest possible lamp life
  • Avoid excessive starts – this can cause contamination due to the electrodes throwing off tungsten into the lamp
  • Check reflectors periodically, to make sure they are not scratched, dented and are free from contaminants
  • Check that the electrical connections are tight and not eroded
  • Change reflectors after you’ve replaced a lamp 4 times

We also have a useful troubleshooting guide which outlines some of the more commonly-seen issues which can prevent UV lamps curing properly. Take a look here.

Make a note of Alpha-Cure’s important Christmas dates


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on November 7, 2017

Christmas is just around the corner and we always plan well ahead at Alpha-Cure, to keep our customers happy!

Last Order Date: 

The last date to place an order if you would like to receive your UV lamps by the Christmas holiday is Monday the 20th November, at 4:00pm. Make sure you get quotes or information for our UV experts then let us know in good time, so that your order is placed by that date.

Orders placed after the 20th November will be delivered after the Christmas break, however some accessories may be held in stock and available for immediate dispatch if purchased after the 20th – just drop your account handler or the sales team a line.

Christmas Closing Dates: 

The Alpha-Cure sales office and factory will close on Friday the 22nd of December for Christmas, and open again after the New Year celebrations on Tuesday the 2nd of January 2018. Even the Alpha-Cure elves need a little break from making our UV lamps every now and then…

Alpha-Cure welcomes a new member of staff, Business Administration Apprentice Milly Beaven


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on October 25, 2017

The team at Alpha-Cure’s UK Sales and Manufacturing headquarters would like to introduce the latest member of staff to join the sales office, Business Administration Apprentice Milly Beaven.

 

Milly will be working on a data cleansing project for the Alpha-Cure sales team as well as learning all about business administration and assisting the Marketing Manager with the organisation of events. Milly is studying for her Business Administration Level 2 Apprenticeship alongside working in the office, with the aim of completing the course in 12 months.

Milly completed her A-Levels at Southam College last year and has been working part time at The Granary in nearby Fawsley and for a local business that uses interaction with dogs, cats and horses for therapy and teambuilding.

Milly says:

I joined Alpha Cure because I wanted to involve myself within a business and begin to learn the ins and outs and hopefully work my way up, and I knew this particular company would be perfect as it has a great reputation and has proven to be very successful. I had also been told by numerous people in the village what friendly staff worked at Alpha Cure, and I can’t disagree with them!

Outside of work, Milly enjoys horse riding and going out to eat (any time of the day is fine, so long as she gets some food!). Milly is already fitting in very well and learning a lot, and we hope she will find working at Alpha-Cure interesting and useful for the completion of her college course.

UV printing with Alpha-Cure lamps


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on October 17, 2017

Alpha-Cure is the world’s leading manufacturer of medium-pressure UV lamps, and many of these are used in commercial printing presses around the world for exceptional print curing results.

UV printing has multiple benefits that enable printers to deliver a high-quality final product for their customers:

  • The ink is fully dry after being exposed to the UV curing lamp, meaning the product can move on to binding and finishing more quickly that with conventional drying techniques.
  • UV curing gives printers the ability to print on almost any surface, regardless of whether it is absorbent or not.
  • The inks are stable and shold only cure when exposed to high-intensity UV light, so can be left on the press. This means the press should not have to be cleaned every time it is shut down, as can happen with some water-based inks designed to be dried with hot air.
  • Printers can put ink down in sharper or finer dots, and the resulting finish will be resistant to scratches, wear and tear and sun exposure.
  • Printers can offer a range of product enhancement options to their clients including lamination, effects, spot varnish, vibrant colours and high gloss.

Alpha-Cure can provide replacement lamps for virtually any printing system found around the world, so make sure you get in touch with your requirements! We have a database of over 14,000 lamps specs and can create bespoke UV lamps with the correct information.

We can also supply reflectors, cooling tubes, quartz plates, IR lamps, UV monitoring equipment, lamp cleaning kits, mercury spill kits and more. Drop our sales team an email or call +44 (0)1327 263900 today.

Alpha-Cure launches new division dedicated entirely to UV disinfection lamps


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on October 2, 2017

Alpha-Cure, the world’s leading manufacturer of medium-pressure UV lamps, has launched a new division dedicated to the sale of UV disinfection lamps and accessories – Alpha-Purify.

Alpha-Purify was created to cater for the increasing number of enquiries from companies around the world who use germicidal UV lamps for the disinfection of water, air and surfaces. The new division manufactures and supplies replacement lamps for most major system manufacturers, and benefits from Alpha-Cure’s 21 years of UV lamp manufacturing expertise, as well as a global distribution network.

Alpha-Purify knows what it takes to deliver the highest quality UV lamps to customers around the world, and how critical lamp performance is to the companies who use them. Alpha-Purify lamps are guaranteed for 8,000 hours, and customers will benefit from a dedicated account manager working only on UV disinfection sales.

Head of Global Sales for Alpha-Purify, Berenika Bond, has worked in the UV industry for over 8 years and is ideally placed to grow the division and help customers find what they need. Berenika says:

“I am very privileged to be a part of Alpha-Cure’s new brand launch as I have been particularly interested in UV disinfection applications from the very beginning of my adventure with UV lamps.  The launch of Alpha-Purify provides us with an opportunity to further strengthen our position in the UV disinfection market and to reach a more specialised customer base.

Alpha-Cure has 20 years of experience in manufacturing UV curing lamps, which is actually a huge advantage. This expertise has enabled our R&D team to develop UV disinfection lamps that perform extremely well in UV disinfection systems. This is mainly due to the fact that curing lamps typically have to run in a far more exacting environment than you come across in disinfection systems, so we have long since overcome many of the associated issues.”

If you are interested in reading more about Alpha-Purify, UV disinfection lamps and the applications that they may be used in, click here.

Alpha-Cure looks forward to Labelexpo Europe – are you visiting the show?


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on September 20, 2017

Members of Alpha-Cure’s sales and customer service team are heading out to Brussels next week to attend Labelexpo Europe, the biggest trade show in the world for the label and packaging printing industry. The show is enormous, spread across multiple vast halls in the Brussels Expo centre, and features live demonstrations of innovative new printing technology, workshops and seminars as well as giving industry representatives a chance to network.

Alpha-Cure’s International Sales Manager Ross Hayward will be in attendance for the duration of the show, from the 25th to the 28th September, Customer Accounts Executive Lucy Atherstone will be there on Monday 25th, Sales Executive Jamie Tipler on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th, and Head of Customer Experience Tracy Pitts will arrive on Wednesday 30th of September ready for the final day of the show.

Alpha-Cure is the world’s leading manufacturer of medium-pressure UV curing lamps, and our products are trusted by OEMs and end users around the world for the best print curing results. Our knowledgeable staff are at Labelexpo to chat to printers and OEMs about the benefits of choosing Alpha-Cure UV lamps so make sure you take this great opportunity to find out more.

The team are available for meetings during the evening as well as at the show, so please do drop the team a line if you are interested in arranging a chat. Email sales@alpha-cure.com or call +44 (0)1327 263900. We look forward to seeing you there!

New £10 note benefits from UV printing


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on September 14, 2017

The new polymer £10 banknote was released by the Bank of England today, following the release of the new £5 note in 2016

Great Britain’s new plastic ten pound note has entered circulation today, following the release of the five pound version in autumn 2016. The new notes, featuring author Jane Austen, are printed on a polymer material designed to last around 2.5 times longer and remain cleaner than traditional paper banknotes.

The new polymer banknotes are printed in a multi-stage process which adds the holographs, foils and other anti-fraud elements, and includes UV curing of both the front and back of the notes. The almost instant curing of UV inks means that no drying time is required, and precision control over thickness of the ink means UV is the perfect choice for printing on banknotes. Whenever you handle the new polymer five and ten pound notes, remember – UV printing was used to manufacture them!

Alpha-Cure is on the lookout for partners in the Canadian print consumables market


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on August 30, 2017

Do you sell print consumables such as inks, varnishes, plates and anilox rollers in Canada? Alpha-Cure would like to talk to you about UV curing lamps!

Alpha-Cure was established in the United Kingdom in 1996 and over the past 21 years has grown to become the world’s leading manufacturer of medium pressure UV curing lamps, trusted by OEMs and end users around the globe. A cross-reference of over 14,000 lamp specifications and the ability to create bespoke lamp designs ensures the company can provide replacement lamps for virtually any printing system.

Every lamp is handmade from the highest quality raw materials to an exacting production processes to deliver a product that will give you the best print cure every time. The company also supplies UV system accessories such as reflectors, quartz plates, cooling tubes as well as an array of UV testing and monitoring tools.

In order to effectively provide the best possible customer service and expedited delivery to customers around the world, Alpha-Cure utilises a growing network of distributors and dealers. This network benefits from technical, sales and marketing support to ensure they are well-equipped to sell UV curing lamps, as well as periodic visits from the Alpha-Cure team and marketing materials for trade shows.

Alpha-Cure’s International Sales Manager Ross Hayward is keen to hear from companies in Canada who sell print consumable such as inks, varnishes, printing plates and anilox rollers and would like to find out more about becoming an Alpha-Cure representative. For more information please email ross.hayward@alpha-cure.com or call +44 (0)1327 263900.

An introduction to the principles and applications of UV disinfection


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on August 22, 2017

Alpha-Cure supplies a large range of replacement germicidal UV lamps and accessories for UV disinfection systems used in water, air and surface applications around the world. But what do you know about how UV disinfection works, and what it is used for? 

How does UV disinfection work?

In 1877 scientists first observed strong sunlight disinfecting water. They noticed that sugar water kept in the shade went cloudy as microorganisms grew in it, whereas the sugar water kept in direct sunlight stayed totally clear. Fast forward to the present day, and the ability to artificially create the correct wavelengths of UV light with germicidal lamps gives us the power to disinfect a variety of liquids, air and surfaces.

UV disinfection (also known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) is a chemical-free disinfection method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet (UV-C) light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions such as reproduction. At the 254nm wavelength UV light can penetrate the cell wall of a microorganism, permanently altering the DNA structure within seconds and leaving no chemical by-products as a result.

The applications of UV disinfection

The applications of UV disinfection are so widespread and diverse that it is certainly no longer be considered an emerging technology! Advances in supporting  and developmental technologies such as computational fluid dynamics modelling mean that new applications are being discovered all the time, but the following paragraphs cover the most well-known and mainstream examples.

Water disinfection: germicidal UV lamps are used to disinfect water in a range of industries including aquaculture, mining, aquatics, horticulture, oil and gas production and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Advances in disinfection technology now allows for the treatment of opaque liquids such as milk, sugar syrups and fruit juice.

Surface disinfection of process and packing areas equipment allows producers of micro-biologically sensitive products (such as food and cosmetics) to comply with stringent quality control laws, and UV disinfection of the surfaces in hospital rooms has become an invaluable tool in the fight against hospital acquired infections (HAIs).

Air disinfection using UV lamps may refer to treatment of the airflow in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems or disinfection of the physical elements of the systems, such as storage tanks, fans and ducts. The technology has proven to be very effective in preventing airborne diseases spreading through buildings serviced by an HVAC system.

 

Alpha-Cure delighted by positive feedback from international customers


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on August 11, 2017

Alpha-Cure’s Head of Customer Experience Tracy Pitts conducted a customer satisfaction survey of all our OEMs in June, giving their representatives a chance to grade Alpha-Cure on a range of areas including customer service, technical knowledge, dispatch, packing and marketing.

We are pleased to report that the results were all positive, showing Alpha-Cure’s focus on customer satisfaction is paying off with streamlined processes and on-target deliveries. Tracy said:

“I work hard to ensure that all of Alpha-Cure’s customers, no matter how small or large, receive the same high level of service from all of our departments. I’m happy to see surveys coming back from pleased customers, and look forward to looking at another customer segment this autumn.”

Other staff members have also seen a flurry of praise from customers, and we thought we would share a few of them with you here.

International Sales Manager Ross Hayward was delighted to receive an email from a customer in Jordan who buys our handmade UV curing lamps for printing presses. Ramez Mansour from Perfect Printing Press, owned by Nuqul Group, conducted an audit of all their suppliers this summer and we are pleased to have been awarded an ‘A’ grade, the highest possible. Alpha-Cure was evaluated based on quality of the product received, responsiveness to communication, timely delivery and the accuracy of documentation for shipments received during the assessment period.

Customer Accounts Executive Lucy Atherstone received some positive feedback from a member of staff at one of the many global OEMs we supply with UV lamps, who was happy to be quoted anonymously:

“Thank you for the update, you have been delivering lots of lamps and beating your schedule recently. I just wanted to let you know it is extremely appreciated, the updates have been very clear and any issues communicated well.”

Meet Alpha-Cure at some of Europe’s biggest print shows


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on August 1, 2017

Alpha-Cure’s sales and customer service teams will be out and about over the coming months, visiting some of the key print industry shows around the UK and Europe to spread the word about our market-leading UV lamps.

First on our list is Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging at Olympia in London, on the 13th and 14th of September. This is a really interesting show looking at the future of a range of packing, from inspirational product to premium retail packaging.

After that we are looking forward to Labelexpo in Brussels and will be sending representatives for the duration of the show (25th to the 29th of September). If you are attending and would like to arrange a meeting with an Alpha-Cure representative to discuss our UV curing lamps and accessories, please email sales@alpha-cure.com or call +44(0) 1327 263900. Labelexpo Europe is one of the largest gatherings for those involved in the label, web printing and converting industry around the world, so make sure you take advantage of the chance to network with the most important names in the business – including Alpha-Cure!

In mid-October we will be visiting Ipex, the UK’s longest running print exhibition, as it returns to the NEC for the first time since 2010. We will be interested to see what the format and structure of the show looks like as they work hard to recover the reputation of the show after a few tough years.

Finally, the Print Show moves to the International Centre at Telford for the very first time, and it looks to be a revamped and popular event. We are looking forward to seeing what the team have put together and exploring a new venue.

We would love to hear from you if you plan to attend either of the UK shows and would like to meet an Alpha-Cure representative. Just drop us a line on the contact details mentioned earlier and we will be there. Don’t forget, we don’t just manufacture and sell premium UV lamps, we also supply reflectors, quartz plates, cooling tubes and power supplies!

Alpha-Cure welcomes Agnes Sopel to the company as Packing and Dispatch Manager


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on July 24, 2017

Leading global UV lamp manufacturer Alpha-Cure is delighted to welcome Agnes Sopel as Packing and Dispatch Manager, a new role for the company at a time of increasing order volume.

Agnes brings with her a wealth of experience, having spent the last 10 years working in a variety of environments from small manufacturing companies to large organisations within the logistics sector.

Agnes joins as Packing and Dispatch Manager to continue company’s recent success in providing service to many companies and implement processes to ensure that increased order volume is packed dispatched and delivered efficiently. Agnes comments:

“I am excited to start new challenge with Alpha-Cure and look forward to working with the team to further develop their already extensive packing and dispatch department. I am fortunate to be joining such a respected company that prides itself on top quality service.”

Working alongside Alpha-Cure staff, such as Director Mark Slater, I.T and Systems Manager Kris Atherstone and Executive Assistant to the Co-Founders Sara Akers, is giving Agnes an insight into the world of UV technology and the systems and processes already in place in the company.

Agnes has completed advanced management programs with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to broaden her knowledge and expertise on leading teams and developing reliable processes. She is currently working towards her BSI Diploma in Quality Management Systems and will play active role in providing and implementing high quality solutions for Alpha-Cure clients. She says:

“Our department needs sophisticated solutions that are scale-able and intuitive, in order to accommodate an expanding order volume and high quality expectations. This can be achieved by engaging teams, unifying order fulfilment functionality and promoting an ethos of innovation and exceptional service”.

Growing up in a musical family, Agnes is an accomplished singer and continues her hobby which was developed from the age of 5. In her free time, she also enjoys runs with her border collie Yoshi and long walks exploring the beautiful English countryside.

Wimbledon concludes – but do you know how UV technology is linked to tennis?


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on July 17, 2017

After a frenetic fortnight of tennis the 2017 Championships at Wimbledon concluded yesterday, with Roger Federer crowned the winner of the men’s competition following Garbine Muguruza’s success in the women’s game the day before. Whether you are a tennis fan or not, you might be interested to hear how UV is used in the creation of a crucial part of the game – tennis shoes.

An important part of the construction of any shoe is the bond used between the sole and the shoe itself – no one wants their shoe to fall apart or let in water when they are wearing them. The design and manufacture of sports shoes, such as those used by tennis players, also need to be lightweight, comfortable, flexible and very durable.

The shoes will undergo considerable impact and need to maintain performance throughout a match – and matches can go one for a bit longer than you might think…! The longest match in Wimbledon history was 11 hours and 5 mins long, back in 2010 when John Isner (USA) beat Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68.

High-performance adhesives that provide a strong but flexible bond are essential, and this is where UV has a part to play. UV cured adhesives are used in the manufacture of nearly all the tennis shoes on the market now, and therefore most of the players you watched at Wimbledon will have been benefiting from UV technology!

Find out more about other applications of UV technology by exploring the applications area of our website, and we can provide replacement lamps for all kinds of curing and bonding systems. Just call us on +44 (0)1327 263900 or email our sales team with your requirements.

Alpha-Cure welcomes two new Sales & Export Administrators to the team


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on July 5, 2017

Olivia & Lucy, Alpha-Cure’s new Sales & Export Administrators

 

Alpha-Cure is delighted to welcome two new Sales and Export Administrators to the sales office team, thanks to continued expansion and success during the first half of 2017. Olivia Mcateer and Lucy Schofield joined the company at the end of June, and are already making a huge difference to the smooth running of the admin department.

Olivia has 18 years’ admin & customer service experience within the manufacturing, logistics & distribution sectors. She has worked with businesses of all sizes from a sole trader to an international organisation, and thrives in an ever-changing environment. Olivia said:

“I am excited to join Alpha-Cure as they have an outstanding reputation and are a leading manufacturer within their market with significant ambitions for the future.”

Outside of work, Olivia is kept very much on her toes with her 11 year old twin daughters.

Lucy brings over 10 years of experience within customer services and admin roles gained in a range of industries, including the animal product and building and plumbing trades.

Lucy relocated to Daventry a year ago and is looking forward to the opportunity to develop her career at Alpha-Cure and learn new skills. Outside of work Lucy enjoys horse riding, walking her dogs and playing hockey for Towcester Ladies.

The new staff join a busy team in the Alpha-Cure sales office and will manage the process of putting orders onto our systems, dispatching completed shipments and invoicing customers and suppliers, so many of our regular readers will soon become familiar with their names.

Fun, food and silly faces at the Alpha-Cure BBQ


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on June 29, 2017

The team here at Alpha-Cure would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who wished us a Happy 21st Birthday last Friday.

The company’s UK contingent celebrated in style in the pretty local village of Upper Boddington with a summer BBQ, music from 1996, the British Bus Bar and a rather enormous birthday cake…The weather was not as warm as it had been the previous week (a very British 18 degrees centigrade and cloudy instead of 32 and sunny!), but the rain stayed away for the afternoon.

Entertainment in the form of rodeo ‘Dolly the Cloned Sheep’, a fiendishly difficult F*R*I*E*N*D*S quiz and a human table football re-run of Euro ’96 meant the afternoon whizzed past in a flash. The rodeo sheep has certainly given us a very amusing collection of photos with some funny ‘concentrating’ facial expressions to share! The human table football was fiercely competitive and tested the referees to their limits.

You can enjoy a selection of the best photos from the BBQ below… Here’s to at least another 21 years of successful UV lamp manufacturing – we’ll have to have very big celebrations indeed for our 40th and 50th anniversaries!

 

Leading UV lamp manufacturer Alpha-Cure celebrates 21 years of success!


Posted by Victoria Malcolm on June 21, 2017

21 years ago, in 1996, Dolly the cloned sheep had arrived, the Spice Girls were a force to be reckoned with (in musical terms, at least!), Euro ’96 took place in the UK (England didn’t win) and John Major was still the Prime Minister.

1996 was also the year that in a quiet corner of Northamptonshire, the five founding Directors of Alpha-Cure set up a basic office (complete with plastic garden furniture in place of desks and office chairs) and built a UV lamp production facility. The first sales order was made before the factory was even complete, several weeks later the happy customer received the very first Alpha-Cure UV curing lamp and the rest, as they say, is history!

21 years on and Alpha-Cure has grown to be a true global force in UV technology. Our lamps are still handmade to the specifications provided by customers, with bespoke lamps and new specs created every single week.  A cross reference database of over 14,000 lamp types covering applications including print curing, adhesive bonding, UV coating/finishing and surface, water or air disinfection means we can quickly and effectively help customers find what they are looking for. We are trusted by OEMs and end users around the world to manufacture the very best quality UV lamps and provide the highest level of customer service and aftermarket care.

Sales headquarters and production facilities in the UK and China, sales branches in France, Germany and Australia and a strong network of distributors and dealers ensures that customers, no matter where they are in the world, are able to benefit from Alpha-Cure’s high quality products and service.

But what about the future? Alpha-Cure want to remain at the forefront of UV lamp manufacturing for another 21 years and beyond, so are constantly investing in research and innovation. The technical team are working on a number of exciting new innovations which aim to ensure our customers get the best results in UV curing, bonding, coating or disinfection.

Right now though, Alpha-Cure staff and Directors in the UK are looking forward to celebrating the company’s 21st birthday with a BBQ and party on Friday 23rd June. The UK office and factory will shut at 12:30 for an afternoon of music, games (dolly the cloned rodeo sheep, anyone?) food and drink – fingers crossed for sunshine!

Alpha-Cure would like to take the opportunity to thank all our suppliers, partners and customers for their support over the past 21 years – here’s to many more successful years to come.

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