UV technology is useful for sanitization, medical tools and treatment, manufacturing products, photography, and chemical quality inspections. But with new innovations like UV hand sanitizers becoming more commonplace, it's clear to see that the practical uses of UV are increasing.
In fact, the revenue forecast of the UV lamp market is predicted to reach over 8.3 billion dollars by 2028, becoming an essential tool in a variety of applications.
Want to learn more? Here's a comprehensive guide on the different types of UV technology and how they're used.
UV Technology Uses
UV lamps are one of the most well-known examples of UV technology. These lamps are energy-efficient and bright. This is essential in industries that require a well-lit environment, such as:
- Cleanroom production
- Quality inspection
UV lamps can also cure inks, coating, and finishes to strengthen outer coating.
|Germicidal UVC PLL Lamps provide highly effective disinfection solutions.[SOURCE]|
Any adhesives, varnishes, and lacquers cured with UV lamps are more durable. This extra durability makes them useful for demanding environments like those found in industrial, automotive, and aerospace applications.
Besides lamps, there are many other types of UV technology. UV tools may have different wavelengths from each other to better fit their intended purpose.
UVA is between 315 to 400 nm and is considered the safest to use. The UVA wavelength can treat certain skin conditions and detect counterfeit paper bills.
UVB is between 280 to 315 nm and also has limited applications for treating skin. This wavelength is often found in tanning beds.
UVC is the most dangerous wavelength to work with, producing between 100 and 280 nm. Direct exposure to these wavelengths can cause harm to the skin and eyes, so UVC tools should be used with caution. That being said, UVC is incredibly useful for sanitization purposes as it can disinfect surfaces, air, and water.
UVC Sanitization Technology
Pathogens can survive on surfaces for days, particularly where it is cool and dry.
UVC light is an effective tool for inactivating these pathogens. When used properly and at the right dose, it can significantly reduce the number of human pathogens on a surface, in the water, or the air. It even has the potential to help reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. During the pandemic, UV lights were used to sanitize personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks during a shortage.
As UVC light is too weak to penetrate Earth's atmosphere, organisms are not typically exposed to it so have no natural defenses against it. Because of this, UVC can eliminate pathogens within seconds.
However, if UVC light cannot reach an area, the pathogens within it will remain.
For this reason, UVC is often used in a multibarrier approach. It works in conjunction with other methods, like filtering and cleaning, to ensure all human pathogens are fully removed. This gives UVC the potential to be integrated into existing processes and protocols for improved sanitization.
Current Technology for UVC Sanitization
When used correctly, UV technology can disinfect the air, water, and surfaces to remove human pathogens. While some pathogens are more susceptible to UVC sanitization, all tested bacteria and viruses respond to UV disinfection at the appropriate doses.
UVC is useful for disinfecting the surfaces in an airplane between flights. In a narrow-body plane, an effective UVC system can sterilize the interior in 10 minutes or less.
UVC light is also useful for sanitizing the air inside buildings.
It is common for UVC to be used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) systems, as well as air handling units or filters. With UVC light, it is possible to recirculate indoor air to prevent stagnation while also decreasing how much air from the outdoors is necessary.
UV water treatment systems are growing in popularity, becoming more common, with highly effective and efficient processes that can sustainably eliminate up to 99% of bacteria and viruses without creating disinfection byproducts.
Other Types of UV Lighting Technology
UV technology is also useful for making lighted signs, such as emergency exit signs, and they can provide backlighting to the avionics and aerospace industry to provide reliable lighting in airplanes.
In chemistry, UV light is used in a tool called a spectrophotometer. UV spectroscopy involves passing beams of UV light through a solution to show the level of radiation absorption by way of color changes.
This is used in chemical and biological plants, hospitals, water quality control laboratories, the petrochemical industry, and the food industry.
UV technology is also used in photography, often for medical, scientific, and forensic applications. Specific lenses let UV light pass through a camera lens to capture colors and patterns the human eye cannot see.
At home, new parents may invest in sterilization equipment to keep their baby products clean without exposing them to harsh chemicals.
Skin Treatment & Tanning Booths
Though UV light exposure is known to cause skin cancer, it can also help treat it.
Specially calibrated UV lamps can help treat certain cancerous skin conditions with the use of psoralens. Psoralens are drugs that react to UVA light to slow the growth of skin lymphoma cells, as well as aid in the treatment of acne, jaundice, eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, and even seasonal depression and similar conditions.
UVB has more limited applications for skin treatment. It can treat thin skin lesions, but it does so without the use of additional drugs.
UVB lamps are also often found in tanning booths. Skin exposed to UVB light will produce a skin pigment called melanin, which absorbs UV light and spreads it as heat.
When this natural defense mechanism occurs, the body also sends melanin to neighboring cells to prevent damage. This is what causes your skin to darken and develop a tan.
Having the Best UV Tools and Current Technology
UV technology has been used for more than 40 years to disinfect waste and drinking water, air, pharmaceutical products, and surfaces.
However, not all types of UV technology are the same quality and effectiveness.
UV lights must be durable, versatile, and customizable. If they are not, they are less likely to reach and disinfect the complete area they need to, and they may not last in demanding circumstances.
To ensure your UV tools are efficient and functional, it is important to use quality components.
From the early days of light bulb technology with the infamous Bead pull chain, Bead Electronics has been a pioneer in developing contact pins supporting the needs of bulb technology. This bulb and contact technology include incandescent (tungsten filaments), halogen, high-intensity discharge (HID), compact fluorescent (CFL), light-emitting diode (LEDs), UV lamps, and others.