Alpha-Cure has over 22 years’ experience in the manufacture of UV curing lamps and we certainly know our way around a UV curing system. We help our customers find the right replacement UV reflectors for their system every day, so we have plenty of experience in finding the right solution for the problem. In this blog we aim to share our knowledge with you so that you are able to extend the useful lifetime of your reflectors and ensure a high-quality cure every time.
What are UV system reflectors?
An integral element of many UV systems are the reflectors which, as the name would suggest, help to reflect UV light onto the substrate. Up to 70% of the UV energy that reaches the substrate comes from the reflectors, so they are critical in ensuring the UV system is operating effectively.
Why are there different types of UV reflectors?
UV system reflectors are available in a range of materials and geometric shapes to suit different the range of UV curing applications. Materials include:
Highly polished aluminium: These are commonly used for focusing ultraviolet light from a medium pressure mercury vapour lamp, UV curing lamp or metal halide lamp as metal halide reflectors.
Dichroic coated aluminium: These reflect visible light and allow infrared radiation to pass through. This type reduces heating of illuminated objects since less infrared radiation is present in the light beam.
UV coated quartz: Quartz material is stronger than glass and therefore can be used at temperatures up to 1050 ° C and has a high transmission from 230nm to 3000nm. This makes it useful for most UV applications.
Alpha-Cure can also supply extruded reflectors, stainless steel reflectors, bora silica and many more.
How do I look after my reflectors?
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 has celebrated a successful start to 2019 with the news that the company has passed its BSI audit, which took place earlier this month, and have been recommended for continued ISO 9001:2015 certification. Alpha-Cure’s Directors would like to extend their sincerest thanks to all the staff who ensure our high standards are maintained and offer exceptional service to our customers. Sales have been buoyant during January and there are new product launches and a new website to look forward to.
So what else will take place in 2019? Senior sales representatives will be jetting off to visit our international representatives and explore new opportunities in India, South East Asia, Africa and Russia in the next 12 months. The team are also looking forward the return of LabelExpo Europe, which takes place in Brussels this September, a chance to network with other leading figures in the label printing industry.
Our dedicated UV disinfection brand Alpha-Purify is exhibiting at SeaAsia Singapore in April and Aquatech Amsterdam in November, the leading maritime and water treatment exhibitions respectively. 2018 was an exciting year for the Alpha-Purify team, with a steady increase in enquiries and sales and wide brand recognition to be proud of.
Alpha-Cure’s UK office and factory will be shut from the end of the day on Friday the 21st of December until the morning of Wednesday the 2nd of January, when we’ll be back and raring to go. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers, suppliers and partners for another successful year and we look forward to working with you again in 2019.
For those of you who are taking a break over the festive period we hope you have a restful holiday, and if you are still int he office and working, we hope you have a peaceful and prosperous week. We look forward to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2019.
Alpha-Cure has spent over 22 years developing expertise in UV lamp manufacturing, and we’re proud to say that we use only the highest quality materials to produce our market-leading products. Every single one of our medium-pressure UV lamps are individually hand-made by our skilled staff to ensure a final product that our customers can rely on and UV system manufacturers can trust to deliver in their equipment.
At Alpha-Cure we use:
The highest-grade vacuum-baked quartz
Ultra-high purity noble gases
Mercury purity reaching levels of 99.995%
Aviation grade lead terminations
Here’s some more information about the materials used to create our lamps and the properties they have been chosen for:
High-grade fused quartz
Alpha-Cure uses the highest-grade purity quartz available on the market. Fused quartz has a high thermal stability and melting point (1665°C – glass melts at 600°C). The UV transmission of quartz is excellent, providing up to 95% UV transparency. The thickness of the quartz has been carefully chosen – ideally it must be thick to ensure maximum UV transmission, but it must also be sufficiently thick for thermal stability and to prevent the lamp body bowing.
Tungsten has the highest melting point of any metal and this coupled with its excellent thermal conductivity and stability makes it ideal for use in electrodes. The tungsten electrodes are connected to the molybdenum foil seals with platinum.
Molybdenum foil seals
Molybdenum is used in the seals of our lamps as it has a very similar coefficient of thermal expansion to the quartz we used – this means that both materials will fluctuate in size the same amount as they heat and cool, preventing cracking of the seal. It is also a good electrical conductor and has high resistance to corrosion.
Ceramic cap and cement
Ceramic has high dielectric strength, meaning that it can withstand a relatively high voltage before ‘dielectric breakdown’ occurs. Dielectric breakdown means that that current flows through an electrical insulator when the voltage applied across it exceeds the breakdown voltage.
The applications of UV curing are incredibly widespread – in fact, the likelihood is that right now you are either using, sitting on, wearing or very near something that required UV curing during its manufacturing process.
Alpha-Cure is the world’s leading manufacturer of medium-pressure UV curing lamps which are used around the world in a range of industries to cure inks, coatings, varnishes, lacquers, resins and glues. A huge number of those lamps are supplied to OEMs and end users in the commercial printing sector for use in UV systems on digital, offset, flexo, litho, screen and letterpress printing presses.
Our lamps are also used in automotive manufacturing, and for this blog we’re taking a look at some of the elements of your car which have been created with the help of medium pressure UV curing lamps.
UV coating has been used in the manufacture of headlamps for over 30 years, being in both the main components of the part – the polycarbonate lens and the reflector housing. The lens needs a tough, scratch-resistant coating to protect the polycarbonate, and UV coatings provide this with an instant cure time to save money. The reflector housing is protected and sealed with UV coating.
UV curable coating can be applied to alloy wheels to protect the finish from the effects of water, ice, salt, grit and accidental scratched and light damage. The coating will be cured instantly once exposed to UV light emitted by a medium pressure lamp, ensuring quicker drying times than air or heat dried coatings.
Another use of UV coating in automotive manufacture is the application of a UV cured clear coating on molded body panels. The benefits of a UV coating are that it is tough and durable whilst retaining flexibility, and it can be readily used on plastic panels as there is no heat involved to cure the coating, which would otherwise distort the shape. The UV coating means that it won’t crack when it is hit by objects kicked up by the tyres or other vehicles. As with all UV coatings it is a quick process, meaning production lines can move rapidly and there is no requirement for drying space.
Alpha-Cure lamps are manufactured from high quality materials by our experienced staff to ensure guaranteed curing performance and long working lifetime. Take a look at our product range here.
Alpha-Cure has over 22 years’ experience in UV lamp manufacturing and curing processes, and we know how to manufacture UV lamps that deliver impressive curing results for well beyond our warranted hours. Alpha-Cure lamps are used by leading OEMs and busy end users around the world for print curing on a wide range of substrates, wood and wood laminate product manufacture, automotive manufacture, PCB manufacturing and more.
Whatever the application of your UV lamps, it is in your interests to ensure that your lamps are functioning as they should and keep doing so for as long as possible. In this blog we’ve gathered 7 key steps to implement as part of a cleaning and maintenance schedule for your UV lamps and reflectors, to ensure that your system keeps delivering exceptional curing results.
Ensure your UV system is free from dust, paper, ink and any other external contamination.
Clean the lamp/lamps, UV system and reflectors every 500 hours to maintain the longest possible lamp life.
Clean new lamps before they are placed into the system with isopropyl alcohol wipes, ensuring that you wear gloves at all times when handling UV lamps.
Rotate long lamps 180 degrees every 100-200 hours to prevent deformation of the lamp body – do not handle lamps when they are hot, leave them to cool for at least 5 minutes after switching off the UV system.
Avoid excessive starts – this can cause contamination of the lamp 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 that will not clean off. Replace reflectors every 4 lamp cycles.
Check the UV lamps in the system are not showing any external signs that could cause poor curing performance. For more information on UV lamp troubleshooting, click here.
Christmas may seem like a long way away as we wave goodbye to summer and the leaves start to fall from the trees, but Alpha-Cure’s festive shutdown begins in less than 12 weeks, and we’re already preparing. Here are some key dates for the diaries of our global customer and supplier network to ensure orders and shipments are completed before the Christmas break:
The Alpha-Cure UK factory and sales office will be shut from Friday 21st of December and reopen on Wednesday 2nd of January.
The last date for customers to place an order for delivery before Christmas is Tuesday 20th November.
The last dispatch date for worldwide deliveries that need to arrive before Christmas is Monday 17th of December.
The last dispatch date for UK and European deliveries that need to arrive before Christmas is Wednesday 19th of December.
Alpha-Cure’s sales and customer service team are happy to answer any queries you may have and can help you ensure you have sufficient stock in production or stock to ensure your supply chain and stores are unaffected by the Christmas break. Just get in touch with your sales representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Wooden furniture and floors are treated with varnishes and coatings to ensure the wood is preserved and sealed for years to come, and the finished product’s appearance is of a high quality. Varnishes and coatings are applied layer by layer during the manufacturing process, so ensuring a quick, energy efficient and consistent coating is key.
UV curable stains, primers, sealants and topcoats are all available which have the following benefits for wood furniture and flooring manufacturers:
Shorter production time – the coating takes just a few seconds to cure whereas coatings that require air or IR drying can take several days to totally set. This means in a production line the materials that have been treated can be packed or taken to the next stage of production without having to wait for the coating to dry.
Space saving – eliminating the need for drying times means that less space is needed, as materials can be packed, racked and stored as soon as they come off the production line.
High quality finish – UV coatings give a good gloss and a very hard wearing finish that is resistant to abrasion and scratching and is largely stain and chemical resistant.
Alpha-Cure manufactures market-leading medium pressure UV curing lamps used to cure a full range of sealants and topcoats used in the manufacture of wood furniture and flooring. To find out which UV curing lamp is right for your business please contact the Alpha-Cure sales team who can help you identify the correct lamp for your UV curing system.
Alpha-Cure has over 22 years of experience working with UV curing system manufacturers around the world to develop proprietary lamps for exceptional curing results. Just drop us a line to find out more.
Several of Alpha-Cure’s customers have received an email (see above for an example) from ‘Mark Slater’ and an email address of email@example.com asking them to transfer money to a seller with a Cambodian account.
Please be aware that this is a fraudulent email that was not sent by Mark Slater or anyone else at Alpha-Cure, so please do not reply or send money to the account detailed in the email. Our bank details have not changed and will not change in the near future.
If you have received any emails which do not seem normal (as per the email above) please forward directly to firstname.lastname@example.org as we currently have this under investigation.
The team at Alpha-Cure are pleased to welcome a new addition to the marketing team, Natasha Wallace. Natasha is the new Marketing Manager for Alpha-Cure and Alpha-Purify, and will be managing all aspects of marketing to ensure the company is delivering the best content for prospects and customers and that brand awareness is optimised around the world.
Prior to joining Alpha-Cure, Natasha has an extensive background in marketing and sales within a range of technical industries. This has given her a strong understanding of consumers’ needs which helps mould the marketing content produced. Natasha also has marketing experience within distribution models which will be a huge benefit when assisting Alpha-Cure’s global dealer and distributor network.
“I am thrilled to work for a market-leading company with a strong global presence Alpha-Cure. The future with the growth of the Alpha-Purify UV disinfection division and new opportunities and markets for Alpha-Cure is very exciting. I am also looking forward to help build on the presence of this well-established brand. “
When she’s not optimising the website, planning exhibitions and designing brochures, Natasha enjoys a country lifestyle whether its walking her beloved Labrador, shooting or horse riding. Her other passion is travelling, thanks to living in the Middle East most her life. We look forward to seeing Natasha’s marketing ideas come to fruition across the Alpha-Cure and Alpha-Purify brands!
Ana Barbosa, Customer Sales Executive at Alpha-Cure
Alpha-Cure is delighted to announce a new addition to the UK sales office, Ana Barbosa. Ana is joining the team as a Customer Sales Executive, working with Alpha-Cure’s global network of dealers and distributors to ensure their orders and shipments are processed in a timely and efficient manner.
Prior to joining Alpha-Cure, Ana worked in the international logistics and transport industry for 5 years and has 6 years of experience in sales. The skills gained in both these roles and Ana’s extensive language skills (she speaks English, French, Spanish and Portuguese!) mean that she is the perfect fit for the job of Customer Sales Executive here at Alpha-Cure. Alpha-Cure has an extensive network of distributors and dealers to ensure customers around the world can access our range of high-quality UV curing lamps and UV system accessories and take advantage of exceptional customer service.
“I am amazed at the range of applications of Alpha-Cure’s products and am proud to be working at the world’s leading manufacturer of medium-pressure UV lamps. I am already enjoying working with the team and look forward to learning more about the business in the future.”
Ana has quickly become a key member of the Alpha-Cure sales office team and is building strong working relationships with the customers she looks after.
Outside of work, Ana enjoys keeping active by running and cycling (very necessary when working at Alpha-Cure thanks to the amount of cake and sweet treats in the office), relaxing with movies and popcorn and spending time with her loved ones and friends. Welcome to Alpha-Cure, Ana!
Alpha-Cure’s International Sales Manager Ross Hayward and CSO & Co Founder Steve Haines will be attending LabelExpo Americas this coming September at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
The exhibition runs from the 25th to the 27th of September and is the largest event for the label and package printing industry in the region. Steve and Ross are looking forward to the chance to network with industry experts as well as other leading industry suppliers. Alpha-Cure is the world’s leading manufacturer of medium-pressure UV lamps which are used in label printing presses around the world, and LabelExpo Americas represents an excellent opportunity to take note of the latest global trends in label printing.
Our experienced UV technicians can create bespoke lamp specifications and cost-effective UV lamps solutions to suit your exact curing requirements. Alpha-Cure has a long and successful history working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to supply them with exclusive lamps that are placed in their systems before sale.
Our dedicated research and development department are committed to delivering innovation and quality in partnership with leading UV curing system manufacturers around the world. Alpha-Cure’s state-of-the-art facilities, coupled with a highly experienced team of UV engineers and production staff, ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction and support.
If you would like to arrange a meeting with Steve and Ross during the exhibition to discuss UV curing and how Alpha-Cure can assist you, please contact Ross by clicking here.
How does infrared work?
Infrared (IR) energy is a form of radiation, which falls between visible light and microwaves in the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared lamps use low amounts of energy and work by emitting infrared radiations which can be used for many processes. Infrared heaters produce heat that is a product of invisible light from IR lamps.
What are infrared lamps used for?
Alpha-Cure supply infrared lamps for many different applications and industrial processes, as well as for the more commonly seen heating of indoor and outdoor spaces in domestic and commercial premises.
Applications of IR include:
• Curing and bonding
• Plastic welding
• PET manufacturing
• Print drying
• Domestic/commercial heating
In these applications, infrared heaters may replace convection ovens and contact heating, UV curing or electrical or gas heating systems. In the case of print drying, infrared may be more suitable than UV curing for some inks and substrates. IR heating is increasingly popular for use in warehouse heating, as it can be targeted directly towards where staff are working, preventing energy being wasted on heating air or building structures.
Find out more about infrared lamps from Alpha-Cure
Alpha-Cure has a dedicated sales and technical team to assist you, no matter what your IR lamp requirements may be. We have offices in the UK, France, Germany, China and Australia, as well as a global network of official distributors – get in touch with us today! Call +44 (0) 1327 263 900 or email our sales team on email@example.com
Are you a printer looking for high-quality replacement lamps for your UV system? Or perhaps you manufacture a product that requires UV curing as part of the production process, and would like to enquire about our market-leading lamps.
Alpha-Cure manufactures spare and replacement UV lamps for virtually every printing and curing system out there, and are pleased to be able to supply replacement lamps from a wide range of manufacturers including:
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 if you 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.
To find out more, please contact Ross Hayward or Jamie Tipler from Alpha-Cure’s sales team on +44 (0)1327 263900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Germicidal/disinfection lamps from Alpha-Purify
Our new division Alpha-Purify supplies replacement lamps for UV disinfection systems for air, water and surfaces, as well as working with system manufacturers to develop proprietary lamps. If you are looking for replacement lamps from:
Wallace & Tiernan
…then make sure you get in touch! Browse the Alpha-Purify website here, and to discuss your UV disinfection requirements in more detail, please get in touch with Alpha-Purify’s Head of Global Sales Berenika Bond.
Alpha-Cure have always been associated with quality and reliability, producing tens of thousands of UV curing lamps every year for our customers. Our UV lamps generally have a warranted life of 1,000 hours, but this can easily be extended provided the lamp is run in accordance with our guidelines and conditions. In fact, Alpha-Cure regularly hears from customers who report that their lamps are still curing at 4,000 hours, thanks to the environment they are operated in and adherence to a stringent cleaning and maintenance programme.
Alpha-Cure’s UV technicians support customers and distributors around the world with troubleshooting and technical advice, and here they share their best practice for handling, cleaning and replacing UV lamps
Always wear latex gloves when unpacking and then handling a UV lamp, as any residue and oil from your fingertips will contaminate the surface of the lamp and cause issues once it is ignited.
Before placing the lamp into the UV system, ensure you clean the lamp body with isopropanol wipes – these are available from Alpha-Cure’s sales team.
For longer lamps, rotate them every 100-200 hours to avoid deformation of the quartz and ‘bowing’.
Avoid excessive starts – this can cause contamination due to the electrodes throwing off tungsten into the lamp. When you remove the UV lamp from the system, check that the electrical connections are tight and not eroded.
Ensure the UV system is clear of all external contamination, such as inks and paper dust, and clean the lamps regularly with isopropyl wipes. Allow the lamp to cool for at least 5 minutes after the power has been turned off, before you handle the lamp.
Alpha-Cure has over 22 years of experience in UV technology and are experts in troubleshooting issues with lamp and UV system performance. However, even the very best products crafted from the best materials will need to be replaced in the end. Alpha-Cure can provide replacement UV lamps for virtually any UV system, as well as system spares and accessories including:
UV system reflectors
UV lamp cleaning kits
Mercury spill kits
UV testing and monitoring products.
Chokes, ballasts and ignitors
Contact Alpha-Cure’s technical sales team on 01327 263900 or email email@example.com to discuss your requirements.
The 5.6 million residents of Singapore enjoy a constant supply of clean drinking water that is among the safest in the world. This is a remarkable feat for one of the most densely populated countries in the world that has no native supply of freshwater, and 50 years ago had an open sewer system.
The fact that 100% of the population of Singapore are served by modern sanitation is a result of intensive investment in water treatment technology and infrastructure by the Singapore government. Water used by Singaporeans comes from four “taps” – imported water from neighbouring Malaysia, rainwater that is collected from two thirds of the land and stored in reservoirs, desalination plants processing seawater, and reclaimed (recycled) water.
Reclaimed water is a key part of Singapore’s future
Reclaimed water is seen as critical to the future of Singapore, as it offers the government complete control over an area of their water supply. The other 3 ‘taps’ are subject to fluctuation in cost and subject to availability issues – price rises from the Malaysian government (and an agreement ending in 2061), the high cost of desalination, and the risk of lower than usual rainfall affecting reservoir levels.
NEWater, introduced in 2003, is the name for used water from the sewerage system, treated and further purified through microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection. This reclaimed water is potable, but the majority is used in industrial processes and manufacturing. The Singapore government have built 4 high-tech reclamation plants in the country, called NEWater Plants, as well as a vast underground system of pipes to move both wastewater and the recycled, disinfected water around the country.
Progressing towards 2060 targets
In 2017 595 million cubic metres of reclaimed water was used in Singapore, equivalent to 238,000 Olympic swimming pools and met approximately 30% of total water demand. By 2060 the government is aiming for 55% of total water usage to be served by reclaimed water, just 1 year before the water import agreement with the Malaysian government is due to end.
In April 2018, Singapore’s national water agency PUB has broken ground for the second phase of the underground pipework – referred to as the ‘enhanced conveyance system of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System’ – to deliver ever more wastewater to the NEWater plants for recycling. The technological progression is still a keen focus for the Singapore water agency, as University researchers are working on methods of desalination that mimic the human kidney, while engineers work to reduce the energy consumption of wastewater recycling plants.