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Discussion How long did your second/replaced printhead last?

Discussion in 'Mimaki' started by Lady Who, Jul 15, 2020.

How long did your replaced printhead last?

Poll closed Aug 14, 2020.
  1. Less than 2 years

    1 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. 2-3 years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. 4+ years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Lady Who

    Lady Who Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    Brazil
    Hi there!
    After only 2 years of buying a brand new machine (CJV150), I'll need to replace the printhead, apparently, there's some internal damage that got 2 entire lines missing and no tech can solve this issue. For what I've been learning, 2 years of lifetime is too short for this part.

    And I'm wondering: if the printhead I got with the machine lasted only 2 years, how likely is the printhead bought separatedly to last even less? Can replacing or not also the memory board interfere with it?

    Thanks
     
  2. Joe House

    Joe House Active Member

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    Feb 5, 2004
    WA
    HI Lady Who,

    I'm not a Mimaki guy, but deal with other printers that use the DX7 head and similar heads. Life expectancy is affected by many things. Proper maintenance and regular replacement of consumables is high on the list. Also I've found that these heads tend to fail sooner on printers that are not used regularly and frequently. There are also issues that can happen "Up the line" from the print head that can cause them to fail as well. Electrical surges, fades and bad boards or cables can cause failures. You can also count on head strikes to shorten the life of your printhead.
    The number that most frequently gets thrown out for print head life expectancy is the "Mean time to failure" mark of 6 billion shots per channel. This simply means that half of the print heads will fail before 6 billion shots and half of them will fail after at least one channel has reached 6 billion shots. It sounds like you might be in the first group I'm sorry to say.
    There really is no "time" factor. I've got customers who get 30 billion shots in less than 2 years before they see issues with the printhead, but they are running at least 2 shifts per day, but they have us replacing caps, wipers and felts every 6 months.
    As they say in the states..."Your mileage may vary"

    How much do you actually print? What ink are you using? Do you replace consumables at the recommended times? Do you keep the printer clean? Is the environment stable and withing the recommended parameters? Is your power supply clean?

    I hope that something here might give you a clue as to why your print head doesn't last as long as you'd like.

    Good Luck
     
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  3. Lady Who

    Lady Who Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    Brazil
    Hi Joe HouseJoe House, thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. You sure gave me a clue to find out what went wrong.
    As for the questions to consider:

    1) I didn't used to print much, about 20 feet a day, sometimes more, but last year was the worst ever, machine would stay sometimes 4 days idle. This year things are better, but anyways, I am "a one woman online shop", work all alone and there's a lot of work besides printing
    • How much at least should I print per day, to make the new printhead last more? ​

    2) I use original SS21 ink

    3) Wiper was replaced 3 times and cap 1 time after 1 y and 10 months, because tech said it wasn't necessary before.
    • What are the recommended times?
    • And what do you mean by felts? The dust filters behind the machine or the white foam around the station?​

    4) Yes, I keep it clean, except on the weekend, when it's sitting idle. Actually, I used to do weekly 60 minutes nozzles washes... maybe these too many washes shortened the printhead life?
    • Should I clean it even during the weekends and longer holidays?
    • When do I know it's time for a nozzle wash?​

    5) I think I've been neglecting a little the environment conditions, I don't even have a hygrometer, but I know for perception that humidity is usually about 70% (outside is higher, but I keep the print room closed). In the summer, I keep temp at 24º C, but it reaches 29ºC in the room at night, when air conditioner is off
    • Should I keep the air conditioner on during the summer nights?​

    6) Machine is plugged into a nobreak with all required specifications, so, I think power supply is ok

    I want to start doing things right from now on, I'm a one woman business, in a third world country, can't afford a new printhead every 2 years.

    Thank you, I really appreciate all your help :)
     
  4. Joe House

    Joe House Active Member

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    Feb 5, 2004
    WA
    Hey there, I'm happy to help where I can.
    1.) I don't really have a magic number for how much should be printed, only the observation over the years that my customers who print more tend to get more prints out of a printhead - all other things being equal.

    2.) I'm a fan of using original inks. It takes a variable out of a situation like this. I do know that there are good options out there, but there are (or at least have been) some pretty poor choices for third party inks.

    3.) Realize that this is coming from a Roland and Mutoh tech, so not everything applies to Mimaki here. A 6 month replacement schedule on cap tops is what is recommended by both manufacturers, and I generally tell people from experience that if it goes beyond a year it is more likely to be the source of problems. I think somewhere in a 6 - 12 month replacement schedule should keep the caps and therefore the heads in good shape. Again, how well you maintain it will have a strong bearing on it's effectiveness. Roland printers that use that head also have a felt "wiper" that is used during cleaning to keep the ends of the print head clean. You may not have this on your printer - it sounds like you don't.

    4.) Nozzle wash is not a term I'm familiar with. If that is what I call a head soak, I only recommend doing that when the nozzle test pattern shows deflections or missing nozzles. It's not a routine thing for printers that I sell and service. And I'm not sure of the recommended maintenance schedule for your printer.
    I tell my customers to clean their printers at least weekly. This involves using cleaning solution for the ink used (never alcohol or other off the shelf solvents) and swabs to clean dried ink from around the print head and the cap top and cleaning the wiper. If they notice some strong buildup on that schedule I recommend to do it twice a week.

    5.) Here's what I could find on Mimaki environmental requirements:
    Confirm an ambient temperature is within its specification
      Accuracy guarantee range:
        Ambient temperature 20~25°C
        Relative humidity 35~65%Rh (with no condensation)
    So it sounds like you may be on the edge. You can get graphing thermometer/hygrometer devices that will track over time, but you can usually find a cheap model that you can at least look at to confirm the current situation. As far as temps at night go, it's probably not too critical, just remember that you should allow enough time for your printer and media to acclimate to the production temp before you start printing. Depending on how great the difference is, this could take an hour or two after the room has settled in to daytime temperature.

    I applaud you for wanting to do things the right way and for wanting to learn. keep it up. I wish you all the best.

     
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  5. iPrintStuff

    iPrintStuff Prints stuff

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    Sep 3, 2018
    United Kingdom
    As the other guy said, it’s all about how it’s used, maintained etc but you’re always a head strike away from a new printhead.

    Have you ever looked into subbing the work out and focusing on selling/marketing your product(s). I fully get that you probably like control over quality and timescales but if you aren’t making enough money to buy a new print head every two years, which isn’t *that* unreasonable. It might be worth looking into subbing out.

    You can do the designs etc then when someone orders one, someone else handles it. Less hassle for you, too!
     
  6. Lady Who

    Lady Who Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    Brazil
    Hi Joe HouseJoe House , thank you for all your help and for sharing you experience and knowledge, it is precious for me and I'm sure your reply may help lots of people here.

    I like original ink too, SS21 smells good and has incredible pigmentation, maybe I couldn't keep running with 2 lines missing and little loss of quality for these 5 months if it wasn't for the great ink.
    And my machine doesn't have this kind of felt you said.
    Yes, nozzle wash is the Roland's head soak. I don't even know why I included this as a weekly rotine, the manual doesn't tell you when to nozzle wash. And because nozzle wash parameters are between 1 to 99 minutes, I thought 45 to 60 was a good number.

    I'm definitely following your advices. Again, thank you so much, you helped me a lot! :)
     
  7. Lady Who

    Lady Who Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    Brazil
    Hi iPrintStuffiPrintStuff , thank you for your reply. Yes, you're right in a general sense, I used to outsource the production before buying this machine in 2018. And from the financial point of view, that's the right thing to do when you're not selling well, like I was in 2019, but back in 2018, sales were rising and I was willing to move cities

    So, I'll share why outsourcing wouldn't work for me (notice I'm in Brazil, things and people may be different in other places and my business is home decor, wallpaper and wall decals)

    • I came to the conclusion that it's totally risky to build and market something which will depend a 100% on others to be delivered, this worked for a while though, until I "got the depth of the water". The print shop will eventually rise the prices when they notice you're selling well and when they see for how much you sell your stuff. Back then, I'd hide the name of my shop and products at all costs, this is how I could keep outsourcing with the same guy for 1 and half year before buying my machine. But today, it's very easy to find the origin of images if you research, so, it's all useless

    • There's a good chance the print shop will sell jobs with your artwork... you take hours, sometimes days creating something, they get those best seller items for free and can sell cheaper online and offline, so, eventually your sales of the item will fall and you're not the only one who has that product anymore

    • Good print quality and materials are essential in decor products, and it's not very easy to find it 'round here, no one will change profiles or print conditions to match your demands, and I understand them, most win on quantity, not quality

    • And the greatest reason is life style. I bought this machine especially to be able to move to a small city and to be free to live wherever I want, with no worries if there would be a printshop near there to print my stuff. And also I'm kind of a loner

    The business of my dream would be like you said, focusing on creation and marketing and have other people printing. My idea was to sell online, send the production to a local shop near the buyer's address so the buyer could pick up the job there. This way I wouldn't need to print, could live anywhere, and there wouldn't be a concentration of my artwork in a single print shop, they wouldn't see how much something sells. But I only needed 3 phone calls to realize this would never work: one guy didn't work with matte vinyl; the other would price the jobs according to the available sizes including losses and not by square meter like most... and not to mention no control over the packaging, warranty of products, quality of materials etc

    I don't know if it's a brazilian thing, but I realized the print shop guys I worked before used to get really troubled when they learnt I was making more money than they were on that jobs they were printing... greed rises, partnership ends and there I go, look for another shop. Of course, nobody likes being "explored", but hey, they gave the price knowing I was reselling, why is it so troubling when things start taking off?

    As for the printhead, yes, maybe it's reasonable to replace it every 2 years. My business model is about high lucrativity over quantity, it's just the circunstances, that last year was the worst ever, I had some losses and the price is being charged now, that's why it seems so expansive to buy a new printhead. And don't forget I live in a third world country + the worst president of the planet
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
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  8. micadesign

    micadesign New Member

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    Apr 16, 2015
    portugal
    bolzo fora!!!

    Lady WhoLady Who how i understand you...!
     
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