How are Alpha-Cure’s UV lamps manufactured?
Alpha-Cure have been manufacturing UV lamps for over 22 years and now have a truly global operation. Our lamps are handmade at one of two factories by a skilled and dedicated production team, led by Production Director Richard Cherry (UK) and Co-Founder Shane Atherstone (China).
We only use the highest quality materials and have a rigorous testing procedure, to ensure our customers benefit from a premium product, that can be relied upon for an excellent cure quality.
How long do UV lamps last?
Every one of Alpha-Cure’s UV lamps has an expected life of over 1000 hours, and this can be extended provided the lamp is run in accordance with our guidelines and conditions. We offer technical support and troubleshooting for our customers and are always happy to answer your questions.
Do you have a lamp warranty system?
Alpha-Cure guarantees the internal structure of the lamp for 1000 hours running time, up to 1 year from the manufacturing date. Alpha-Cure’s guaranteed hours are valid when the lamp is run according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Should foreign objects come into contact with any lamp and the manufacturer’s maintenance procedures are not followed, the warranty will be affected. As such Alpha-Cure technicians review each warranty case individually.
How will I know when to replace my lamps?
We advise our customers to keep a log of how long each lamp they use has been running for, from the moment it is installed in their UV system. This information can be used to develop a maintenance schedule to ensure lamps are cleaned and checked at regular intervals and flag up when they may be approaching the end of their working life. You can also purchase UV test strips and labels, which are used to monitor lamp output- just chat to our sales team.
What temperature should they run at?
UV lamps operate best between 600 and 800 degrees centigrade, and it is important to ensure the lamp cooling system is working well and there is adequate airflow around the lamp. Bowing of the lamp body may occur if the temperature is not controlled correctly.
The electrical connections at the end of each UV lamp are designed to withstand temperatures of no more than 250 degrees centigrade – prolonged exposure to excessive temperatures could lead to a hole being burnt through the ceramic cap and possible damage to the UV system.
Over-cooling can also cause a mirror-like coating to appear on the inside of the lamp. This is caused by tungsten from the electrode and mercury condensing inside the lamp.
How do I properly dispose of a lamp since it contains mercury?
It is illegal to dispose of your UV lamps in your general waste and must be disposed-of separately in order to optimise re-use and recycling. Alpha-Cure use the company Recolight to recycle our lamps to ensure they are disposed of appropriately. This helps to reduce the quantity of waste and helps regulate the amount of harmful chemicals going in to landfill. Alpha-Cure offers its customers a free-of-charge disposal service for used lamps, and that includes our new customers wishing to dispose of old lamps not manufactured by Alpha-Cure. All you will need to take care of is the packing and carriage of the lamps you wish to dispose of. Contact us for more details to ensure that you are always 100% compliant with environmental guidelines.
Do I need to clean my lamps?
Yes. To maintain your UV lamp, it is important to regularly clean it and any other accessories you may have to avoid any problems which could prevent your lamp from curing effectively. We recommend wearing gloves whilst cleaning to prevent contaminants sticking to the surface. Use a lint free cloth with isopropanol alcohol or isopropanol wipes. Remove any dust or dirt by running the cloth along the quartz body.
What other UV consumables do we offer?
We have a range of accessories to help maintain your UV systems including:
– Reflectors which we can supply in anocoil or quartz to suit your system. We can supply reflectors uncoated or with a dichroic coating to enhance the UV. These are responsible for the reflection of up to 70% of the UV energy source, so regular maintenance is required to help you get the best from your lamp.
– Chokes or Ballasts which are used to control the current that flows through your UV lamps. Chokes can increase the performance and life span of your UV lamps.
– Quartz tubes which are designed to filter out IR radiation and are mounted between the UV lamp and the substrate, this filter ensures that the machine never gets too hot which can result in heat damage.
– Spill kits are vitally important for any printing house or production line using mercury filled UV lamps. Have these readily available in case of emergencies, to prevent any of the adverse effects from an accidental UV spillage caused from a UV lamp being dropped and smashing. These kits are COSHH recommended and can be used repeatedly on mercury spills.
– Cleaning kits to help maintain your UV lamps and keep them curing effectively. Regularly cleaning the system, filters, lamps and reflectors could help you gain an additional 10% – 20% of operating hours from a UV lamp.
How do I know if my UV lamp is curing properly?
Alpha-Cure sell UV Test Strips and labels which can help you establish whether your UV lamp is working at its full potential. They measure precisely the UV output from the lamp. Once they have been exposed to the lamps UV, they begin to change colour. Depending on how much UV has been emitted, will depend on how the colours change. All UV Test Strips and labels will come with a comparative chart. With this chart, each tested UV strip or label can be correlated to the millijoule range of UV energy that each colour pattern represents.
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