April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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74 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 7 consistency with prints in this manner and you can see the rotary encoder, cleaning it off with a lint-free cloth and isopropyl alcohol should fix the issue. If it doesn't, contact the manufacturer or distributor for additional assistance. Outside of the various features offered, all D2 equipment has five basic areas in the ink delivery system: a supply source, ink lines, dampers (or cartridges), print head(s), and capping station/pump. Some may include filters or degassing systems that need to be taken into account, but most operate with the five basic areas mentioned here. Under- standing the cause and effect for each area will give you the ability to diagnose and overcome the issue(s) quickly. INK DELIVERY SYSTEM When D2 first exploded on the market, companies offered a bulk ink system. Even though consumers consider a bulk ink system to be a money saver, the problems that can be associated with an open system often outweigh the perceived savings. An open system is simply containers in which you pour ink. If your system is infrequently used, water-based inks can evaporate and cause the ink to change in viscosity or thick- ness. The inks for your system are designed to be used with the associated print head, and any change in the inks can cause per- sistent issues. Another concern for an open bulk system is when ink bottle caps are opened, dry ink around the bottle rim can fall into the con- tainer and cause issues for your dampers. If your printer has an open ink system, it is imperative that in addition to your mainte- nance procedures, the opening of the con- tainers are cleaned with a damp cloth. This simple step can help keep dried ink from falling into your ink supply. Positioning of your ink system also affects the performance of your system. If your system allows the ink supply position to be moved, the correct height can be found through trial and error. If you have an open container system that is 6"–8" high, as the ink is being used, the amount of ink in the container changes and causes a difference in pressure in your system. This can cause you to either constantly change your ink system positioning or continuously main- tain a certain amount of ink in your system. With bagged ink, it is much simpler to find this position since a bag laying flat doesn't change the height of the remaining ink. To find the correct position, a good start- ing point would be to level out your ink supply with the bottom of your print head or the top of your platen. Keep in mind that sea level can influence performance. For in- stance, the higher your elevation, the less in- ternal pressure within your printer, so your ink supply may need to be higher to force more pressure into the system. If your ink source is too high, there could be drops of ink on your shirt as the garment prints. This is almost always an indicator of too much pressure in your sys- tem which would most likely be attributed D2 SYSTEMS & MAINTENANCE Top: This diagram shows how a damper works. Above: A sample of capping station assembly. This chart shows a style of ink delivery system in D2 printers.

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