5 Reasons Why Pellet Amalgam Germicidal Lamp Technology Is Far Superior To Spot Amalgam Technology  

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  1. Higher UVC Output
  2. Increased UVC Efficiency
  3. Universal Mounting (Horizontal, Diagonal or Vertical – No Problem)
  4. Stable Output in Extreme Ambient Environments
  5. Low Mercury Environmental Friendly Operation

Both spot and pellet amalgam low pressure germicidal lamps have virtually the same UVC output at the 100% power level.  However, at reduced power levels:

  • The pellet amalgam lamp provides a 15% higher output at 80% power level.
  • The pellet amalgam lamp provides a 30% higher output at 60% power level.
  • The reduced power / higher output relationship maintains itself throughout the useful life (16,000 hrs.) of the lamps.

The efficiency of both the spot and pellet lamps are about the same at the 100% power level.  At reduced powers levels:

  • The pellet amalgam lamp is 7% more efficient at the 80% power level and 5% more efficient at the 60% power level than it is mathematically expected from the respective power level settings.
  • The spot amalgam lamp is 6% less efficient at the 80% power level and 13% less efficient at the 60% power level than it is mathematically expected from the respective power level settings.

Extreme ambient temperature conditions and/or high current/high wattage (greater than 300 watts in T6 configuration) operated amalgam lamp designs will lead to a very high glass wall temperature, which results in “spot” distortion and output instability in spot amalgam lamps.  LightSources patented pellet amalgam technology locates the low mercury amalgam pellet in the coldest spot possible which is behind the filament and outside the plasma arc stream.  The difference results in the pellet amalgam lamp maintaining output stability regardless of lamp orientation (horizontal, diagonal or vertical) or high ambient temperature conditions —- not possible with spot amalgam technology!

Finally, pellet amalgam germicidal lamps incorporate a “measured low dose” mercury pellet, that when compared to liquid mercury dosed spot amalgam lamps, is significantly more environmentally friendly and ecology “green”.

LightSources, together with our affiliated companies, represent the foremost high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today.  LCD Lighting, our leading affiliate in fluorescent lamps has designed and manufactured thousands of custom fluorescent lamps for virtually every type of OEM lighting application.  Contact us to learn more about our exclusive fluorescent light technology.

Tips on How Ultraviolet Specialty Fluorescent and Germicidal Low-Pressure Gas Discharge Lamps Work  

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Many custom designed fluorescent and germicidal lamps are considered special.  Beneath the thin layer of phosphor on fluorescent lamps, there are no appreciable differences in the anatomy of these two types of lamps. The basis of operation is the excitation of mercury atoms and the extraction and use of the ultraviolet photons.

When the lamp starts, mercury atoms are excited by collisions with electrons which are “boiled” off coated tungsten coils (electrodes) at the ends of the lamp. Since the lamp contains a trace of mercury vapor along with a rare gas (either pure or as a mixture), the emitted electrons collide with mercury atoms exciting them. The excited atoms will eventually emit photons. The colliding electrons energies must be “tuned” by adjusting the gas composition and/or pressure to assure just enough energy to do the job but not so much as to ionize the Mercury. The amount of mercury vapor must also be controlled since either too much or too little will result in a loss of visible light or UV output.

In both fluorescent and germicidal lamps, the ultraviolet radiation emitted by the excited mercury atom does all the work. In fluorescent lamps and type “L” germicidal lamps (made with quartz that blocks 185nm) it is the 254nm photon that is critical.  For the purposes of ozone production and/or TOC reduction, the emission of the 185nm photon comes into play. The 185nm wavelength is a very energetic line produced by all low-pressure mercury lamps, but “blocked” by the doped quartz germicidal “L” glass or the phosphor coated soda lime glass body of the fluorescent lamp.  Making the germicidal lamp body out of pure “VH” glass will allow the 185nm radiation to reach outside of the lamp.

The “specialness” of low-pressure gas discharge lamps is largely in the gas pressure and gas composition to achieve the desired specialty lamp performance characteristics (lamp diameter, operating current, temperature, desired power level, uv/light output, color, etc.)  Gas pressures vary depending on lamp diameter; lower gas pressures for large diameter lamps and higher gas pressure for smaller diameter lamps. Gas composition also varies for changes in diameter and power level.

For two lamps of exactly the same design and operating current differing only in length, it is the longer of the two lamps that would be the most efficient.  Since the power lost at the ends is dependant only on current and electrode design, longer lamps have less power loss at the ends. Overall lamp geometry (length, diameter, even bent lamps) affects lamp starting and operating voltage.

Specialty low-pressure gas discharge lamps can be designed to meet a variety of visible light and non-visible UV applications.  Performance criteria requirements are determined by using a combination of lamp material, lamp processing schedules and design parameters to result in the “special” lamp for that unique application.

LightSources and our affiliated companies represent the leading high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today.  Our products are used world-wide in a multitude of applications and industries such as our UV germicidal lamps that offer patent-protected, OEM-oriented solutions.  Please contact us to learn more about our extensive selection of lamps.

Tips to Choosing Magnetic, Electronic Ballast Fluorescent, Germicidal Lamp for Industry, Application  

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The long history of fluorescent lamps has resulted in an equally long ballast industry history.  Fluorescent and germicidal lamps may operate on both magnetic and electronic ballast types but what are the differences and which ballast type is the better choice?

For many years, the magnetic ballast fluorescent lamp was the standard. Magnetic ballast fluorescent lamps contain either transformers or autotransformers that generate sufficient open circuit voltage to start the lamp. They are designed with high internal impedances that limit lamp current. Some ballasts may embody extra windings to heat the lamp electrodes. While actual designs differ, the internal construction is generally composed of copper coils on cores made out of stacked iron lamiae. The entire assembly is potted in a steel case filled with pitch. The resistance of the copper wire and power loss in the magnetic circuit limit the electrical efficiency of the lamp-ballast system.  In many regions, the magnetic ballast is being phased out by legislation due to inherent inefficiency.

More recently, research has shown that low-pressure mercury-vapor lamps operate more efficiently at high frequency. For example, a lamp operated at 60 Hz extinguishes once per cycle.  During this off time, the cloud of electrons that surrounds the anodes dissipates and must be replaced for the next cycle. This contributes to energy loss in the lamp. Lamps operated at high frequency stay conductive throughout the operating cycle eliminating the anode loss. Modern electronic ballasts operate at frequencies of tens or hundreds of Kilohertz, accommodating lamps from sub-miniature (2mm-5mm) to large-diameter (6mm-38mm). The electronic ballast is primarily a high frequency power supply capable of providing the required lamp power. There is included in the circuitry either a capacitor or a small inductor that sets the effective impedance of the power supply: this is the actual ballast.  Electronic ballasts may have electrical efficiencies of up to 95%, far outperforming the magnetic ballast.  Many electronic ballast types have special features that enable the user to program a soft lamp start, shut down if a lamp shows a fault (open circuit or ground fault) and/or turn off at end of lamp life.

Electronic ballasts are sometimes difficult to match to lamps since electronic ballast fluorescent lamps are rated on what is essentially an “equivalent light output” basis when compared to operating on the older magnetic ballast. For example, magnetic ballast operating a lamp at 425mA may operate the same lamp at 350mA on a replacement electronic ballast (to obtain the same light output).  This situation is acceptable for general lighting since the electronic ballast fluorescent lamp becomes more efficient resulting in power reduction.  This may not work for germicidal lamps that often need the full power to produce the rated UV output. The situation is even more complicated (worse) with so-called high output ballasts.

LightSources, together with our affiliated companies, represent the foremost high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today.  LCD Lighting, our leading affiliate in fluorescent lamps has designed and manufactured thousands of custom fluorescent lamps for virtually every type of OEM lighting application. Contact us to learn more about our exclusive fluorescent light technology.

Tips to Choosing Fluorescent Lamp Phosphor Types: Determine Output, Coatings, Processes, Performance

Fluorescent lamp phosphor types are best specified by the desired output characteristics of the lamp rather than by the name brand (manufacturer or trade name) of the phosphor.

There are many different fluorescent lamp phosphor types available. Each phosphor has its own output characteristics and set of advantages and disadvantages in coatings and lamp processes. Some more commonly known phosphor types are Tri-band, Halo phosphate and Full-spectrum phosphors.

Desired fluorescent lamp output characteristics may include: color chromaticity (x,y), lumen output, color rendering index (CRI), Kelvin temperature, and fluorescent lamp output by wavelength. Lamp and phosphor engineers can take the combination of specified performance characteristics and formulate phosphor blends to match the customer’s application requirements.

In some instances, the phosphor may be specified by the chemical name, for example, yttrium oxide which is commonly known as “tri-band red”. This is a fairly specific method to call out a particular phosphor.  However, the same phosphor chemical may be processed differently to produce slightly different output. The spectral output curve may be altered or the overall intensity may vary due to grain size.   This is not unlike the commonly known practice of generic pharmaceuticals!

Some phosphors are produced to match the process characteristics of the lamp manufacturers.  For example, fluorescent lamps produced for specific market segments will often make use of specific phosphor types (rather than brands) and formulations to produce finely-tuned products for those specific applications.   In these cases, the phosphor vendor’s part number(s), descriptions and/or spectral performance provide the most accurate description of the phosphor to ensure lamps with the same repeatable characteristics for phosphor output and maintenance can be produced.

There are other instances where slightly different phosphor types are used, but they have the same overall function. For example, Barium Magnesium Aluminate (BAM) and Strontium calcium barium chlorophosphate (SCAP) are used as Tri-band blue components in many applications.  Often, the same phosphor type may be available from different manufacturers who may use specific brand or trade names yet the actual phosphor component may be different!

Lamp manufacturers undergo rigorous qualification processes to ensure that the phosphors of the particular type are among the best available.  It is the best approach for the customer to specify the lamp output and/or performance requirements and let the lamp engineers handle the phosphor and lamp engineering details!

LightSources, together with our affiliated companies, represent the foremost high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today.  LCD Lighting, our leading affiliate in fluorescent lamps has designed and manufactured thousands of custom fluorescent lamps for virtually every type of OEM lighting application.  Contact us to learn more about our exclusive fluorescent light technology.

Choosing Between Halo and Triband Phosphors: Lumens Per Watt, Maintenance, Efficiency Regulations    

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Each phosphor category has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that make them unique for a variety of application needs.  Here are some things to consider when choosing between halo and triband phosphors. Tri-band phosphors:  Examples include: Yttrium-oxide: Eu (red); Lanthanum-phosphate: CeTb (green); Strontium-calcium-barium-chlorophosphate: Eu (blue) and others. The 3 types are blended to produce various shades of white (denoted by degrees Kelvin i.e., 3000K, 4100K, 6500K, etc.).Tri-band lumen output (lumens per watt) and lumen maintenance is the highest available for any given phosphor color temperature (°K).  Color rendering indices (CRI) are usually 80 to 90.

Advantages: high efficiency (lumens per watt), low depreciation, especially under high load conditions (high current or small diameter tubing), very good color rendering, well matched to LCD displays.

Disadvantages: high cost, non-continuous spectra, the red and green phosphors have “line” spectra, color rendering is not as good as “full spectrum” types.

Best Used For: LCD backlighting, sign lighting, detail lighting, machine vision, cinematography, display lighting, etc.  Situations required by law to meet triband phosphors efficiency regulations such as EPACT for common sizes.

Halo phosphate phosphors – The general formulation is Calcium-Halo phosphate: SbMn (commonly known as: warm white, cool white, daylight, etc.). Different formulations are used to achieve different color targets. The phosphors are used as single components or may be blended with each other or full spectrum types. The lumen output and maintenance is fairly high, although it drops off as the target color is bluer, as in Daylight (5500°K). The CRI for basic halo phosphors is between 50-75.

Advantages: low cost, good lumen efficiency, continuous spectrum

Disadvantages: low color rendering particularly in the red region of the spectrum, high depreciation under high loading, efficiency not as good as tri-bands, outlawed in general applications for common sizes by efficiency regulations such as EPACT.

Best Used For:  General home and office lighting (where allowed by Law) and where color rendition is not critical, some machine vision applications, some special task applications

Full Spectrum Phosphors – Examples include Strontium-magnesium-orthophosphate: Sn (orange), Barium-Pyrophosphate: Ti (blue-white) and others are blended to form various shades of white. These can also be blended with halo phosphors to improve the CRI.  The output (LPW) is relatively low, but the CRI is usually 80-99 with a continuous spectrum. The lumen maintenance is somewhat low.

Advantages: can be blended for excellent color rendering near 100 CRI, continuous spectrum, exempt from efficiency regulations such as EPACT, usually lower cost than tri-band types.

Disadvantages:  low lumen output, high depreciation, higher cost than halo phosphate phosphors.

Best Used For: Color matching – paint, textiles, cinema, photography, microscopes, product displays.

This information should be helpful when choosing between halo and triband phosphors. Note that there is many other phosphor types not discussed here ranging from the UVB (285-320nm) to the infra-red (700 – 800nm) region of the spectrum.  These phosphors are used for very special fluorescent applications where more saturated colors are required.

LightSources, together with our affiliated companies, represent the foremost high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today.  LCD Lighting, our leading affiliate in fluorescent lamps has designed and manufactured thousands of custom fluorescent lamps for virtually every type of OEM lighting application.  Contact us to learn more about our exclusive fluorescent light technology.

Facts about UV, Ultraviolet Light in Industry and Precautions for Indoor Tanning Prolonged Exposure    

UV or Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light (visible light transmits in the 400 – 780nm range) but longer than X-rays (X-ray is in the range 0.1 to 10nm range).  The entire UV spectral region is defined from 10 to 400nm.  The name itself signifies that energy in this region of the spectrum is transmitted at frequencies higher than our human eyes can see and the visible light portion that is emitted is the color violet, hence, ultraviolet!

Like many other things that exist in our world, it is often the silent, invisible and odorless “things” that can be an excellent force for good, but if misapplied, like with Indoor Tanning Prolonged Exposure, can be rather dangerous.  So, although ultraviolet light or ultraviolet radiation is invisible to the human eye, precautions must be taken to handle and apply as directed.  Most of us are aware of the effects of certain wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation UV-A (320-400nm) and UV-B (280-320nm) through the common summer phenomena of sunburn.  While the symptoms of sunburn are generally short-term, direct exposure of the human skin and human eyes to certain regions of the UV spectrum, such as the UVC region (100-280nm range), can be quite damaging to human tissue.

Much has been written about the use of ultraviolet light in industry and ultraviolet radiation in a variety of applications.  In the world of indoor/sunbed tanning, indoor tanning prolonged exposure to UV-A and UV-B radiation generated by the lamp source stimulate the production of melanin (resulting in a long-lasting suntan) and vitamin D (maintains our calcium metabolism).  Ultraviolet light in industry, specifically UV-C radiation (100 – 280nm), is becoming an ever-expanding resource in the air and water disinfection markets.  Everything from HVAC air ducts, drinking water, wastewater, ultra-pure process water, TOC reduction, curing of UV activated inks, etc. utilize UVC radiation to solve a real need or problem. Moreover, and now UV-C is even used during the transport of produce in sealed containers to keep it fresh longer!

In addition to the few examples above, many other applications utilize the great potential of ultraviolet radiation such as optical sensors and instrumentation (230-400nm), bar-coding and label tracking (120-365nm), forensic analysis and drug detection (250-30nm), protein analysis and DNA sequencing (270-300nm), medical imaging (280-400nm), curing of polymers and inks (300-365nm) and light therapy (300-365nm).  Even those infamous backyard bug-zappers that we use in the summertime utilize UV to attract insects (350-370nm) so they can be exterminated!

LightSources, together with our affiliated companies, represent the foremost high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today.  LCD Lighting, our leading affiliate in fluorescent lamps has designed and manufactured thousands of custom fluorescent lamps for virtually every type of OEM lighting application.  Contact us to learn more about our exclusive fluorescent light technology.

  Tips to Maintain Tanning Bed, Booth Lamp Performance: Proper Seating, Cleaning, Starter, Instability      

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Proper seating of lamps in their sockets is vital!  Poor seating can lead to poor electrical contact between lamp and socket and can significantly shorten the life of any lamp.  This will also cause burned lamp ends and melted sockets.  Replacing any socket that appears loose or worn is an easy way to maintain tanning lamp performance.

Most tanning lamps are used in what is known as a preheat circuit.  These systems use a starter to get the lamps to turn on.  It is important to replace the existing tanning bed lamp starter with every lamp or at least every other lamp change in order to maintain tanning lamp performance.  An old worn out $2 starter can dramatically shorten the life of a lamp or destroy a good lamp worth many dollars more than the cheap starter!  If lamps appear to be glowing on the ends only and do not start the problem is likely a failed tanning bed lamp starter.  Replace the starter immediately to avoid damaging the lamp or causing premature end darkening.  The most common cause of early lamp failure or short life in tanning lamps are old improper functioning starters

Minor instabilities in new lamps such as “snaking” or “swirling” can be corrected by turning the lamps on and off several times after installation.  This is usually not a lamp defect but a mercury instability issue caused during shipping and is normally only seen on the first few starters of new lamps.Clean lamps can improve UV output by as much as 10%!  Therefore, make sure you wipe your lamps down with a damp alcohol soaked cloth on a regular basis (don’t use solvents!).

An acrylic that is old and solarized can filter out well over 10% of the UVA (320nm – 400nm) that is trying to get through, and significantly more in the UVB (290nm – 320nm) region!  Using your UV meter, check lamp output with, and then without, the acrylic sheet in place.  Note any significant changes over time and replace acrylics as recommended by the manufacturer.    A bad or aged acrylic can make good lamps perform very poorly

Cooling is everything in a tanning bed.  Always be sure the cooling fans in the tanning device are working properly.  Dirty air filters or broken fans can cause the lamps to operate at elevated temperatures causing the lamps to drop as much as 30% below their optimum intensity.  High room temperatures caused by poor air conditioning can also cause the same problems.

LightSources, together with our affiliated companies, represent the foremost high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today.  LCD Lighting, our leading affiliate in fluorescent lamps has designed and manufactured thousands of custom fluorescent lamps for virtually every type of OEM lighting application.  Contact us to learn more about our exclusive fluorescent light technology.

    Tips to VHO Indoor Tanning Industry Lamps: Optimize Output and Cooling for Maximum UVA, UVB Output

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In general, “VHO” (160W to 220W) tanning lamps and other lamps in this category may exhibit noticeable differences from other types of lamps with which you may have experience.  In order to help you better understand VHO tanning lamps we offer the following technical information.

Electrode Assemblies:

VHO tanning lamps use custom electrode assemblies, which have been designed and manufactured specifically for the tanning industry.  These electrodes are made for operation at up to 2.0 amperes.  In addition, they are designed and tested to withstand the constant on and off cycling typical of indoor tanning industry equipment.  Normal end-blackening seen during lamp aging can be greatly reduced through the use of special anode/filament combinations.

Most VHO lamps employ large cooling chambers behind the lamp electrodes resulting in a dark area behind the filament.  Some salon operators have perceived the resulting dark areas near the lamp bases to be outward signs of some lamp defect; this is not the case!  The larger cooling chambers behind the lamp electrodes are actually there to enhance lamp operation.  Without them, it is very difficult to properly cool the heavily loaded lamps to optimize UVA and UVB output.

Lamp operation:

During normal operation, VHO lamps produce a tremendous amount of heat.  If not properly cooled it is nearly impossible for any VHO lamp to reach its maximum ultraviolet output intensity.  By producing 160W – 220W lamps with a large cooling zone behind the filaments the VHO lamps can reach their optimum operating temperature and optimize UVA and UVB output intensity with minimal cooling air flow.

Tanning customers may also see what they perceive as visual color variations, especially in new lamps.  This is caused during the lamps normal “break in” period while the lamps are stabilizing the mercury vapor pressure.  This variation will normally go away after one or two hours of lamp operation.  Customers should not relate visible brightness to UV output intensity.  In some circumstances it may take as much as 10 hours or more to reach full lamp stability.  Generally speaking the UVA and UVB intensity of VHO lamps will actually increase after the first few hours of operation.  Once the lamps have fully stabilized the VHO tanning lamps will remain stable in output intensity from session to session unless they are removed from the tanning bed or booth and positioned in a different orientation then they were in when installed in the tanning bed or booth.

LightSources, together with our affiliated companies, represent the foremost high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today.  LCD Lighting, our leading affiliate in fluorescent lamps has designed and manufactured thousands of custom fluorescent lamps for virtually every type of OEM lighting application. Contact us to learn more about our exclusive fluorescent light technology.

Indoor Tanning Industry FDA Requirement Facts: OEM or Compatible Replacement Lamps for Booths, Beds

There are two classifications when looking for Indoor Tanning replacement lamps: OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or replacement lamps.  Equipment manufacturers are responsible for the selection and defining of the recommended exposure schedules based on the original lamps installed it the indoor tanning device.  The name and model of the original lamp will be identified on the tanning bed or booth label as required by the FDA.  Replacement lamps can be either the original lamp or a lamp that is listed to be FDA equivalent to the original lamp.  The FDA has strict guidelines for the equipment and lamp manufacturers to follow in order to regulate the safety of the tanning equipment.

In simple terms the current FDA guidelines allow the indoor tanning replacement lamps to be +/- 10% of the strength of the original OEM lamp model.  This is based on a calculation determined by the FDA which focuses primarily on the erythema value of the lamp or the ability of the tanning lamp to cause sunburn.

If the owner of a tanning bed or booth chooses to purchase lamps that are not the OEM models it is the responsibility of the equipment/salon owner to be sure that the replacement lamps are listed as FDA compatible Indoor Tanning Lamps to the OEM model.  The compatibility claim is made by the lamp manufacturer by certifying that the replacement lamp model has been measured against the OEM model under specific conditions and reported to the FDA that the replacement lamp is within + / – 10% of the OEM lamp UVA and UVB strength.  The lamp manufacturer then supplies a compatibility sheet or user sheet with the replacement lamp model stating that the product has been certified.

It is the responsibility of the owner of the equipment to maintain the current FDA compatible indoor tanning lamps sheets for the replacement lamps.  In the event that the owner of the equipment chooses to purchase and use lamps that are not certified as compatible, the owner of the equipment becomes completely responsible for any risks or injuries that can happen during the use of the tanning bed or booth.  It is recommended never to purchase lamps for your tanning equipment where the manufacturer is not willing to supply a compatibility sheet for the replacement lamps in advance of the sale.

LightSources, together with our affiliated companies, represent the foremost high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today.  LCD Lighting, our leading affiliate in fluorescent lamps has designed and manufactured thousands of custom fluorescent lamps for virtually every type of OEM lighting application.  Contact us to learn more about our exclusive fluorescent light technology.