Who are we?
TCS Technologies is a USA based specialty lamp
manufacturer producing over 6000 replacement lamps to fit most UV
curing systems. Since 1979, we have been manufacturing the highest
quality UV curing lamps built to match, and often exceed OEM
TCS Technologies is committed to being the best
supplier in the UV industry providing professional and global service.
Equipped with modern facilities and advanced technology, we can provide
all types of UV curing, screen exposure, inkjet and digital flatbed
What can we offer you?
We can save you money! Our UV curing lamps provide
long service life and consistent UV output. With TCS Technologies, you
are dealing directly with the lamp manufacturer for a more
cost-effective way to purchase lamps.
Can you private label lamps?
Absolutely, for a one-time printing die charge, we
can print your name and lamp part number on any of our products.
How long should my UV inkjet lamp last?
UV inkjet lamp (bulb) life depends on many factors
including number of starts, thermal operating conditions, power rating,
additives and proper handling. Simply defined, it is the hours the lamp
produces enough UV energy to properly cure the ink within the available
The initial 200 to 250 hours of operation (idol time plus active print
time), the UV output is stable. Between 250 and 450 operation hours,
output decreases, eventually resulting in insufficient UV curing
energy. Some inkjet printers have the ability to change lamp
power settings. Switching to medium or high power increases UV output,
is also increased. There may be a fine balance between acceptable UV
output and heat generation. Another option is to maintain heat loading
by slowing print speed while the UV lamp is at low power. This option
is mostly available with standard mercury filled lamps. Some lamps are
additive filled. They produce higher levels of UV; however, they do not
last as long and normally cannot be run at low power.
Each lamp startup reduces UV lamp life. Adjust printing schedule to
keep lamp starts to a minimum. The fact that the lamp lights is
not an indication of proper UV output. Most UV lamps will continue to
operate long after their useful life has expired. Under normal
conditions, the vast majority of TCS inkjet lamps will last 600 hours.
How long should my standard (non-inkjet)
As is the case with digital
inkjet lamps, life depends on many factors including number of starts,
thermal operating conditions, power rating and proper handling. Under
normal conditions, the vast majority of TCS Technologies lamps will
provide at least 1000 hours of useful life. In the unlikely event of
failure during the first 100 hours, 100% credit will be given. Between
100 hours and 1000 hours, pro-rata credit will be given based on the
number of lamp hours. For example, a lamp which fails after 500 hours
would result in 50% credit. Consult factory for exact warranty details
What are the recommended running
temperatures for a UV curing lamp?
The area between the tips of the electrodes,
within the main lamp body, should be maintained at an operating
temperature of 600 - 800 degrees C. The area consisting of the metal
foil and end fitting should be maintained at a temperature of less than
250 degrees C. If the lamp has a lead-out wire, the wire must be
maintained at a temperature of less than 200 degrees C. Lamps running
too hot can expand and or sag and will cause short lamp life.
Overcooling can cause just as many problems as overheating. Lamps must
have a minimum wall temperature in excess of 357O degrees
C, the boiling point of mercury. Below this temperature, mercury
condenses, lamp voltage along with UV output drops. In extreme cases,
the inner lamp wall becomes plated with a mirror like effect from the
The ends of my lamps are discolored, what
Avoid excessive starts. Upon start up, the
internal lamp pressure is low. During this time the lamp electrodes
literally sputter off tungsten and this is deposited on the inside of
the tube. Always start lamps in high power to shorten warm up time.
Excessive starts cause premature darkening and drop in UV output. Limit
your cure area to 3 inches less than the lamp arc length to insure
highest UV output. For example, a 13 inch arc lamp should be used to
cure a 10 inch print area.
Natural solarization due to age, UV level and high
temperatures can cause blackening.
Lamps operating at excessive lamp current. Some
equipment manufacturers utilize power supplies that employ low voltage
high current lamps. Lamps operating in excess of 13 amps have greater
electrode blackening and generally shorter lamp life. Keeping lamp
current between 6 and 11 amps will significantly increase lamp life.
Finally, poor thermal conditions such as lamp
overheating or overcooling results in lamp blackening.
My coating or ink will not cure.
Confirm that the dryer reflectors are clean and
free of distortion.
Be sure the lamp is not covered with spray powder,
fingerprints, reflector material or other contaminants.
Make sure UV lamp is up to full power. Consult TCS Technologies for specifics.
Confirm that lamp shutters are opening properly.
Many UV dryers use mechanical shutters to block light and heat in case
of parts stoppage. Check to be sure shutters are opening fully.
Verify the number of operating hours that the lamp
has run. If we are speaking of a standard UV curing lamp, they
generally have an energy output of about 75% of their original
specification after 1000 hours. If the lamp has over 1000 hours of use,
it may not generate enough ultraviolet energy to cure your application.
UV inkjet lamps have a shorter life. Depending on the inkjet lamp,
useful life ranges between 400 and 700 hours.
How do I properly dispose of a lamp?
Ultraviolet curing lamps
contain mercury that is considered a hazardous waste. Do not discard
these lamps in the trash. Disposal must be made in accordance with
local, state and federal regulations. Contact your local hazardous
waste management authority for proper recycling / disposal
Part of our program as a UV lamp manufacturer, TCS Technologies
encourages both recycling and reclaiming programs for all our
lamps. Simply, package your UV lamps safely and send them to TCS
Technologies. We will properly dispose of these materials at no
Can you supply a lamp even if we do not know
the part number?
TCS Technologies manufactures lamps for all makes
of curing systems. We can match lamp specifications from an original
operating sample. Normally this only takes a few days between receiving
the lamp and providing a replacement.
Can you retrofit a higher power lamp into
It depends. Power supplies and UV lamps are
normally matched to provide peak performance. Usually, upgrading would
require both the lamp and power supply to be replaced, along with
modifications to the lamp head to provide additional cooling. Please
contact our engineering department for advice.
How do I clean my UV lamp?
Use a lint free cloth with Windex or Simple Green
to clean. Do not waste your money on special UV lamp cleaners as they
have dubious value! If solvents are permitted, use isopropyl alcohol.
For extreme cases, use a mild abrasive such as Soft Scrub to clean the
UV Lamp. Be sure to rinse any residue off the glass before reinstalling
lamp. Always allow lamp to cool and disconnect all power prior to any
If your UV dryer uses a clear quartz filter plate, use the same
cleaning method to remove dust and ink mist. Remember to remove all
fingerprints prior to resuming operation.
Is my lamp cooling adequate?
Proper UV lamp cooling is
crucial for efficient UV curing. Improperly cooled lamps are a major
cause of premature bulb failure. Unfortunately, one looks at lamp
cooling after a problem surfaces. By this time the horse is out of the
barn and little can be done to salvage the particular lamp. We can
break this down into two areas:
Undercooling (overheating)—left unchecked, UV lamp temperature can easily
soar to 1,200+oF. Evidence of overheating includes: Distorted (enlarged or bowed)
lamp tubing, overheated foil seals, burned lead wires and discolored
lamp (metal) end fittings.
Overcooling---many UV systems have the ability to reduce lamp
power to an idle mode to conserve energy. Excessive cooling in this
mode will cause loss of power, mercury will condense and electrodes
will sputter, depositing metal on the bulb surface turning lamp ends
silver-black. To avoid this terminal condition, lamp cooling must be
appropriately reduced to maintain thermal equilibrium. Lamps idled at 120 watts per inch or lower for
excessive time will cause excessive current and voltage spikes
resulting in electrode failure. Unfortunately
once lamp has sputtered from overcooling it will always have
compromised curing ability.
How do I measure UV lamp voltage?
Measuring UV lamp operating voltage can be
extremely helpful when troubleshooting curing issues. One must exercise
extreme caution while measuring voltage. Lethal voltages are involved
with UV power supplies. It is always best to have a trained
professional electrician perform any measurements. There are means to
indirectly measure lamp voltage via a potential transformer. For
reference we have listed the two most popular UV lamp circuits below:
choke and ballast/transformer. These are provided for guidance and are
by no means a substitute for a trained electrician.
Have additional questions.
Dealing with TCS Technologies is easy. We are
no-pressure, open and honest in our business dealings. There is no
minimum order and we ship worldwide. We are proud of our products,
proud we offer American-made ultraviolet lamps that compete with
offshore bulbs. Once you try our UV curing lamps, you will soon
discover the quality and value we offer.
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