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How to correctly maintain UV printer?

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by Bappy, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Bappy

    Bappy New Member

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    Hello

    I've recently purchased my first UV printer. I've never used a UV printer before but understand a high level of maintenance is required to avoid clogs. Before I setup my printer up for first use, I want to be sure I know the correct maintenance procedures, but various online articles and videos I've come across are often conflicting.

    For example some maintenance videos show the user cleaning the whole printhead surface using lint free swab or cloth, where as others advise you should never touch the printhead surface. If anyone could give a guide to correct maintenance or point me in the right direction, this would be much appreciated thank you.

    Also, I desperately need to know how to correctly store the printer when it will not be in use sometimes for between 3-4 weeks? As yet I've not come across any guides for this.

    Thank you
     
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  2. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    Every printer is different, with different print heads and different maintenance needs.
    What brand and model is it? Did it not come with on-site training?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Bappy

    Bappy New Member

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    I understand, so just looking for general guidance, in particular if it is ok to clean the printhead surface directly or not, and how to store UV printer for when not in use for 3-4 weeks? It's a Chinese import with XP600 printhead.
     
  4. Solventinkjet

    Solventinkjet DIY Printer Fixing Guide

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    I don't have experience with that head but will tell you that, for example Epson head surfaces are made with Teflon and have fairly sensitive nozzles and they recommend not touching the nozzle surface. A Ricoh head surface is made out of aluminum and they do recommend cleaning the surface but not swiping only dabbing. So it depends on the makeup of the head.

    In general though, keep the cap tops and wipers clean. Dust is the biggest problem over time with these machines as it mixes with the ink to make a sort of cement. Once it's like that it's much harder to clean. And for the surface of the head you should be ok to clean the part that contacts the cap top but I can't tell you about the nozzle area.
     
  5. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Your profile shows you have NO experience whatsoever in or on anything. Why would you purchase a machine with no tech support or any reliable help ??

    Like mentioned, they're all different. So, general guidance would be find someone who services these printers (and fast, cause you're gonna need them) and have them stop by your shop and give you some on-site training. It's more than just whipping something up in Corel and hitting print. Our printer you purge before each use and wipe all 6 heads clean. Sometimes ya hafta do it in between prints, too. All depends on your machine and how temperamental it is.
     
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  6. JetPress

    JetPress Member

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    Mimaki user here. I do daily maintenance and clean the ink off the capping station edges and wiper at the end of the day. Don't use cotton swabs because you don't that stuff getting stuck in your machine. I use foam tip swabs. At the end of the week I will clean around the print head but not on the surface of it.
     
  7. Sindex Printing

    Sindex Printing Member

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    I run a Mutoh. We do out daily maintenance once sometimes twice a day.
    I do mine first thing in the morning.
    1st I shake the ink cartridges
    2nd select the daily maintenance.
    3rd I clean the maintenance station and wiper assembly and spray the pads and the caps with cleaner.
    4th clean the uv lamps including the heat sinks.
    5th clean around the print heads and the ramps next to the heads.
    6th check and clean where the carriage assembly rides.
    7th check the waste tank and empty as needed.
    8th strong head clean
    9th nozzle check

    For long term storage (over a week) I use offset printing pads and soak them in cleaner and place them between the caps and the head.
     
  8. Superior_Adam

    Superior_Adam Member

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    We run 3 different UV printer brands here. Both Mimaki's we clean the head surface with a foam swab soaked in their cleaning solution. Both EFI printers we use a lint free cleanign cloth and their cleaning solution. We also run 2 UV printers from Inkcups with the same cleaning. Granted these are all Ricoh heads but have been UV printing for 7 years now and now issues. The biggest thing is these machines are meant to run not sit idle. If these are run and maintained daily heads wont clog.
     
  9. greysquirrel

    greysquirrel Active Member

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    certainly rolling the dice with a Chinese printer...it had to have shipped with some form of maintenance card, no? Whose inks are you using? Maybe the ink manufacturer could shed some light as to what they can be cleaned with if they are able to be touched. One and Fugi have an semi-automatic swedish pump thing and most others can be wiped with flush(not alcohol)...
     
  10. jimmmi

    jimmmi Member

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    Can you post the model of the printer? XP600 is pretty cheap and this is big advantage
     
  11. Michael-Nola

    Michael-Nola I print things. It is very exciting.

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    UV ink printers require the least maintenance of any design. This is why most of the industry has gravitated to the technology. That said, the XP600 is not remotely designed for UV ink use which is why your googling probably lead you to descriptions of how horrible the maintenance is on that machine. Lots of Chinese designs are UV retrofits which fail horribly - this is why the Chinese printers have such a bad reputation. In this case, that design is a retrofit - there is simply NO way to make that design workable. It will fail quickly and often. There is NO solution - it is absolutely not a functioning design.

    I hate to be flat out negative ... but I would say that printer is not a viable solution to use at all. The further you go into it, the more money you will lose.

    There's nothing wrong with having no experience - we all started that way. But you need to have a proper plan to succeed. So you bought a printer, did you buy any finishing devices? Did you hire someone who does know about this industry? One of the benefits of being an owner is hiring great help to make you successful - you don't have to know everything! If you're still in the early stages of entrepreneurship without the checkbook backing to help yourself ... I would think launching into an industry you know nothing about without the ability to hire the help you need ... was not a plan.

    If you give us the printer model, what you're trying to achieve, your background, or any more information - the regulars on here will often be pretty full of sound advice to help you out.
     
  12. SignMeUpGraphics

    SignMeUpGraphics Moderator

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    I can't agree with the above. Our UV machine requires massively more maintenance compared to our solvent (once a month clean) and aqueous (never cleaned in 11 years) printers.
     
  13. Michael-Nola

    Michael-Nola I print things. It is very exciting.

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    What UV machine do you have? I am curious because that's not the selling point on the UV technology to the industry. It certainly wasn't the "advantages" of UV ink when it first came out! (It was god-awful!) The technology has had a long struggle to become really viable for print durability, versatility, stretchability, and more, however the convenience from the production side in calibration simplicity as well as maintenance made it stand the test of time. Any decent UV printer really should not require nearly the maintenance of any solvent. And aqueous is a totally different technology and use-case scenario so there's not much point in comparing.

    There are certainly some UV printers that are a maintenance nightmare ... but that is usually because of a design issue. Early generations suffer from retrofit designs, other are just lemon designs. But in general, UV is a tank design. I don't think you'll find many people that will say solvent was less maintenance than UV ...
     
  14. SignMeUpGraphics

    SignMeUpGraphics Moderator

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    • Like Like x 1
  15. Michael-Nola

    Michael-Nola I print things. It is very exciting.

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    Ah well that's true in your case. That build (Oce/Canon/Fuji) is a major maintenance hog. That's not a chemistry issue however, that's design. On top of maintenance, they are notoriously slow and temperamental. You have your work cut out for you getting production moving on those machines.
    Funny enough ... it's been like 15 years since that build was introduced?? Wow time flies. I was just talking to them about this last week. They're currently in the mode of blowing out sale prices on their machines (heads up everyone, don't pay more than 50% MSRP on new flatbeds!) and I was asking when they were going to finally step back in the ring with a modern design.

    Turns out they have 2 new designs coming out as soon as all the old stuff is sold off. The prototype builds looked really promising!
     
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  16. Bappy

    Bappy New Member

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    Jun 14, 2020
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    Wow great response thanks guys. I fully appreciate your concerns but no need to worry as this is only a desktop UV printer, not as expensive as the large printers you might have imagined, and so great way to dip my toes in. I will only be doing small runs so a huge expensive machine would be a waste at this point. I've done my research before purchase and I do understand that it's retrofit, but I can still try my best to mitigate clogs by good maintenance. I went with XP600 as it's cheap to replace vs say DX5, DX7 etc and supply is plentiful. Whether that turns out to be false economy time will tell, but it's a calculated risk that I've prepared for.

    As above I will only be doing small runs, so my main concern is long term storage (3+ weeks sometimes). I've found some guides that advise using 'protection fluid' or 'storage solution', but I can't find many places selling this. Not sure if it's actually the same as UV cleaning solution or not, however this screenshot suggests it is different...

    [​IMG]

    Here is video showing application...



    I found storage solution on their store, $25 for 100ml which seems expensive. Do you guys know of anywhere else selling this solution please, or indeed if this is the correct way to store printer long term? If it is not the correct way to store for 3+ weeks, what is your method please?

    Is it necessary to wear uv safety goggles when operating uv printer when cover is fully in place? I've googled this subject a lot, but there is very little documentation on this and the little info I've found simply states the jury is out on whether it's necessary or not. Is the reflected UV dangerous? Do you guys wear safety goggles?

    Thanks guys!
     
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