An ultraviolet (UV) curing lamp is used by many manufacturers to cure, or harden, polymerized compounds, but finding the right UV curing lamp can be a difficult task. A UV curing lamp needs to have a long bulb life or light-emitting diode (LED) life to keep the lamp’s operating costs down and to be more convenient to use. A lamp with intensity adjustment will ensure that both weak and strong polymerized compounds receive appropriate intensity for curing. Consistent intensity is just as important as the intensity adjustment, because this will ensure that the entire compound is evenly exposed to UV light. The control mechanism has to be easy to use, or some compounds will be overexposed to UV light, creating devastating reactions.
Every UV curing lamp uses either a bulb or LED to expose the compound to light. In manufacturing settings, this light will be on for long periods of time, so the life should be at least 10,000 hours, though they are available in ranges up to 50,000 hours. This reduces costs, because fewer supplies will be needed, and using the lamp will be more convenient, because operators will spend less time replacing the light source. LEDs usually have better lives than bulbs but also tend to cost a bit more.
A UV curing lamp is used to cure polymerized compounds, but each compound will be different. Applying the same UV intensity to each compound will be inefficient, because weak compounds will react poorly and strong compounds will not be fully cured. A lamp with an intensity adjustment tool will allow the operator to adjust the UV light’s strength, so it can perfectly cure the compound.
Along with the ability to adjust the UV light’s strength, the best UV curing lamp should offer consistent exposure. Inconsistent exposure will leave some areas uncured, and the areas that are cured will have to be exposed to more UV light to cure the entire compound. This is inefficient and leads to poor results. Only consistent lamps should be used for manufacturing.
A simple control device should be used with the UV curing lamp to ensure that compounds are only in the lamp for a set amount of time, so they do not over-cure. Foot switches, which allow the operator to push the switch to start the cure and release it to stop the cure, are commonly available. There also are more advanced control panels that allow operators to set the time in precise increments. If the control panel is difficult to understand, then this can lead to overexposure, which can ruin the compound.