UV lamps have evolved tremendously since they were introduced into the nail industry 15 years ago. The old models were made with heavy transformers that gave them weights of up to five pounds. The secret to today’s sleek and quick models is a small circuit board with microchips acting as the lights “brain”. It runs the on/off switch and an automatic timer with anywhere from one to four timing increments.
This light starts with a body design meant to be compact, light and user friendly. Once the mold is made, other parts (up to 50-75 parts per lamp) are sourced literally from around the world. The circuitry and boards are positioned and soldered together to form the chassis (the working parts) inside the top plastic portion (case) of the lamp. The chassis is then bolted into place. The inside of the case is lined with a special reflective foil already cut to fit, and the UV light bulbs are placed in their sockets. Each bulb is tested to make sure it doesn’t flicker or go out. The base of the lamp is assembled in a similar fashion; foil with an adhesive backing is carefully fitted and smoothed into place. Final touched include rubber “feet” to keep the lamp from slipping off the table, and a date code stamp on the bottom for warranty purposes. Hinges are slipped into the lid and the UV lamp is ready to go.
Much of the work on a UV lamp goes on before it is ready for assembly. Pro Finish president Kurt Kittleson discusses the circuit board design with consultant Bob Nelson.. A mold designed by an engineer will create the plastic casing around the UV bulbs and hand platform. Each lamp requires 50-75 individual parts that come from 15 countries around the world.
Once the lamp is designed, all of its components must be configured and ordered from various suppliers, down to the smallest hinge. They are received in bulk by the factory, sent through a quality control inspection, and then set up for assembly. Here, resistor/capacitor bundles are being wired for placement on the chassis.
The green circuit board contains an intricate cluster of microchips that drive the lamp. Surrounding it are resistor/capacitor combinations that are wired and soldered into place on the chassis. These will power the bulbs.
The top portion of the lamp has a chassis bolted in, and then it is covered with reflective foil (to provide even distribution of the UV light to properly dry the UV top coat or cure the gel nails). Once everything is in place, the bulbs are carefully fitted into their sockets.
U V bulbs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and wattages. These bulbs have a special coating that gives them just the right wavelength to cure top coat or gel to a particular company’s specifications. Once in place, the unit is plugged in to make sure the bulbs don’t flicker or burn out.
Before the reflective foil is adhered to the base, the plastic case is swabbed with denatured alcohol to get rid of the residue from the injection molding process. Notice the small white knob in the front of the case; this is to hold the lid up at a 30° angle for drying/curing toenails during a pedicure.
The final hinges are inserted into the bottom and top portions of the lamp, and a new UV lamp is born. It will be cleaned, get the finishing touches (labels, rubber feet, warranty date stamp), and be tested one final time before it is packed for shipment.