Ensuring Optimal Adhesive UV Curing: Picking the Right Lamp is Key

Posted on 6/17/2020 7:50:58 AM By ASC

Two lamps that are primarily used in UV curing take different approaches and use opposing technologies. While one, the newer narrow spectrum LED Lamp, may seem to have benefits over the veteran broad spectrum Mercury Arc Lamp in areas like energy consumption and costs, operational speed and degradation of intensity, choosing which to use is not just about looking at the benefits and deciding to opt for the new or go with the old. The choice has to be based on what best matches the adhesive being used.

Simply swapping lamps could result in poor bonds or, at best, less than optimal ones. For a strong and durable bond there must be a perfect match between it and the spectral output of the curing lamp, as well as the dose it delivers based on a combination of light intensity provided and length of exposure.

The Mercury Arc Lamp has a bulb with an operational life of 2,000 hours and a tendency to lose light intensity over time.  It also has a five minute warm-up time and a high operating temperature which means it consumes more energy, and there’s also the problem of strict regulations regarding the use of mercury. But while all these attributes which may seem to be negatives, it’s not as simple as all that.

Many adhesives require the broad spectrum light of the Mercury Arc Lamp to cure effectively and won’t produce an optimal bond when put under LED light. This is what makes the Mercury lamp, after decades of being the only UV lamp used for curing, still the most predominant type used.

This is in spite of the fact that the newer LED Lamp has an operational life of 20,000 hours, does not have a bulb, and has no degradation of light intensity. Its cooler light leads to a low operating temperature with no warm up time required, and the energy consumption is therefore much lower, so increasing its electrical efficiency and reducing its operating costs.

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