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I am a relatively new salon owner with limited lamp knowledge. I have several older tanning units with high-pressure facial tanners and two that are all high-pressure lamps. The lamps listed on the manufacturer labels are no longer available, as the companies are no longer in business.
With many older high-pressure systems still being used in the industry, this is a common question! In order to assure that the most efficient lamp use is achieved, it is important that the right lamp is installed in a particular tanning system.
A sunlamp’s tanning performance is due to correct and efficient spectral range characterized by manufacturers’ proprietary metal-halogenide mixture. In addition, high-quality components such as quartz glass, electrodes and gas mixtures have to be complemented by rigorous control systems to ensure quality, performance and longevity.
The design of a lamp’s glass envelope, its size (both length and diameter) has to perfectly fit a specific reflector system in order to not only assure maximum performance, but also to enable proper cooling for tanner comfort and long lamp life. To sum it up, the lamps are also the key component for the longevity of filter glasses, reflectors and electrical components such as igniters and wiring, all while ventilation is, of course, paramount to both component cooling and providing a comfortable and pleasant tanning experience.
It is also important to understand that voltage supply, the actual current in watts, as well as the ratio of UVB to UVA, are all integral parts of the tanning unit’s performance.
Tanning lamp performance, both high-pressure and fluorescent, is measured in mw/cm2, and one must measure both the peaks’ amplitude and where the UVB and UVA peaks are on the nanometer scale, in order to properly ascertain a lamp’s peak bronzing ability.
The diagrams below show characteristics of two lamps (400W and 1,000W) measured in an ambient temperature of 104°F. Radiation flux: UVA 320-400nm; UVB 280-320nm; the chart includes other UV/infrared characteristics such as visible light, as well as UVC, which is why high-pressure lamp systems include filter glass.
This graph shows spectral transmission curves of filter glasses frequently used in older tanning systems, as well as many units – especially German-made – still in operation (UVISOL ‘95). Other examples of filters used for UV applications are M-UG2, M-UG4, M-UG6 and Type322. More recently, several types of coated (filter) glasses have been introduced that more effectively, and with lower wattage, afford more efficient tanning. IMPORTANT NOTE: You cannot and must not mix, match nor randomly exchange filter glasses in any tanning unit without discussing this with a relevant manufacturer, lamp manufacturer or supplier, as it is not only potentially dangerous but also against FDA regulations.
Industry veteran Leif Vasstrom founded Napa, CA-based Supra Brands Group in 2004, and has been at the forefront of sunlamp innovation since 1978. He opened the first tanning salon in NYC on Madison Avenue in 1978. In 1985, his company designed the Breeze Salon Software and business management program, acquired by SunLync in 2003. He launched the Silver Solarium equipment line in 1978, and Dr. Müller systems in 1993. In 1986, he helped start Applied Digital (T-Max). In 2011, Supra acquired industry forum tantoday.com as a means to further the message about the positive aspects of moderate UV exposure.
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