The lamps originally installed in your sheetfed dryer are rated by the lamp manufacturer for an average life expectancy of 5,000 hours. In order for the dryer to dry at optimum capacity, if your system is in excess of this amount of hours you may want to consider lamp replacement.
As the lamp ages, the glass surface through which the infrared light passes to the sheet becomes white or milky in appearance. Because the glass becomes opaque, some frequencies of the light waves will be blocked from passing through the glass. This results in less light and less heat being transferred to the printed sheet and causes the ink to dry less effectively below the coating. This can result in offsetting issues, or the need to increase the sheet output temperature to obtain the same results as when the dryer was new. The number of lamp hours on your system is available via the touch screen interface.
When replacing lamps, you may want to consider replacement of the metal reflectors located immediately behind the lamps. In 2009, a design change was incorporated to the reflectors, as a result of extensive testing on how to improve their drying system. The new reflectors made from a reflective aluminum material have proven to be much more effective than previous designs, and have the following advantages:
- Much easier to reach the target sheet temperature
- Heater cases run cooler
- Drying of the ink is accelerated because the light waves are directed to the sheet
- Power usage can be reduced up to 40%
Another positive result of the new reflector material is that the reflectors do not discolor. As the old reflectors began to discolor, the heat from the lamp was actually absorbed into the reflector rather than directed to the sheet. Testing over a period of six months was performed, with two different dryers and presses installed at the same location (to eliminate other environmental variables) and approximately the same number of impressions were run on both presses when the reflectors were removed.
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