5 Common Reasons IR Lamps Fail Prematurely
In addition to selling industrial infrared heating solutions to OEMs, Anderson Thermal Devices has been a source for replacement shortwave and medium wave quartz halogen infrared lamps for most infrared dryers, pre-dryers, ovens and comfort heaters. Not only will ATD supply replacement lamps, we often assist customers in determining why their IR lamps have been failing prematurely.
Some of the most common factors that lead to premature shortwave quartz halogen lamp failure are as follows:
1. Improper storage of stocked lamps: One of the most common sources of breakage is - annoyingly - one of the most basic. Quartz lamps have very thin walls and hence are very fragile, so lamps should always be stored in their shipping containers to prevent breakage and contamination. There is nothing more frustrating than going to the shelf for an emergency replacement lamp only to find that the stocked lamps are broken.
2. Improper installation: When installing the lamps, extreme caution should be used. The lamps should not be “forced” into position or into clamps. This is especially true of longer lamps. Forcing can induce micro cracks in the quartz which may go unnoticed, but can eventually result in premature lamp failure.
3. Devitrification due to contamination: Oils, salts and other contaminates cause devitrification of the quartz tube, a process where crystalline structures grow on or within the surface of the quartz. Devitrification causes the quartz to become opaque to infrared energy, rather than being transparent. This traps excess energy within the quartz, causing the filament to overheat and resulting in lamp failure. The oils and salts from handling with bare hands, shop oils, and dust are all common sources of infrared lamp devitrification. Before being installed and powered up, all quartz halogen lamps should be visually inspected, and wiped clean using denatured alcohol. When handling quartz tube halogen lamps, you should always wear cotton gloves.
4. Improper powering up: When powering up your IR lamps, a Soft Start Silicon Controlled Rectifier (SCR) should be used. Minimizing temperature extremes results in less expansion and contraction of the filament and extends lamp life. Full power causes a very high in-rush current, possibly damaging the wiring and blowing fuses. A Soft Start SCR ramps up the lamp voltage in predetermined steps bringing the filament temperature up incrementally, and avoiding any potential damage to the filament.
5. Improper power connections: Our final reason is another easily-avoidable one. IR lamps like all electrical products must be properly connected to the power. Loose connections and undersized wires are common reasons for a quartz halogen lamp’s shortened life. Being vigilant during setup, and creating a system of periodic checks are good ways to avoid losing a lamp due to an improper connection.
Please explore our blog for additional articles on industrial infrared heating, or contact us for additional information. Anderson Thermal Devices is a US-based manufacturer of industrial infrared heaters. Benefiting from 75+ years in infrared heating, our team is eager to find the right solution for your application.