For the Business of Apparel Decorating
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72 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 7 W ith anything in life, there is struggle. Often, getting back to the basics in any given situation will provide you with a solution to that problem. The direct-to-garment (D2) market is no dif- ferent. Through the years, there have been major changes in printing equipment, but the basics of D2 have remained the same. Understanding how your printer functions is a crucial element in operat- ing a successful D2 printing business. It's important to note, depending on the brand and generation of printer, parts, ink, and equipment that maintenance will vary. Some printers may require more mainte- nance, some less. Always consult with your manufacturer for specifics in taking care and operating your machine. MAINTENANCE One common concern D2 man- ufacturers, suppliers, operators, and owners have is maintenance. Some maintenance procedures include cleaning a wiper blade, capping station, spit station, en- coders, around the print head, oil- ing the head rail, and shaking the white ink. Some of these are per- formed daily and others weekly or monthly. It's worth noting, some printers on the market no longer have wiper blades or require the ink to be shaken as they have new circulating systems. Regardless of the level of maintenance needed, effectively performing your mainte- nance ensures continual and uninterrupted performance of your equipment. At the be- ginning of your day, if needed, operators are encouraged to shake their white ink, initiate a head cleaning (performed by the system itself ), and print a nozzle check. The nozzle check will help determine whether your sys- tem is functioning properly and as simple as it sounds, can help diagnose where there could potentially be issues. Understanding D2 The basic systems and maintenance necessary for D2 printers B Y J E R I D H I L L The image on the left shows a linear encoder while the image on the right is a rotary encoder, both of which can be found in D2 printers. (All images courtesy BelQuette) Jerid Hill graduated from the Art Insti- tute of Pittsburgh in 1993 for graphics and design and entered the T-shirt industry in 1998. In 2004 he was introduced to direct- to-garment technology. After owning a printing and design business, he was in - trigued by direct-to-garment technology to the point of selling his printing company in 2011 to work for BelQuette Inc., a manufacturer of direct-to-garment printing equipment.