Most manufacturers' list a rated lamp life for their tanning lamps. Few say what their method is for determining this life rating. Is it when you should expect the lamp to burn out? Is it just a number printed to justify their compatibility claims? Is it when the lamp has lost 50% of its output?
At Wolff System, rated service life is that point where UV output has depreciated by 30% from initial levels. A well-constructed sunlamp, properly applied, will be ready for replacement due to this natural output (phosphor) depreciation well before it fails to "light". This is a forecast of performance under proper conditions. We all know that running sunlamps at higher temperatures will shorten service life (phosphor degradation) and physical life (burn-out).
Sunlamps experience their sharpest decline during the first 50-100 hours. Therefore, insist on knowing the rated life from zero hours, since that is how you will employ them in your equipment. Higher quality phosphors, such as those used in Wolff System sunlamps, tend to be more stable and longer lasting.
To maximize the output and life of your tanning lamps:
- Start with a high quality lamp.
- Clean and replace acrylic shields according to the manufacturer's specifications.
- Clean reflective surfaces behind the lamps periodically and/ or when you re-lamp.
- Replace worn starters before they cause re-strikes or fail entirely. Worn starters can destroy a good lamp in a very short time.
- Maintain proper room temperatures with adequate air conditioning and ventilation. Higher temperatures can shorten the lamps' life and reduce its output.
- Incoming voltage must meet the equipment manufacturer's specifications. Low voltage will reduce tanning effectiveness while high voltage may reduce lamp life.
- Keep in mind that VHO (very high output) lamps tend to have a shorter life than HO (high output) lamps. Vertical applications (booths) are harder on sunlamps than horizontal (beds).
Remember, due to variables such as maintenance procedures, equipment ventilation and voltage irregularities, actual service life can, and often does, differ. Again, the best way to manage this aspect is good equipment maintenance and regular monitoring of output. Get and use an economical hand held radiometer. Replace depreciated sunlamps before you get customer complaints.