April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 7 A P R I L P R I N T W E A R || 77 tween the nozzle plate and the inside head cavity as the cause of blocked nozzles. To determine if you are experiencing a print head clog or an air bubble, print a nozzle check and perform a basic system head clean. Perform a second nozzle check and compare the two. Most of the time, a head clean will ad- dress this issue but try to refrain from doing too many consecutive head cleans. After the fourth head cleaning or so, you could create a foaming inside of the head which would make the head appear worse than before. If it gets to this point, you can often let the head sit for 30–45 minutes, wherein the foam will dissipate, and the head will perform as normal. Since all sys- tems could be slightly different and they may not use the same type of print head, contact the manufacturer or distributor for proper procedures. CAPPING STATION/PUMP Certain printers have capping stations, which are typically comprised of three ele- ments: the cap top, wiper blade, and pump. They may all be contained within one unit, or they could be separated. The function of the capping station is to pull ink through the lines during cleanings, in order to keep the head surface clean from ink or debris and to stop the head from drying out. Part of the maintenance can also include what is called wet capping. At the end of the day, placing a little cleaning liquid in the cap and parking the head over the station can also aid in keeping the head from dry- ing out. Be sure to check with the manufac- turer or distributor to ensure this is a proper procedure to use. Not all dampers will stop a backflow of ink or prohibit the ink from flowing into a waste container. The cap top has hard rubber or polymer seals and should be free from any nicks, cuts, or ink buildup. Clean this daily with a foam swab and cleaning solution to avoid nicks or ink buildup. When the head sits on the cap top, but the seal is compromised, the pump may not pull properly, and the nozzle plate could be exposed to air. If the head is exposed for prolonged periods with- out use, the nozzles can easily dry out, once again causing clogs. During your normal maintenance procedures, be sure to exam- ine and clean the cap top thoroughly. Cleaning the wiper blade takes very little time, but a dirty blade can wreak havoc. If the blade is not cleaned properly, dry ink will be pushed back into the nozzles. A dirty blade packs dried or thickened ink into these nozzles, and can also leave the surface of the head with ink buildup blocking the nozzles from firing properly. If the wiper blade is in this condition, it may be simpler to replace it. The pump, as mentioned before, pulls ink through the system. With inkjet sys- tems, head cleans are necessary to keep the ink flowing and the nozzles firing properly. If the pump is not pulling correctly but ev- erything else seems to be functioning, then the entire head will have poor performance. Understanding the basic principles of how an inkjet system works, specifically in a D2 printer, can simplify your printing process. This simplifying can lead to more confidence in printing and far less down time, in turn resulting in higher profits and happier employees and customers.

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