The UV Lamp Engineers at Alpha-Cure have prepared some useful tips to help you to increase the life of your lamps;
To ensure that we continue to provide the best possible service to all customers; please read this information, as it will help you to maximise the life length of your Alpha-Cure lamps.
Avoid Excessive Starts
When a lamp is first started, the internal pressure is low. The electrodes during this time are emitting poorly, throwing or spitting off tungsten into the lamp. This causes points of contamination which can result in premature failure of the lamp.
Lamps should typically be started at a high power to reduce the length of time they are in the starting mode. Excessive starts cause premature darkening of the ends, this will result in a drop in output as the darkening eventually migrates into the body of the lamp.
Advice: Whenever possible, gather all of the work to be done, start the lamp and perform all of the work that can be done during this time. Remember to avoid stopping and starting the lamps.
Check Lamp, Reflectors and Cooling System
Curing often fails due to poor lamp and system maintenance. It is rarely due to problems with the lamp itself. Regular ‘preventative maintenance' will reduce the chance of lamp failure and system breakdown. Below are a few simple steps which we recommend should be followed regularly, ideally after every 500 hours of operation, to increase the operating lifetime of your Alpha-Cure lamp and curing system.
Clean the lamp regularly to remove any residue which can cause devitrification. Lamps should always be handled using gloves and cleaned with isopropanol.
Check to see that your reflectors are clean and free of distortion from the lamp's radiated heat. Periodic cleaning and/or replacement of reflectors may be necessary to maintain maximum efficiency of both the lamp and equipment. Accumulated dirt on the blower blades blocks air flow and reduces cooling. Lamps running too hot can sag or expand causing a drop in the running voltage and wattage and a reduction in output.
Cleaning the blades improves cooling which can discourage a lamp from sagging. Sometimes lamps sag unnoticeably, so it is always a good idea to rotate them periodically. Clean the power supply and system air filters which may be clogged with dust. Check any flexible ducting for holes or splits which may reduce extraction and cooling. Clean the system (i.e. chassis and shutter).
Advice: Regular maintenance of the lamp and reflectors is highly recommended, clean them as often as possible and replace when necessary. Rotate the lamp when you clean or replace your reflector.
Install Lamps with Care
To lengthen a lamps life, follow the O.E.M.'s installation instructions carefully. For example, avoid finger oil on the lamp body by using a paper towel or gloves. The use of an alcohol wipe is also recommended to assure clean surfaces.
It is important to insure that the electrical connections are tight and not corroded.
In the case with spring loaded sockets (such as Hanovia type), it is imperative that the sockets are in good shape with proper spring tension and clean contact surfaces.
Lamps that are held rigid in their mounts should not be held so tight as to restrict movement as the reflectors expand, contract and warp during operation. More attention may be needed for lamps that do not have leads for their electrical connection.
With lamps in which the electrical connection is made through the mounting clamp, this area should be tight and clean. In this case, most manufacturers accommodate some flexibility with the mount. Obviously, spring clip type mounts must have good tension. Most lamps in this category are small, exposure type, and expansion is not as much of a factor.
Advice: Follow the OEM's installation instructions and ensure that the lamp is fitted correctly. Use gloves to or a paper towel to avoid putting any finger oil on the lamps.
We hope that this information is of use to you, and your customers, and will help you to maximise the use of your Alpha-Cure lamps. Please do contact us, if we can be of any further assistance.