Questions and Answers | Products
Everything you ever wanted to know about tanning. You’ll find the answer here! Learn everything about UV, irradiation, effects, biology, technology, and more. Get interesting insider information and tips for more safety here.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE UV LAMP PLAY IN A SUNBED?
- The lamp essentially determines the amount of emitted spectrum, as well as the generated irradiance.
- It is thus responsible for the mediated effects.
- After all, the lamp is the core element in a tanning salon’s entire business.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIGH PRESSURE AND LOW PRESSURE LAMPS?
- Low pressure lamps already produce a targeted spectrum, i.e. additional radiation filtering is not required, which is why they have a better energy balance.
- High pressure lamps produce a spectrum that must be filtered because both short-wave UVC and UVB as well as visible and infrared radiation is emitted.
- Due to the required filtering, the energy balance at high pressure is significantly worse compared to the low pressure lamp.
- Unlike low pressure lamps, high pressure lamps can be used to generate high irradiance levels on small areas.
WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT TUBES AND OTHER TIMES ABOUT LAMPS?
- In colloquial speech, often not quite correct terms are used.
- The light bulb is often referred to as a “pear” because it is pear-shaped.
- Fluorescent lamps are tubular and are therefore often mistakenly called tubes.
- In the past, fluorescent lamps for general lighting were also called “neon tubes”, which is technically completely wrong because they do not contain any neon.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHORT AND LONG ELECTRODES?
- Only high load lamps (140, 160, 180 and 225W) can be distinguished between two electrode designs.
- The short electrode (short mount) describes and represents the standard technology. Here, maintaining the optimum operating temperature by correctly designed cooling is particularly important during operation in order to ensure the desired irradiance.
- The long electrode has an integrated cooling zone at both ends, which means that the operating temperature has far less influence on the level of irradiance achieved.
- Generally, long mount lamps have a higher operating performance and thus a higher irradiance. In the Cosmedico range of lamps these can be recognized by the addition VHR.
ACCORDING TO WHAT CRITERIA SHOULD I CHOOSE AN UV LAMP?
- In Europe, solariums may not exceed an erythemal irradiance of 0.3 W/m².
- If you already have a solarium that complies with the maximum erythemal irradiance limit, you can choose any equivalent lamp as a replacement (see also question: what is equivalence?).
- Unless you are certain that your solarium will not exceed the maximum level, you should consult with a specialist to ensure compliance with effective irradiance. The Cosmedico staff will be pleased to advise you.
- In addition to compliance with legal regulations, of course, the effect of the lamp plays a role in the selection. Lamps with a high UVA output have a faster instant tanning effect than those with a lower value.
- The datasheets of the Cosmedico lamps usually provide all essential technical and radiation-physical information as well as the lamp specification.
WHAT IS EQUIVALENCE?
- Strictly spoken, equivalence means equality.
- In the case of UV fluorescent lamps, exchangeability for replacement lamps is regulated by equivalence.
A replacement lamp is equivalent to the original lamp if it has the same lamp wattage, optical characteristics (reflector type) and comparable UV code.
- The permitted tolerance for the UV code is up to -25% in the X value and ± 15% in the Y value (see also question: what does the UV code mean?).
- A lamp can also be explained equivalent via measurement – regardless of the UV code.
WHAT DO UVB PERCENTAGES MEAN?
- The ratio of the proportion of UVB radiation to UVA radiation, i.e. the quotient of the irradiances in the UVB and in the UVA.
- Example 1: a lamp produces 20 W/m² UVA and 0.18 W/m²UVB:
Calculation: 0.18: 20 = 0.009. This corresponds to 0.9%.
- The UVB percentage says nothing about the effectiveness of a lamp because it is calculated from the UVA. The significance of the UVB percentage is clearly overestimated as an indicator of the lamp quality.
- Example 2: a lamp produces 22 W/m² UVA and 0.20 W/m² UVB:
Calculation: 0.20: 22 = 0.009. This corresponds to 0.9%.
- Although lamp 2 has an 11% higher actual UVB, the percentage is the same for both lamps. That’s why you cannot rate a lamp from its UVB percentage.
HOW CAN I MAXIMIZE THE LIFE OF A LAMP?
- By observing the optimal thermal conditions during lamp operation. These include, for example, regular changing of the filter mats in the sunbed and maintenance of the exhaust system.
HOW CAN THE UV IRRADIANCE OF A TANNING LAMP BE MEASURED?
- For exact measurement of UV irradiance, a spectro-radiometer with double monochromator is needed. Here, the generated radiation is “decomposed” and the irradiance is determined per nanometer.
- There are also so-called UV broadband radiometers, which have a certain (measurement-) sensitivity over the entire UV range. In this case, however, the measurement inaccuracy and uncertainty is much bigger, therefore such measurements usually only have orientation character.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPEN AND CLOSED GLASS?
- By adding special additives to the glass melt, the filter edge of the glass can be shifted to higher wavelengths, i.e. the transmission (permeability) for UVB radiation in particular is reduced.
- This is when we speak of “closed” glass. Whereas with “open” glass the filter edge is more in the short-wave range and a higher proportion of UVB radiation is transmitted.
- In any case, the amount of UVB radiation is always limited.
WHAT IS ROHS?
- DIRECTIVE 2011/65/EU, of the European Parliament of 8 June 2011, regulates the restriction on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.
- Also called RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances).
- Among other things, the use of mercury is banned or regulated in the RoHS.
- For fluorescent lamps, the use is regulated as permissible and limited, as these lamps cannot work without mercury.
- Compliance with the directive is indicated by the CE mark.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN DISPOSING OF UV LAMPS?
- Due to the hazardous ingredients, primarily mercury, the lamps must be recycled and must not be disposed of with household waste.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN A LAMP BREAKS?
- Ventilate the room immediately and ideally use a respirator for cleaning.
- Carefully sweep up all small parts and, if necessary, pick up any remains with adhesive tape.
- Dispose of all splinters and residues in a closable container.
- The use of a vacuum cleaner is not recommended as, with each use, it would distribute the mercury over the exhaust air in the room.
WHEN DOES A LAMP FIT 0.3 W/M²?
- Identical lamps installed in different device types show clear differences in the irradiance. There are various reasons for that: the number and arrangement of the lamps, the properties of the acrylic glass and reflectors as well as the operating conditions.
- Therefore, it is impossible to say with any certainty of any lamp type that the maximum permissible erythema irradiance of 0.3 W/m² is maintained in any solarium. Only a rough estimate based on the specified UV code in the equivalence key is possible, according to which lamps with an X value <30 often remain below 0.3 W/m² in the solarium.
- However, this is by no means a guarantee, since lamps with X = 25 may well exceed the permitted maximum, while those with X = 35 just keep it in individual cases.
- Unfortunately, general statements are not possible. Instead, the lamp selection should be done together with a specialist.
- The Cosmedico staff will be happy to advise you.
WHAT IT THE REASON IF A LAMP DOES NOT IGNITE?
- Production error of the lamp, which may have lost its vacuum.
- The starter is too old or defective and will no longer perform the ignition properly, or even damage the lamp.
- The mains voltage in the device is too low which can, in unfavorable constellations, result in a constant re-ignition of the starter.
- A tip: If the lamp does not light up, insert it elsewhere in the device. Lamps and their resources have manufacturing tolerances that can behave to each other in an unfavorable way which can make the lamp incapable to ignite. It is unlikely that there will be a similar constellation elsewhere in the solarium.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE STARTER PLAY?
- The starter closes a circuit for a defined duration to preheat the electrodes of the lamps. After that the starter interrupts the preheating and triggers the ignition.
- Also the starter is aging! With the number of switching cycles the danger increases that the starter no longer opens and closes properly. In such cases, overloading of the electrodes and premature lamp failure are inevitable. Therefore, not only replace the lamps, but also exchange the starter regularly.
WHY NOT OPERATE A HIGH-PRESSURE LAMP WITHOUT A FILTER?
- High-pressure lamps emit a very broad spectrum, ranging from short-wave UVC to the long-wave infrared range.
- For tanning purposes, however, only the UVA radiation and a smaller proportion of UVB radiation are needed, which is why the unnecessary radiation areas must be necessarily filtered out.
- Without a suitable filter, severe skin burns and irreparable eye damage would occur within seconds as a result of high UVC radiation.
- Solariums are all equipped with a protection, so that operation without filter is not possible.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN LAMPS GET OLDER?
- With increasing operating hours, the fluorescent material (also called phosphor) loses intensity. The glass also decreases in transparency with the operating hours.
- This results in a lower irradiance and thus a lower efficiency.
- The sole storage of lamps, however, leads to no impairment of the lamp quality. Even with years of (proper) storage, the output power remains unchanged.
WHAT DOES THE UV CODE MEAN?
- The UV code is correctly called the equivalence key and conforms to the standard DIN EN 61228 for tanning lamps.
- Accordingly, all tanning lamps need to be marked with the measured values of certain radiation components (for example, 160-R-31/2.0).
- Since this is a measurement and safety standard, only safety-relevant radiation components are contained in the UV code.
- The UV code thus has no significance for the actual tanning quality of a lamp or a device.
- On tanning beds from the year 2012 on, a sticker must be affixed that identifies the permissible UV code range (equivalent key area) when the lamp is replaced.
CAN LAMPS BE SAFELY USED BEYOND THE RECOMMENDED USEFUL LIFE?
- With increasing operating hours, the UV output of the lamps decreases.
- Thus, the usable effect decreases.
- Although there is no risk of old lamps, however, the lamps should be exchanged after reaching the recommended service life in the interests of the customer.
CAN YOU ONLY REPLACE PART OF THE LAMPS IN THE SOLARIUM AND THE OTHER LAMPS LATER?
- Basically, this is conceivable, but not recommended.
- New lamps are significantly more intense than long-aged lamps and thus would create an imbalance between the effects of these different lamps in the device.
WHY ARE THERE SOMETIMES COLOR DIFFERENCES WITH THE SAME TUBES IN THE DEVICE?
- The correct function of fluorescent lamps depends on optimal cooling.
- With unequal temperature conditions in the device, the lamps are different in color.
- Too cold lamps are usually bluish, while too hot lamps appear yellowish.
- Properly tempered, the lamps are uniformly bright white over the entire length.
- Temperature differences can be caused by the device, or by dirty filter mats, or bad exhaust air in the studio, or room/outside temperature conditions, etc.
- Only properly tempered lamps have the optimum UV performance.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF BLACK ENDS ON THE LAMPS?
- Usually, black ends are caused by deposits of mercury and electrode material.
- When used properly, slight graying to slight blackening is visible only at the end of the service life.
- In spaghetti lamps, for reasons of space, the electrode cannot be provided with the usual protective ring, which is why graying can occur earlier.
- If graying occurs earlier than usual, technical conditions are the cause. The starters, ballasts, cooling, operating voltage and the lamps themselves have an influence.
- To determine the causes of earlier graying various parameters need to be analyzed: the lamp with starter, the device type, the type of ballast and, ideally, the voltage conditions in the tanning salon.