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The new generation of XBO cinema projection lamps: Interview with Günther Feuereisen
For 60 years xenon lamps have been at the heart of the film industry, ensuring that film stars look their best on cinema screens throughout the world. The probability is very high that the picture is being projected onto the screen with the aid of an XBO lamp from OSRAM, because OSRAM technology is used to illuminate approximately every three cinema screens. Now, OSRAM is launching a new generation of XBO cinema projection lamps offering longer life and more stable luminous efficacy. Günther Feuereisen, XBO Product Manager at OSRAM, explains the benefits of the upgraded product family.
What was the thinking behind the upgrades to the existing XBO portfolio?
The most important factors for projection light are long life, consistently high luminous efficacy throughout the life of the lamp, high output and low cost. We are constantly striving to make improvements in all these areas.
What specific improvements have been made in the latest generation of XBO lamps?
We have improved performance, extended lamp life by as much as 30 percent and achieved greater stability in luminous efficacy. We would like to keep the aging curve as flat as possible. Today we achieve a maximum loss of light of 50 percent over the life of the lamp. Our aim is to achieve an average value of 20 to 30 percent. For the frequently used lamp for Barco projectors, the XBO4000 W/DHP, we are quoting a service life of 1300 hours, compared to 1100 hours previously. The XBO3000 W/DHP now has an operating time of 1700 hours instead of 1500 hours. OSRAM's projection lamp portfolio currently ranges from 1200 Watt for small distances and small screens to 6500 Watt for large auditoriums and large screens.
How did you achieve these improvements? Can you give us the magic recipe?
The operating time of the lamps has been extended as a result of special treatment of the electrodes. A ceramic coating on the anode ensures better heat removal thanks to the larger surface structure, which in turn reduces blackening as the tungsten vaporizes. As a result, the lamp loses less light over time. Special treatment of the cathode material means that the arc remains stable throughout the entire life of the lamp, which also contributes to longer life.
My XBO lamps are coming to the end of their lives. How easy is it to replace projection lamps?
Replacing an XBO lamp is a tricky and somewhat dangerous process, so it should only be attempted by a trained cinema technician. OSRAM provides support here. In addition to workshops on how to use light and lamps, we offer videos on maintaining and replacing the lamps. The lamps are under high pressure so to help protect technicians or demonstrators from injury from splinters if a lamp should burst a protective kit is also available, comprising an apron, visor and special gloves.
Have new cinema technologies reduced demand for XBO lamps?
No, because 4K resolution and 3D only work with an XBO lamp as this provides optimum illumination of the screen. OSRAM’s internal market figures give a good indication of the state of international development in the digital field. 90 percent of the lamps are now being ordered for digital projectors. We will continue to supply lamps for 35 mm projectors, however, as they will still be used for example for festivals in film museums and also in various cinemas in addition to digital projection.