What defines a high quality UV Lamp Driver?

UV applications offer optimal solutions for water treatment, air and surface disinfection, and curing. To operate UV lamps, lamp drivers, also called electronic ballasts are commonly used. Depending on lamp type, the drivers take care of pre-heat, ignition, and warm-up of the UV lamps. Selecting the right UV lamp driver can optimize efficiency, prevent mains power supply problems, and improve ease of installation. Far from simply acting as a lamp driver, it improves the total cost of ownership and sustainability of your application, and, as a result, its viable use cases. 

Extreme close up of buttons of a lamp driver
Portrait of Olga Kruidhof
Co-author: Olga Kruidhof (Nedap)
21 September 2022
What are the 7 most important quality features of an UV driver?


When selecting a high-quality UV lamp driver, there are several aspects which must be considered. In many cases, these aspects may only become apparent after the lamp driver has been in use for some time – the difference between a high-quality UV lamp driver and a poor one is not immediately obvious. We’ve listed some important criteria below: 


Image source: IUVA 2019 Sydney Nedap – Powering UV sources 

Bar chart Nedap's driver electrical efficiency versus others
UV driver quality features
1. Efficiency

Of course, the initial cost is a crucial consideration, but businesses must factor in the total cost of ownership – not simply the upfront cost of a lamp driver. The energy and maintenance costs need to be considered – longevity is key here. 

2. Reliability

Due to the importance of some of the use cases of UV applications, the reliability of lamps and their drivers is paramount. Poor reliability can affect the integrity of the UV system and the entire facility it is being used in. 

3. Design

A well-designed lamp driver will generate lower temperatures, which will reduce the failure rate of the driver. As a rule of thumb, every 10-degree temperature decrease doubles the lifetime of the driver. 

4. Harmonic distortion

Lamp drivers can introduce higher frequencies into the mains power line, disrupting the mains power. The higher frequencies can cause additional power losses by only generating unwanted heat in the power grid. Nedap drivers have special filters built into the UV driver to minimize the total harmonic distortion (THD).


5. Power factor

This is determined by the “real power” you receive from the mains as opposed to the “apparent power”.For lamp drivers, or indeed any electronic device, businesses should look for a factor that is as close to one as possible. Nedap UV lamp drivers deliver a Power Factor of 0.99, while other designs may be as low as 0.7. 

6. Components

Lamp drivers are needed to regulate the power delivered to UV lamps so they can achieve the optimal UV level. Using the highest grade critical components will deliver higher levels of reliability. All Nedap drivers are CE and UL/cUL approved.  

7. Sustainability

First, if your UV systems wastes less energy, due to better efficiency, it will have a smaller carbon footprint. Secondly, the Nedap high-quality UV lamp driver increases the lifespan of UV lamps significantly – an important reason for all major lamp manufacturers to recommend Nedaps lamp driver technology. Both features lead to a more sustainable operation


Nedap's green office
Use cases of UV lamp drivers


The quality of UV lamp drivers is so important because of the critical nature of UV applications for various use cases. These include water treatment, air and surface disinfection, and UV curing 

Water treatment

UV light is an effective method for treating water by destroying bacteria and viruses. Intelligent UV lamp drivers can be used for efficient and eco-friendly applications. UV and advanced oxidation technologies are ideal for developing sustainable water treatment solutions.

Air and surface disinfection

UV light can be used to disinfect surfaces and inactivate airborne pathogens, and is used in various industries and high-contact areas. UV disinfection improves hygiene and storage conditions by reducing the germ load. UV lamp drivers can adjust UV output to achieve desired disinfection levels.

UV curing

High-intensity UV light can also be used in a photochemical process that instantly cures inks, coatings, or adhesives. Not only is this fast, but it is also more practical as it reduces logistical complexity and no harmful solvents are released.

There are two groups of drivers that are used depending on the specific type of UV project: Low-Pressure UV Lamps and Medium-Pressure UV Lamps.

Lamp Driver 800W

Low-pressure lamps, limited to 1000W, provide exactly the right wavelength of light to fight bacteria and have several advantages compared with medium-pressure lamps. The conversion rate from electrical to UV energy for low-pressure lamps stands at around 34 to 38 percent. This means they deliver a higher rate of efficiency than medium-pressure UV lamp drivers, where the conversion is around 12 percent.   

Lamp Driver 800W

While the higher efficiency level of low-pressure lamps may be advantageous in certain circumstances, medium-pressure lamps can achieve higher levels of electrical power – as high as 36 kW. As such, medium-pressure lamp drivers are likely to be more suitable for projects that have limited space and need a high UV level, as in some space-restricted water disinfection systems.
Medium-pressure lamp drivers also produce light of multiple wavelengths, which is beneficial for advanced oxidation. Besides attacking the DNA of bacteria, they can also be combined with other solutions to help with the breakdown of chemical substances.

Lamp Driver 8kW
What are the advantages of Nedap UV driver technology for your business?

The efficiency of UV lamp drivers is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, poor quality lamp drivers can result in damage to the UV lamp from over-voltage or component stress. Before the advent of electronic lamp drivers, many businesses relied on electromagnetic devices, which were inefficient, offered less control in terms of power, and required extra attention in terms of their mounting and space requirements.  

 At Nedap, we are proud of the efficiency and power output levels we are able to achieve with our UV lamp drivers. We advise you to select UV sources with higher levels of energy efficiency, lowering costs for your customers business over the lifetime of a product, reducing carbon footprint, and improving your product reliability. Initial low-cost lamp driver systems offering limited features with regard to the power factor, THD, and efficiency will lead to higher operational costs during the lifetime of your UV systems.  

Nedap’s driver technology is already employed to improve the safety of drinking water and optimize the printing process for millions of customers around the world. 

Printer using Nedap UV
Lighting the way forward 

Are you looking for a premium product at the right price? One that achieves the highest levels of efficiency and longevity in the market? Find out how Nedap can move your business forward with smart lamp driver technology.


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