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Mutoh Valuejet cap tops...

Discussion in 'Mutoh' started by FatCat, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    Just wanted to pass along a little information that may be helpful to those who maintain their own ValueJet printers...

    As many are aware, keeping your ink train - cap top, maintenance station and drain lines clean and in good shape is PARAMOUNT to good quality printing on ValueJet printers. Instead of swapping out entire maintenance stations at the cost of $600 +/-....I have gotten into the habit of just replacing the cap top. Normally, this seems to fix any issues I have - apparently the rubber seal wears down, or just wears out from solvent and normal use and no longer makes a good seal. (If you fire your machine up from sitting overnight and notice nozzles missing, this is a good place to start checking) So a few weeks ago I started noticing nozzle dropout in both magenta and black channels - these are often first to show if you're not getting a good seal around the head with the cap top. So I replaced the cap top with one of 2 that I had on the shelf. NOTE - both cap tops were aftermarket (non-OEM) that I had ordered from digiprint or somewhere. Even after replacing the captop I still had problems getting good nozzle checks and again, magenta and black were the most affected... I even went so far to throw the 2nd cap top in the machine just to be sure there wasn't a defect with the 1st...the problem still persisted.

    CONCLUSION: there is a noticeable difference in the performance of aftermarket vs. OEM cap tops. The pic below shows OEM on the left and aftermarket on the right. Just from "feel" alone, the OEM rubber seal is softer and more pliable - the aftermarket is hard and less flexible. Also, I noticed the rubber seal on the aftermarket is slightly taller...so spec is a little off as well. Price is about double or triple of the aftermarket, but honestly, if it don't work - why buy it?
     

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  2. 4DPB

    4DPB New Member

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    Are you back up with the original?
     
  3. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Thanks for the tip. As a new owner of a 1624x I want to learn all I can.
     
  4. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    Yes, the shape/size and difference in the hardness/softness of the rubber gasket apparently makes quite the difference.
     
  5. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    How hard is it to replace the cap top. Is there a simple trick to removing the old one, Mutoh Valuejet 1204.
     
  6. RG

    RG Member

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    Everything that FatCat said is spot on. I have a six-year-old 1204 and the main problem I have had with it is the pump tubing. Four months after I bought it, the pump tubes were completely clogged. It was under warranty, so they sent me a new MS. By then I was tired of the waste ink tray. So, I replaced it with a waste ink bottle. Of course, I had to also put in a drain bottle for the spit box. The pump tubing going to the waste bottle was longer, which was OK because I like to see the ink in the tubes going into the bottle when I do a cleaning. But, the longer tubes held more residual waste ink and made it easier for them to clog up because of air getting in the tubes. So, I started using 2 syringes, each with about 2ml of cleaning fluid, and pushing the fluid from the bottom of the pump tubing up into the cap top and them pinching off the tubes over night. If I push too much fluid into the cap top, I just sop it up with a piece of Scott towel. Fluid left standing in the cap top can lead to cross contamination. The first time I started doing this every day, the MS and cap top lasted about 2 years. And I haven't had a pump tube get stopped up in the last 5 years. I also use a swab and cleaning fluid to moisten the rubber on the cap top after I turn the printer off for the day.
    As for replacing the cap top, it's not that easy for me, but it is doable. You need to push down on the right side of the cap top until it slips off the rail-like track that holds it in place. That's always worked for me.
     

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  7. premiercolour

    premiercolour Sales and services from S. California

    Lots of good information FatCat and RG provided. Thanks for doing that!

    We, Premier Colour Inc is a merchant member and authorized Mutoh dealer from southern California.

    Here is the link to OEM Cap Top for 628, 1204, 1304, 1324,1604, 1614, 1624, 1608, 1628, 1638, 2638.
    This item will be shipped from Mutoh warehouse in Arizona. Order by 11 am pst to ship on the same business day. Choose next day shipping to arrive next day.
    https://www.premiercolour.com/products/original-cap-top-for-mutoh-valuejet-printer-dg-41179

    Here is the link to OEM Ink Cartridges
    This item will be shipped from our southern California warehouse. Order by 5 pm pst to ship on the same business day. Choose next day shipping to arrive next day.
    220ML ECO ULTRA
    440ML ECO ULTRA
     
  8. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    JB - it's hard to describe. As RG stated, you have to push the back right corner where the front left pops up and give it a little twist or wiggle it free. Realize there is a big tension spring underneath it, so keep hold when it comes free. Also, you have the 3 drain lines that run up through the spring. TIP: Make CERTAIN you get the drain lines hooked up correctly - if you get them backwards, or get the 3rd line - which I believe is simply an air bleed line - crossed with a pump line then it won't work right and you'll be cussing and wondering what the heck is going on....ask me how I know this, lol.
     
  9. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    Thank you both, RG & FC for the inside info, will try and change out.
     
  10. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    My buddy that used to work for me (running hp l25500) moved away and started working elsewhere with a solvent machine (Some sort of valujet). We would still talk all the time, and he would complain about cleaning the printer, but I never actually comprehended I guess. This all seems like a crazy amount of maintenance, is this par for mutoh's or all solvent printers?
     
  11. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    Replacing the cap top once every year or two is not what I would consider "crazy" maintenance on any machine. Once you've done it a time or two it takes less than 10 minutes total.

    As far as maintenance goes on a solvent machine, keeping them clean is the most important maintenance you can perform. A solvent printer sitting idle is it's own worst enemy, so keeping them running is a good thing so that things can't dry up. Even still, I would have no problem shutting mine down for a week and coming back after vacation, firing them up and after a few cleaning cycles, be back up and running with no issues. The eco-solvent inks are very forgiving compared to the old school mild or full solvent machines.
     
  12. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    I see, reading the posts on this kind of stuff, I had imagined this must be a frequent operation, but rather it is an operation every owner has to perform at some point? I'm grateful we went latex, we have frequent dead times in the print side of production. It's not common to go a week without touching it, then turn around and run 2 rolls through it, or 2 feet. And my maintenance is limited to this $100+ cartridge I shove in it...
     
  13. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    Yes, we have 3 Mutoh 1624x machines and each one of them runs daily. Regular maintenance for us involves a cleaning of the machine weekly (wipe around print head, cap top and flush lines with some solvent) which takes about 10 minutes or maybe twice a week if it's running hard, and then a monthly PM which involves the same plus wiping down the gantry bearing raceways and re-greasing/lubing to keep everything in top shape. (Takes about 20 minutes) I know lots of people who don't do much in the way of maintenance on their machines, but I try to stick to the manufacturers schedule and keep my machines as clean as possible. *My oldest machine is over 3 years old, still has a perfect nozzle check and original printhead in it that has had the headlife counter reset...so YMMV.

    There is a lot of "information" floating around this site and others which typically has a negative vibe towards either print system. I look at both as a tool, neither good nor bad. But in the end, I prefer solvent (for now) based on how we work and what we do. Some of the reasons I haven't moved to Lated; I've heard and seen the Latex machines have troubles printing smooth pastels and other light shades/colors. I've heard and seen that if you're running a big job (Box truck or semi trailer wrap) with lots of solid color panels and you have to change a printhead for one of the colors in the middle of the run it's very hard to keep the remaining panels from not showing a color shift. I've also heard/read that while the HP Latex heads and other items are user replaceable, it seems from many on here that they are replaced very frequently - often too frequently which adds to the cost of operation of those machines. Lastly, I have heard and seen that every time you load and unload the HP Latex machines you waste a pretty good chunk of material...which isn't a big deal if you're running full rolls all day, every day. But many times we'll change materials as often as 3-4 times a day on each machine depending on what kind of jobs are coming in. So that is also a negative for us. Again, not bad-mouthing latex at all, just from what I know and understand at the moment, we are probably better sticking with what we have. That may change down the road as the technology changes.
     
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  14. RG

    RG Member

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    That's some really good info on the Latex printers, FatCat. It's about time for me to upgrade from the 1204 printer. I have already decided against a Latex for some of the reasons you listed, plus I don't have a 220v outlet where the printer has to go and I don't keep the humidity really low in my print room. Looks like my next printer will be an Epson. I just wish that Epson has a 54" printer in their SureColor "S" class.
     
  15. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Not necessarily trying to promote/defend the latex, or dump on the solvents, but I'd like to address the issues.
    Wasting material is the worst, on my hp 560, if I do not have enough material (pretty much only calendared materials that warp under heat) run out to stay 'relaxed' while the printer warms up before a print, it will either crash or scrape, both being a failure on the print. The extra foot or so comes in handy when laminating though, as we tend to go a day between laminating prints, the arlon 3420 that I use tends to have a glue line where the liner and the lam where left separated. I prefer to run that off before I laminate my new print, so I mount my new print, run the remainder of the old print through to get the glue line out, then lam my print, but leave the last 1'-2' in the laminator for the next time I start a lamination.
    Color, while I know my reds aren't super red, it is superior to my last printer. I've never experienced issues with consistency, but I've never replaced a printhead between panels on a job. That would seem like poor foresight to a degree, as the printheads last quite a while and don't tend to 'fail', just drop out over time, so I'd imagine you'd notice before you get ready for a 150' run. We also do not do a terrific amount of color matching for end users, so its hard to have someone complain about pms 201 not being spot on because they don't tend to have a pms book, though I have matched plenty of pms colors with the onboad spectro and onyx.
    My biggest pro that is the only one I know for certain is the benefit of printing and laminating the same day. I print and install the same day all the time, either onto materials for production or for print only jobs, and the time it saves me is incredible. Before we had a printer we would order local prints, and even if he could run it right then, we couldn't get it for another day or two. I myself have noticed that I'm doing myself a disservice if I wait a couple of days to laminate, it would seem that the backing slowly absorbs back moisture that the printer dried out of it, giving me a (very slightly mind you) wave in materials as they go through the laminator, just enough that you have to watch and adjust tension continuously. If it's the same day, none of the same issues tend to arise.
    I can not say as far as consumables go whether we replace stuff more frequently, but in my situation, printing seldomly as opposed to primarily, the longevity of the machine in an idle state is a must, and therefore the machine makes the most sense for us.

    I got a new AC unit when we got the printer, and it was good. After 6 months we got a dehumidifier and it was great. Not to knock your print room setup, but if you have the room air conditioned, it might be prudent to look at adding one. Aside from the materials behaving more consistently, the room feels incredible, though it slows production because nobody wants to walk out of 70 deg 10% humidity into 85 deg 100% humidity...
     
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