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Written by: Danielle Burke on May 11th, 2017
UV LED curing systems offer many advantages when compared with traditional UV lamps such as reduced power consumption, instant on and off, reduced maintenance and improved stability over time. This post will provide an overview of some of these advantages of UV LED curing systems.
UV LED lamps have low power consumption, normally hundreds of watts per hour. Mercury vapour lamps in comparison have high power consumption, normally thousands of watts per hour. The reduction in electrical power used to power a UV LED system, when compared to an equivalent mercury lamp, can be substantial. Most inkjet applications can achieve a large reduction in the power required to drive the printer’s UV system.
UV LED lamps can be switched on and off instantly. In comparison, mercury lamps typically need a long warm-up and cool down time before re-lighting. In practice, this means that shuttering systems are used or the lamps are left on, running at lower power levels when otherwise unused. Such low-power use cuts into the overall lifetime of the mercury lamp while lamps in standby can still use substantial quantities of electrical power during the course of a year. In this case, energy is needlessly wasted. UV LEDs therefore have a substantial design advantage because shuttering systems are not required. Furthermore, the ability to run the UV LED system on an “as needed” basis reduces the device’s overall duty cycle and can substantially extend the practical lifetime of the lamp.
In traditional UV lamps operators cannot be near the UV curing systems as they would be exposed to potentially dangerous wavelengths. As a result these traditional systems often need to be shielded so that no operator can see or touch the enclosure while the lamp is in operation. This can affect the size and shape of the system. LEDs emit no harmful UVC and don’t contain any mercury. This makes LED based systems more environmentally friendly than traditional systems.
On any UV LED system residue may build up on the exit window over time. ProPhotonix offers a field replaceable window in its systems. This innovative design reduces downtime and ensures maximum performance throughout the lifetime of the lamp. The window can be easily replaced by non-technical personnel and does not require any special tools. Many traditional technologies need frequent maintenance. This may include exit window cleaning, periodic replacement of UV bulbs, replacing reflectors and the cleaning of filters. In comparison UV LED systems do not need as much maintenance as the exit window can be easily replaced and there are no bulbs to be replaced.
In UV LED systems there is approximately 10% decrease in light output after 20,000 working hours. For traditional UV technologies the decrease can be up to 50% after just 3,000 working hours. With UV LED systems there are no bulbs to replace and no technical maintenance required making the system longer lasting and more reliable.
UV LED curing systems offer many advantages. For more information on advantages of UV LED Curing Systems, download our whitepaper.