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.
Leading UV lamp manufacturer Alpha-Cure has gained global recognition for the high-quality of their lamps, utilising the highest grade vacuumed baked quartz available in the market, ultra-high purity noble gases and mercury reaching levels of 99.995%.
Alpha-Cure can produce UV lamps for nearly every printing system (such as Eltosch), and are pleased to be able to supply replacement lamps from manufacturers including:
- Primarc /Baldwin
- Hereaus /Amba
Our UV Engineers are also able to test a working sample lamp in order to then create a lamp spec, or cross reference to see if we already manufacture an equivalent lamp. So please do drop us a line to discuss your requirements, whether you are looking for a replacement Eltosch, IST, Primarc or Hereaus UV lamp or are not sure what you need! Don’t forget, we can also supply IR lamps, system reflectors, quartz plates, cooling tubes, high-voltage cable, lamp cleaning kits and mercury spill kits.
You can contact Ross Hayward or Jamie Tipler from Alpha-Cure’s sales team on +44 (0)1327 263900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Replacement germicidal/disinfection lamps
Do you work in the UV disinfection industry, or are looking to add replacement disinfection lamps to your business offering then please note that Alpha-Cure are also able to supply high quality replacement germicidal lamps for UV disinfection systems. If you are looking for replacement lamps from manufacturers including:
- Wallace & Tiernan
- Berson UV
…then make sure you get in touch! To discuss your UV requirements in more details, please speak to Alpha-Cure’s UV disinfection guru, Business Development Manager Berenika Bond on (email@example.com).
Production Administrator Lynne
Production Resource Supervisor Paula
Our May staff blog takes a look at production planning, a vital but little-known part of Alpha-Cure’s manufacturing process which enables the production team to produce our UV lamps as efficiently as possible.
When an order is received by the sales team, it is processed by our admin department and the details are entered into Alpha-Cure’s bespoke CRM. The next step is for the lamps to be planned into production, which is the process of ensuring orders are produced within the agreed time frame and that the manufacturing sites both in the UK and China have a steady stream of production work to carry out, and ample materials to work with.
The Alpha-Cure production planning is shared between Production Resource Supervisor Paula Mackenzie and Production Administrator Lynne Barson, who are both based in an office above the factory with Production & Technical Director Richard Cherry. The work is normally split so that Paula and Lynne are each in total control of production planning for a full week on a rota, but allowing for holidays or other urgent projects. This system ensures the sales and customer service team know who to go to with enquiries about their orders.
The orders are pulled into Alpha-Cure’s scheduling assistant software, which allocates each order a unique ‘works number’, this number is present on works orders that move with our ultraviolet lamps as they go through different stages of production, and ensures the lamp’s production status can be tracked at any time.
A completion date is input by the admin team, triggering the scheduling system to indicate which Alpha-Cure production facility has the capacity to manufacture the lamps, so this can then be confirmed and the manufacturing process started. The system will also show the maximum daily production capacity for certain types of UV lamps, such as long lamps or roll seal halide lamps, so that production of those lamps is spaced out accordingly.
As mentioned earlier in the blog, a crucial part of the planning process is ensuring that the materials used to create the lamps are in store and available when needed. To check stock levels, Paula and Lynne can export the order data into an Excel document which allows the data to be sorted by different categories, such as different types of quartz or cap type.
New lamp specs or lamps that need to go through testing are flagged up to Alpha-Cure’s Senior UV Engineer André Parnell. Any new lamps will require a mercury dose sheet which André has the technical expertise to create for us, and the testing is scheduled in to ensure that there is space in the testing department and the correct facilities are available.
Paula and Lynne have a total of 13 years combined experience of production planning so they are able to manage the production levels with great skill, and easily spot data patterns that are unexpected or incorrect. The production planning team enjoy the different challenges presented to them each day, which makes this aspect of the manufacturing process an interesting and varied one to be involved in.
Are you looking for replacement Eltosch reflectors? Alpha-Cure is pleased to be able to supply a range of high quality replacement Eltosch reflectors at very competitive prices. The most popular sizes of Eltosch reflectors are: 273mm x 70mm and 300mm x 62mm, however Alpha-Cure can provide a variety of sizes and specs to suit your requirements.
Alpha-Cure supplies a wide range of reflectors including aluminium, aluminium dichroic, aluminium extruded, stainless steel, stainless steel dichroic, glass / bora silica and glass / bora silica dichroic, as well as quartz plates and quartz filters.
Our highly knowledgeable staff will help you order the correct replacement Eltosch reflector for your system – just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1327 263900 to speak to the sales team in person.
Reflectors are responsible for anything from 40 to 70% of the UV light that hits the substrate – so they are very important to curing results! If they are dirty or deformed you will undoubtedly see a drop in the performance of the UV system. Different types of reflector not only reflect the maximum amount of UV light possible onto the substrate, but can also allow IR light and heat to escape, keeping the lamp and the substrate considerably cooler.
Alpha-Cure’s International Sales Manager Ross Hayward will be visiting Colombia for two weeks this June to attend the Andigrafica show in Bogotá, and to meet customers both there and in Medellín.
Ross will be flying to Bogotá on the 1st June and will be visiting Alpha-Cure customers and prospects in the area, including some from Mexico and Argentina, before attending Andigrafica the following week (the show is on from 6th – 9th June). Ross is being accompanied on this trip by Monica Scott from Alpha-Cure’s distributor in Colombia, Scott UV, who will provide useful local knowledge as well as translation skills! On the 11th June Ross and Monica will fly to Medellín, the second largest city in the country after Bogotá, to spread the word about Alpha-Cure’s UV lamps and system accessories before returning to the UK on the 15th of June.
Ross said: “I’m looking forward to travelling to Colombia next month, taking the opportunity to meet some of Scott UV’s Colombian clients and visiting a printing show in South America. I’m keen to support Monica and share my technical knowledge of UV lamps and spread the word about Alpha-Cure. It is always interesting to meet customers in different parts of the world and see our lamps being used in a range of environments. I hope that Monica and I come back with a full order book!”
If you are in Colombia and interested in meeting with Ross and Monica to discuss UV curing lamps and accessories while they are in Bogotá or Medellín, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Alpha-Cure. Call +44(0) 1327 263900 or email email@example.com
Alpha-Cure Co-Founder Steve Haines is heading out to Egypt tomorrow to support our local distributor for the area, Antonia Group, at the biannual TechnoPrint exhibition in Cairo
Antonia are Alpha-Cure’s distributor in Egypt
TechnoPrint is on from 27th – 30th April and Steve expects to be busy meeting contacts and potential customers who are looking to find out more about our market-leading UV lamps and accessories. Antonia Group will be exhibiting in Hall 2 on stand B11 for the duration of the show, so if you are attending TechnoPrint in Cairo and would like to meet with Steve then please do get in touch to arrange an appointment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01327 263900 and we’ll get straight back to you!
Alpha-Cure has built an extensive network of branches, distributors and dealers as well as strategic OEM partnerships to provide a worldwide distribution platform of substantial stock reserves.
You will often find Alpha-Cure staff, including our Co-Founders, travelling to visit and support our local representatives at shows and expos or for strategic sales meetings. We are on the lookout for potential partners selling printing consumables in countries spanning several continents, including South America and Africa, so if you would like to add UV lamps and accessories to your product list why not find out more here.
UV lamp manufacturer Alpha-Cure continues to invest in technological advancement with the addition of a 3D printer to the Research and Development department at the company’s UK headquarters. Systems Administrator Leon Duckham has been charged with the implementation and testing of the new kit, but luckily he knows rather a lot about 3D printing! For our April staff blog, Leon takes us through a brief history of 3D printing and explains why Alpha-Cure have invested in a printer at this time.
Systems Administrator Leon Duckham
“3D printing was first invented in Japan in 1981 but this was very much an early concept still in testing, and it was 2 years later in 1983 that 3D printing processes were patented in France and the United States. Due to these and other patents, 3D printing remained little-known outside of scientific and industrial manufacturing circles for many years. The renaissance of 3D printing and its eventual emergence into the public eye is largely due to these patents running out and the development of a project called RepRap at Bath University, which invited academics from around the world to collaborate in the creation of a low-cost printing machine that was capable of reproducing its own spare parts, making it essentially self-replicating. The project was conducted with open design and public licences, enabling a wide audience of engineers, companies and enthusiasts to get involved.
3D printing is now an established technology that is used for prototyping, fixing things, reproducing obsolete parts and modelling structurally-complex objects that cannot be made using traditional CNC manufacturing. Further developments to the process, such as selective laser sintering, have enabled the creation of solid metal components – an exciting application of 3D printing that has allowed Formula 1 racing teams to print new parts for their cars over race weekends.
Basic 3D printers are also now far more affordable than they used to be, meaning that people have them in their homes for printing ornaments, games and fun objects – that’s how I taught myself how to use one. There is a great online community embracing 3D printing which can provide help and troubleshooting for most problems that occur. It’s great to see 3D printing enhancing people’s lives too – printing of prosthetic limbs at a far lower cost than conventional sources and quick modifications to wheelchairs are just two examples of this.
Here at Alpha-Cure we are taking our first steps into 3D printing and exploring what abilities this technology will give us in the future. We are hoping to redesign existing components and test dimensional fit before mass production. I’m 3D printing some jigs to align component welds that were previously being hand-machined at a cost of around £50 each and took several weeks to complete. The material cost of the 3D printed version will be around 2p per piece and they take just one hour to print, so in time this will represent an excellent return on investment. Our Project Engineer Danny Hazley will be able to assess tolerances and make adjustments with little time or financial outlay. I’m keen to see how new materials such as modified PETG and ABS perform and what properties we can exploit to advance our product development. As a UV lamp manufacturer we are also keen to expose different materials to ultraviolet light in our test environment, giving me a picture of which ones work and what I cannot use. I’m excited to see what other ideas and applications we will think of in the future.”
Tracy Pitts, Alpha-Cure’s Head of Customer Experience
Head of Customer Experience Tracy Pitts joined Alpha-Cure in October 2016 and for our March staff blog, she updates us on her work so far and plans for the future.
“It has been a very busy and exciting 5 months working with Alpha-Cure’s customers who range from end users who buy UV lamps once or twice a year, through to OEMs and our larger official distributors who purchase high volumes of lamps monthly. My role is to ensure each and every customer, however big or small, receives the highest level of service throughout the process. I also directly manage Alpha-Cure’s Account Executives who ensure quotations and orders are processed smoothly and in a timely manner. We strive to deliver a premium experience that matches the high quality of our products and this takes time, investment and a full understanding of all of the company’s systems and processes.
During my first few weeks I spent a lot of time with the Commercial Director Mark Loveridge prior to his departure, to ensure I had a full understanding of the pressures our customers face and our role in the success of their businesses. We reviewed sales performance figures to identify trends and troubleshoot problem areas. I have also spent time observing the Account Executives to understand the crucial part of the customer service delivery I am managing, as well as conducting meetings with the sales team to gauge how they go about their daily tasks and achieve targets.
It has been good to work with Alpha-Cure’s talented Network and Systems Manager Kris Atherstone as he has developed some exciting reporting systems which allow me to assess the volume of interactions undertaken by each member of the sales and customer service team. I have introduced periodic quality checking of both my team and the sales team’s calls and emails, to ensure high standards are maintained and to identify any training requirements. We are also keen to highlight the good work the team do and record positive feedback from customers. These processes complement our ISO 9001 accreditation improving our efficiency and allow us to stand out from our competitors.
I wholeheartedly encourage cross-department information sharing, and now have regular meetings with our Administration, Packing and Dispatch departments, working together to improve the service we provide.
In the next month we will be sending out a customer satisfaction survey to OEMs which I hope will be useful to help us pinpoint our customer’s specific needs. We plan to survey all our different customer segments in the near future, and will tailor the questions to gain an awareness of everyone’s needs. It’s been a pleasure working closely with our Marketing Manager Victoria to take into account every ‘touchpoint’ our customers have when they buy lamps and/or accessories from us, and I hope people take this opportunity to share their opinions. I’m looking forward to reviewing the results of the OEM survey and implementing any changes that may be suggested.
Moving forward we are trialling a slightly new method of processing quotations and orders whereby the Account Executives support the sales team, freeing up time for more proactive sales calls and lead research. I’m visiting Gulf Print and Pack in Dubai this week, supporting our local representative and enjoying the opportunity to speak to customers face to face and further my understanding of Alpha-Cure’s position in international markets.
All in all it has been a fantastic 5 months and I am looking forward to speaking to many more customers over the coming months and improving our service to provide an enhanced experience with Alpha-Cure.“
Alpha-Cure’s Head of Customer Experience Tracy Pitts and Co-Founder Steve Haines are looking forward to flying to Dubai this weekend to attend Gulf Print & Pack 2017. The show runs from this Sunday 26th of March to Wednesday 29th of March in the Dubai World Trade Centre, and Alpha-Cure are attending to support our local representative Anoop PPTE and network with potential customers from across the Middle East.
“I am really excited that Steve and I are visiting the Gulf Print and Pack expo in Dubai supporting Anoop and I am getting the opportunity to speak face to face to more printing industry professionals about our UV lamps. I am also looking forward to gaining a better understanding of Alpha-Cure’s position in international markets and of course in the Middle Eastern market in particular”.
If you are attending the show and would like to meet with Tracy and Steve to discuss Alpha-Cure’s market-leading UV curing lamps, please do not hesitate to email Tracy at email@example.com We pride ourselves in having gained global recognition for delivering the highest quality product, each lamp being individually crafted to your exact specifications and manufactured utilising the highest quality grade of vacuum baked quartz available. We are proud that our customers recognise us as worldwide experts in our field.
Alpha-Cure continues to demonstrate its commitment to supporting local communities by sponsoring a photography exhibition from The Ups of Downs, a charity supporting children with Down’s syndrome and empowering their families.
The exhibition, being held in Leamington Spa on World Down’s Syndrome Day (Tuesday 21st March), will showcase 30 professional portraits of the group’s members with the aim of raising awareness and challenging outdated perceptions of people with Down’s syndrome.
The Ups of Downs was formed in January 2005 and now works with more than 50 families, running training courses, early development groups, specialist speech and language interventions and weekly Saturday groups for school-age children, as well as providing ongoing support and resources to parents and professionals.
The photographic exhibition that Alpha-Cure is supporting is called #thischildcan and will run at the Spa Centre in Leamington for several weeks before displaying some of the images at public locations in the area – for example Warwick Hospital, Royal Priors shopping centre, UHCW and children’s centres. The group hopes that the more the children are seen and Down’s syndrome demystified, the more society will embrace diversity and become more inclusive.
Find out more about The Ups of Downs and how you can support them here.
Our sales and technical teams regularly discuss the importance of UV lamp cleaning, maintenance and changes with our customers, as well as advising them to keep track of how long lamps have been in use and ensuring they monitor lamp performance as reasonable lifetime is reached. We are now on a mission to educate our customers about UV reflectors, as this crucial element of the system is so often overlooked or neglected.
Reflectors sit behind or next to the UV lamp and are responsible for anything from 40 to 70% of the UV light that hits the substrate – that is a lot! If they are dirty or deformed you will undoubtedly see a drop in the performance of your UV system. Different types of reflector not only reflect the maximum amount of UV light possible onto the substrate, but may also allow IR light and heat to escape, keeping the lamp and the substrate considerably cooler. We can also provide reflectors and quartz plates with cooling holes in place for the same reason.
We recommend our customers check and carefully clean their system reflectors every time they change the UV lamps, and they should expect to have to replace reflectors every 3 or 4 lamp changes. If a reflector appears deformed or distorted, and cleaning it makes no difference, we would advise it is replaced as soon as possible no matter how old it is.
Alpha-Cure can supply a wide range of reflectors including aluminium, aluminium dichroic, aluminium extruded, stainless steel, stainless steel dichroic, glass / bora silica and glass / bora silica dichroic, as well as quartz plates and quartz filters.
If you think you may need new reflectors then get in touch with Alpha-Cure today – we can provide advice on reflector maintenance and quote for replacements if needed. It’s a simple fix that will make a huge difference!
Head of Customer Experience Tracy Pitts & Distributor Accounts Executive Joanna Piskorz with (probably!) the world’s longest UV lamp
The UK production team at global UV lamp manufacturer Alpha-Cure have started 2017 as they mean to go on, challenging themselves with the creation of what they believe is the world’s longest ultraviolet curing lamp!
At over 3.5 metres long this bespoke and one-off lamp was created on request for a specialist UV application, and certainly represented a challenge for this skilled team. Alpha-Cure aims to always deliver for our customers, no matter how tricky the task, so we are pleased to share these images of the extremely long lamp before it was cleaned, packed and shipped out for installation (in a bespoke extra-long lamp box, of course).
This UV lamp has been manufactured using exactly the same high quality materials as every other Alpha-Cure lamp, ensuring the reliability and longevity our customers have come to expect. We use the highest-grade vacuum baked quartz available, high-purity noble gases and mercury (reaching levels of 99.995%) with a management team with over 150 years’ experience overseeing the entire process.
Senior UV Lamp Engineer Andre Parnell commented “a lamp of this length really tests the skill of our production team, particularly the body making department as the long length of the lamp makes it hard to work on the shoulders of the lamp without affecting the shape of the main body. It’s exciting to see the finished article ready to ship!”
If you have a requirement for ultraviolet lamps for curing, coating, bonding and disinfection applications (or indeed any application at all – we love a new or tricky task here at Alpha-Cure) please do drop us a line on +44 (0) 1327 263 900 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a database of over 10,000 different lamp types and receive sample lamps of every day to test – our dedicated sales and technical teams are ready to help!
Alpha-Cure’s Co-Founder Steve Haines and International Sales Manager Ross Hayward are in Jakarta, Indonesia, today on the first leg of a tour of South East Asia that will also take in Malaysia and Thailand during the first half of March. Steve and Ross have travelled to the area to take part in some key face-to-face meetings with customers, contacts and prospects, and have a busy schedule planned. They do have some free meeting time so if you are in (or can get to) Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok and are interested in discussing your UV lamp requirements or have any questions for our International Sales Team, please do get in touch.
Alpha-Cure staff are often on the road (or in the air!) visiting people and exhibitions around the world, and this year there are visits to Dubai, Egypt, South Africa, South America and several countries in mainland Europe already in the diary. Our commitment to helping our dealers, distributors, OEMs and end users make the most of our lamps and UV system accessories is just one of the things that set us apart from our competitors.
If you would like to meet with Steve and Ross while they are in South East Asia or find out more about our other visits in 2017 please email email@example.com or call +44 (0)1327 263900. They will be in Jakarta from 6th – 8th March, Kuala Lumpur from 8th – 10th March and then Bangkok from the 13th – 16th March. We also keep our ‘Meet Alpha-Cure’ page updated with information, so you can always take a look – just click here.
Join the Alpha-Cure team! We’re looking for a Production Operative with a keen eye for detail and great practical skills to work at our UK manufacturing headquarters in Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire.
Interested? Email your CV to Paula Bryan on firstname.lastname@example.org by the closing date of Friday 17th March. We look forward to hearing from you! #wearethecure
Alpha-Cure’s Development Engineer Peter Stebbings takes the reins of our February blog to share some exciting news regarding his recent work to identify a method of accurately predicting the hydroxyl (OH) content of quartz.
Development Engineer Peter Stebbings
“Quartz is manufactured by melting silicon at very high temperatures, and this process causes water vapour present in air to bond to the quartz as OH. The ppm (parts per million) of OH present in the quartz is directly correlated to lamp life. The higher the OH content the shorter the lamp life, so naturally the technical team here at Alpha-Cure wanted to find out how we might be able to predict the OH content of quartz in the future.
Quartz is a key material in the manufacture of our UV lamps. Known for its high thermal and mechanical stability, quartz has excellent transmissive properties and is highly transparent to UV radiation. The quartz is analysed to determine its transmissivity in the UV region.
Even a slight change in how transmissive the quartz is has a huge impact on the process where the lamp is used, so it is essential that we are delivering the optimum intensity possible. As with OH content, the different techniques employed by various quartz manufacturers result in variability in UV transmission; therefore to achieve a premium quality end product we start with premium raw materials. Alpha-Cure ensures it buys the highest standard grade available with excellent transmissive properties and a very low ppm of OH.
However during the process of forming the quartz into lamps, additional OH is bonded back into the material. Alpha-Cure’s manufacturing procedure includes a long period of processing after this, to ensure the materials are in the best state possible, but we needed to develop a way to predict OH levels before and after manufacture to optimise our production and confirm premium lamp longevity.
Since joining Alpha-Cure in August 2016, I have been testing different methods of measuring the OH level in quartz samples and more latterly quantifying my results to try to be able to predict OH levels rather than measuring them. I’m pleased to report that my research has been enlightening and successful, and the result is that we can now accurately predict OH levels in quartz and therefore assess its quality.
A commitment to using high quality materials means Alpha-Cure can deliver a product that our customers can rely on to be of premium quality and reliable. UV lamp performance is critical to their end product, regardless of whether that lamp is being used for print curing, adhesive bonding, automotive manufacture or any other UV application.
My work and that of other members of Alpha-Cure’s dedicated research and development team demonstrates the company’s commitment to delivering industry advancements in lamp design and UV technology, and a high level of customer satisfaction.
That’s why Alpha-Cure remains the global market leader in the manufacture of medium-pressure UV lamps.”
We’ve been manufacturing UV lamps for a diverse range of applications, for over 20 years. Alpha-Cure lamps are used around the world for print curing, furniture assembly, automotive manufacture, circuit board printing, food processing and water, air and surface disinfection, so you can trust our products to meet your requirements! If you are currently using a UV pasteurisation system for juice or cider production, or are considering doing so in the future, please drop us a line to discuss your lamp requirements.
Our sales team are happy to answer any questions – email email@example.com or call 01327 263900