- Placement should be flat and level to prevent torsion (mechanical stress); this is more important when installing wider printers over 63 inches (1600 mm).
- Stable environmental conditions: temperature and relative humidity (RH). Most importantly, no dust in the room and not in the same room with any tooling (dusting) machine. *see label for specific handling information.
- Enough room all around the printer to allow comfortable space to place media rolls, store ink, remove printed jobs, and do daily maintenance.
- We suggest using a temperature setting between 95°F (35°C) and 113°F (45°C) max.
- Pre-heating setting should be higher than the platen setting (print heat).
- The print heat should not be used to heat the media, because the media should already be warm.
- When the ink is bleeding, adjust to a higher temperature in increments of 2°C at a time and make a test print again or lower your ink limiting.
- Media must be dry to the touch when it reaches a distance of 12 inches (30 cm) from the print heads.
- A temperature above 113°F (45°C) can cause the print heads to dry out, resulting in clogging.
Print Head Height
- The distance between the print head and the media may affect print quality.
- A smaller distance between the print head(s) and the media creates a higher print quality.
- A greater distance between the print head(s) and the media creates a lower print quality.
- Head strikes can occur when media has waves or wrinkles caused by uneven tension, heating, or even if the media is older.
- Printing with wrinkled media will always cause issues, such as uneven or flat colors due to differences in head distance, blurred images, etc. Media flatness is the first necessary step to properly set up the head height. If you must print on wrinkled media, find a compromise between distance and media conditions.
“A good start means a good job...”
When starting up the printer in the morning, you should go through a checklist that includes important verifications. If the printer was shut down and cleaned properly the day before, then start-up will only take minutes.
Check the cleanliness of all parts involved in the cleaning sub-system to be sure that they are running properly. Check the status of the ink and EasyFill PRO: check ink levels, room temperature and humidity. During winter time (colder than 68°F or 20°C), make sure to expose the printer to temperatures of 77°F (25°C) or higher for more than an hour before starting to print to allow the ink to adjust to proper running conditions.
Good daily maintenance is the most important responsibility. A printer that is properly maintained will rarely have problems. Many environmental factors affect your printer, such as dust, air, room heating or air conditioning systems, etc. These factors will determine how often, and to what extent, you will need to perform maintenance.
Inspect and/or clean the following on a daily basis:
- capping station
- nozzle plate
Solvent inks are designed to be fast drying. During non-printing times the pigments can dry up around the edge of the capping station. This can cause the capping to close improperly on the print head during non-operational times such as stand-by, cleaning and when the printer is off.
The ink gets to the border via the head itself, by a misfired nozzle, etc.; and it begins to dry there. When the head comes back to the capping station for stand-by, for example, the cap is raised to close and seal the nozzle plate, to prevent ink from drying around the nozzles. When an improper sealing occurs due to pigment build-up, nozzles are likely to be clogged when restarting after the printer has been off. This is usually caused by air leaking into the capping system and drying the pigments. Pigment build-up also prevents effective printing. For example, when pumps are trying to suck ink from the head, if there is build-up, the pumps end up sucking air (totally or partially).
- From time to time users must check the status of their print head nozzle plates.
- Most importantly, verify that no dried or gelled ink has built up around the plate edges, as this can cause the capping to work improperly (not seal).
- When dirty nozzle plates are encountered, clean with swabs that have been plunged into flush.
- Clean all the edges and the plate, rinsing several times and using as many swabs as needed to prevent dirty ones from spreading gelled or dried ink all around. If nozzle plates are really dirty, you can move the carriage all the way left and remove the printer cover to gently clean plates with Flush-soaked wipes. Be careful and change wipes often.
- The wiper is an essential part of the cleaning process and its effectiveness. Before, during and after cleaning cycles, print heads are wiped off by a rubber blade. Wipers collect the excess ink from the nozzle plate.
- Wipers must have a straight edge to work correctly, which requires cleaning three times a day (minimum).
- End users must pay attention and keep the wiper and the housing clean and free of gelled ink or dried pigment build-up, dust and debris. Clean any gelled ink from the wiper housing.
- We suggest changing the wiper often. (New wiper = ($3.20), New print head = $1000)
- Using our special material blades, which are not affected by solvent inks, increases performance.
The quality of an ink is derived from its formulation, specifications, raw materials, and quality control procedures.
The specific components of the ink formulation would include such things as pigments, solvents, resins, and binders. Every ink formulation is unique based on print head type and printer characteristics.
- Particle Size: All of Triangle Digital’s inks are submicron.
- Surface Tension: Determined by the print head which usually is between 27-32 dynes.
- Viscosity: Viscosity requirement are determined by the type of print head for which the ink is formulated.*
- Rheology: All pigmented inks are thixotropic by nature. When formulating an ink, it is important to take into consideration rheology and the ink train.
Triangle Digital’s IQC (Incoming Quality Control) Program ensures consistency and reliability in all raw materials entering the production facility. Being the second largest manufacturer of digital inkjet inks, Triangle Digital often sets the standards for raw material suppliers globally.
Triangle Digital has a progressive Quality Control Program which ensures consistency and reliability from batch to batch. More than 37 measurements are taken during production, filling, and post manufacturing to guarantee consistent jettability, color, viscosity, and aging.
Digital prints are made up of many colors. Use of more colors will offer a wider color gamut when printing.
Primary Colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK). Inkjet ink’s standard color gamut is larger than standard SWAP color.
Light Colors: Using light versions of primary colors will give higher print quality. Light colors are typically 12-15% of the density of the dark colors.
Secondary Colors: Also known as “intermediate” colors. These are typically orange, green and purple. There is a very low demand for these types of colors due to limitations in pre-press and RIP technology.
The outdoor durability of a print is determined by many things but no limited to: pigments quality, and raw materials used in product formulation and production. Triangle Digital has made a commitment to high quality and consistency.
- Quality Pigments will provide a quality product with increased protection against UV light and basic elements of the outdoors. Triangle Digital secures its raw materials from only the industry’s top suppliers to ensure 100% quality.
- Triangle Digital typically will warrant solvent based ink for up to 2 years durability outdoors; 3 if using a recommended ClearFlex UV coating.
In the Wide Format market, Triangle Digital has superior formulation in our Mild Solvent inks, offering much greater adhesion to uncoated media. The adhesion of an ink is determined by the binders and the solvents used in the ink formulation.
The key issues that affect printability are dry time, ink starvation, overspray, wetting, and platen temperature.
This is determined by the evaporation rate of the ink and the solvent retention by the media. When formulating an ink, the following need to be considered: head type and speed of the printer into which the head is being integrated. Developing a properly matched system will limit downtime and increase production output.
This occurs when ink is not flowing to the head correctly. In many cases, temperature has forced the viscosity out of specification.
This occurs due to improper droplet formation caused by either improper voltage to the head, print speed not matched, or a change in viscosity. Often you will see this on the sides of prints or in white text. Another term for this would be satellites.
This is a direct effect of the surface tension of a substrate not matching that of the ink set. Using the proper media, with the correct settings and the RIP to minimize over inking, will generally resolve this issue.
The temperature should be set differently for each media using the lowest possible temperature to ensure longer print head life. Too high of a temperature will result in the ink drying too fast, often leading to clogged print heads.
Ink Shelf Life
Inkjet ink generally has a shelf life of approximately one year. This was a major issue in the industry as aging resulted in sedimentation. Storage conditions are an essential part of maintaining an ink’s jettability. Please see labels for proper storage conditions. All digital inks should be kept on a shelf, at least one meter off of the floor. Once a bottle has been opened, it is important to retighten the lid to keep evaporation from occurring.
Ink viscosity varies with temperature. The higher the temperature, the lower the viscosity. This is the reason why ink should be kept at an ambient temperature for several hours before using in any printer. Room temperature should be kept between 18°C and 25°C. A higher or lower temperature could lead to overspray or starvation as the ink’s viscosity will change. For example, there could be a difference of 3 centipoise for an ink at 23°C whose is standard temperature is 27°.