The Importance of Light Shielding in UV Curing

Part 2 in Miltec’s Maintaining UV System Performance Blog Series

The primary purpose of light shielding in UV curing is to ensure operator safety from any direct UV stray light exposure. Good light shielding materials in and around the UV lamp housing will protect the lamp module components and the production machine it mounts. A properly designed UV light shield will prevent any machine hardware near the UV lamp from reaching unsafe temperatures and deteriorating from direct UV exposure.

The secondary function of the light shield is to support the UV lamp housing in a manner that will efficiently cure the customer’s product. Suppose the light shielding gets removed from the machine for maintenance to the production equipment. In that case, it is critical to install the light shielding in the same position and location on the machine to ensure the lamp is positioned in the correct location and orientation with respect to the customer’s product being cured.

The third function of the light shield is its contribution toward good air cooling. Some light shields may have air intake vents or air louvers to allow air to enter inside the light shield for lamp cooling, substrate cooling, and/or light shield cooling.

If the air intake vents become clogged with dust or dirt, this can cause an increase in the temperature of the UV lamp, light shield, and the customer’s substrate. The result can be poor lamp performance, short bulb life, or overheating of the customer’s substrate. Therefore, part of the routine preventive maintenance schedule should be to periodically clean out these air intake vents (or louvers) on the light shield with brushes and a vacuum or by blowing them out with dry compressed air.

If you or your employees are experiencing issues with light shielding, it might be time for a quick UV System Performance Check. Our UV system check will include the inspection of your UV system and may include radiometer readings showing the output and performance of your UV system with the goal of identifying which parts that may need to be replaced to ensure maximum UV output of your lamp system. We can also provide recommendations for preventive maintenance tasks to help ensure consistent UV performance for years to come. Learn more and request your FREE Performance Check today.

In our next blog post in the series, we’ll look at reflector performance issues.

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