Sign & Digital Graphics

August '18

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36 • August 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS He points out that different printers require different levels of maintenance. "Some printers, like the new HP Latex printers, perform a number of automated maintenance tasks; and others require that you to physically clean the machine. Also, depending on the ink you are using you may have to clean your machine more often." Stone also notes that solvent inks dry quicker and need to be cleaned more frequently than water-based inks. "Some UV-cure printers use white ink which has a heavier pigment, and these inks need to be agitated frequently so the pigments don't all settle to the bottom of the car- tridge. It is always best to refer back to your printer manufacturer's user manual for the recommend maintenance to per- form on your machine." Keep Things Simple David Conrad, director of sales and marketing at Mutoh America, Phoenix, Arizona, notes that some frustrating issues such as banding, missing nozzles and nozzles coming and going are all possible outcomes of lack of mainte- nance. "Simple maintenance procedures are typically described in most printer manuals. The problem is that many users do not read the manual. That being said, there are also many good YouTube vid- eos that can assist the printer operator in developing a good maintenance habit." He adds that cleaning the capping sta- tion, running a nozzle check and perhaps executing a nozzle purge are simple tech- niques to ensure a better print outcome. Conrad explains that these things are simple to accomplish and take very little time away from production. Replacing Consumable Items "Many times, users talk about banding or ink dripping on the image or other effects all of which can indicate a need for maintenance," says Conrad. "Replacing consumable items such as maintenance stations, dampers or filters—if your printer requires them—before they go bad and on a scheduled timeline will allow end users to control their down- time vs. the machine going down when they really need it. Simply cleaning the capping station and performing a nozzle check regularly can be a huge positive action in keeping your printer running smoothly." He recommends developing a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly approach to preventive maintenance. "Place a writ- ten schedule of what should be done regarding maintenance on a wall near the printer and execute them as if it would cost you thousands of dollars if you didn't do them—because it actually could. A well-maintained machine could be the difference between getting that huge job out on time and keeping your customers happy or having a premature failure due to lack of maintenance and not being able to meet your deadlines." Conrad says the process for different printers can vary between different ink types, but it is really dependent on the machine model more than the ink type. "Many of our Mutoh UV, dye-sub and eco-solvent machines require the same basic cleaning techniques (with different cleaning solution of course) but if you look at our UV PJ 2508UF flatbed, that is a totally different process because it is an entirely different machine. It is always best to refer to your specific machines manual/manufacture for the proper maintenance procedures." Some Models Have Different Needs Mimaki's Martinez says that while there may be some minor variations to the daily/weekly maintenance process, the process is essentially the same for all model types regarding the maintenance. "Having said that, there are some added periodic maintenance items that occur for the U V -cure and other sign and graphics models. This will depend on the ink configuration used on the printer Both Mimaki's JFX200 and JFX500 Series print- ers will automatically inform the end user when it's time to replace the degassing module—about once a year. (Image cour- tesy of Mimaki USA)

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