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Mutoh VJ 1614 - Vertical Banding - Dealer No Help

Discussion in 'Mutoh' started by jimmyheartcore, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. jimmyheartcore

    jimmyheartcore Member

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    Hey guys, I was advised in the Newbies forum to repost this here.

    I am in need of some advice on our current situation. Be warned, it is a long and boring story, but we're kind of at the end of our rope and need some advice.

    I have been working at my current job for a little over a month. My employers purchased a brand new Mutoh ValueJet 1614 last August, and have been experiencing a lot of problems. Most notably, a vertical banding issue that is prevalent and consistent. The ironic thing is that the 1614 has a "Wave Pattern Technology" that is supposed to eliminate banding. The dealer has led us through many possibilities in regards to the issue, including using crappy material, improper settings, and incorrect ICC profiles. None of these issues have fixed the problem. It is part of my job here to figure all of this out and get this printer properly running.

    Come to find out, when the printer was delivered 10 months ago all of the shock sensors were broken. The driver signed off on this, and it was reported to the dealer immediately. The sale associate instructed us to accept the shipment, and said he was noting it in our file.

    Over several months we reported various issues with the printer to the dealer, the most predominant being the vertical banding issue. When I began here, I had never seen an issue like the banding they were experiencing. It was very sporadic but consistent at the same time. It wasn't lining up to the rollers, nor the fan/vacuums. I became very proactive about fixing the issue when I started here.

    We have had techs come out several times to fix the printer, but the problem is never fixed. Though different things will make the print improved, they just seem to act as a band-aid on the issue.

    This is my employers' first printer and after reporting the shock sensors they set up the printer and it appeared to be doing fine. After printing for a couple weeks they realized that the vertical banding was happening, and put in a support ticket for it. The dealer led them around all of the different issues (material, settings, etc.) and my employers thought it was something they were doing wrong, not the printer, because the dealer led them to believe that.

    The dealer recently sent a tech out to service the machine (who works directly for the dealer, not Mutoh), after which we decided that adjusting the head height and slant improved the print considerably, but the bands were still visible. He assured us that with the information about the damaged shipment, and his reputation and service history at Mutoh, he would be able to get us a working replacement sent out. He apologized for the issue not being fixed sooner, and told us how the sales person who sold us the machine was fired months ago for not properly performing his job.

    The tech returned back to the dealer, and his boss wrote us a letter stating that they are "not prepared to take any additional actions and this matter will be considered resolved". However, the issue isn't resolved, and the printer is still under warranty -- it is still printing those awful vertical bands.

    We are running out of time on the 1-year warranty, and short on ideas.

    My employers are very upset with our dealer currently, and it seems like whenever I try and get help directly from Mutoh they either plainly ignore me or forward me to the dealer (who isn't helping much).

    What do you guys think we should try?

    Here are a couple of photos of the banding:
    wadervbanding01.jpg

    wadervbanding02.jpg

    The banding issue is less apparent in some colors. We have lost customers, and have comped orders due to the printer's output. Some of the prints come out okay, like I said -- it all depends on the colors. But even in the prints that are "okay" the banding is still there. A customer might not notice it, because they don't know to look for it. But I see it, and that is bad enough.

    Thank you in advance for your insight.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2009
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  2. jimmyheartcore

    jimmyheartcore Member

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    After reading numerous threads on the forums, it is no surprise I am having issues with the dealer. I doubt it would be difficult to identify them.
     
  3. randya

    randya Very Active Member

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    If you dont get satisfaction from your dealer, you should contact Mutoh directly.

    You can email: support@mutoh.com, and tell them your story, include contact information, printer serial # and dealer info.

    If you have issues with support you can email the General Manager Randy Rickert: gm@mutoh.com

    Or you can PM me your contact information, your printer serial #, and your dealer information.
     
  4. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

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    WOW you need to get in their face and demand the support your entitled to!! I would fricken kill somebody if this happened to me, banding sucks. Crap you gotta say who the dealer is so we know who not to buy from. I would take a day and just call call call until someone could give you the answers you need. I know a mutoh dealer out here in Southern California but should be able to get the answers direct from the manufacturer. Good luck!!
     
  5. randya

    randya Very Active Member

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    In all fairness, this looks like banner material, which should be run in high head height.

    Vertical banding has a few possible sources,

    The material itself, heater temps.

    Vacuum from the fans, which can pull ink through porous media into the vaccum holes, which typically shows up in darker colors (heavy ink coverage).

    Machine related vertical banding is typically bi-directional timing adjustments, but can come from machine damage, bearings, too much or too little lubrication, and I know of one machine that was on a wooden floor that set up harmonic vibration between the printer and the floor and gave weird print anomolies.

    Bi-directional timing can be checked by running in uni-directional modes.

    Banding only in certain colors can be profile related, effect related (try Fine and Wave 2 or Fuzz wave patterns), I have also seen interactions from diffusion patterns used in the RIP ( we typically use Random or Error diffusion patterns for the RIP, but the Profile MUST be made with the diffusion pattern up front, you cant change it later and get reliable and predictable results.)

    It is not always easy to diagnose and isolate 'odd' issues.

    If it was that easy......
     
  6. jimmyheartcore

    jimmyheartcore Member

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    Randy, thank you for your response.

    We have ruled out the material, the problem is consistent across various substrates. I have gone through the full spectrum of heater temperatures, up and down all of them. The result is the same.

    As for the fans, I think that might be a material-specific problem as well, also the bands don't line up with the holes.

    We are running on uni-directional mode, in high head height. The banding is less apparent in low head height, however it is still present.

    It is possible that we have machine damage, but if it is the bearings I can't even see them well enough to tell if they are damaged. I have un-lubed and re-lubed the raceways as well.

    I've used all different wave patterns, and currently am using Super Fine and Wave B. This one shows the least amount of banding.
     
  7. randya

    randya Very Active Member

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  8. jimmyheartcore

    jimmyheartcore Member

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    Thank you again Randy, I wrote a 3 page e-mail to Mutoh explaining everything. Hopefully i wasn't too detailed ... heh.
     
  9. randya

    randya Very Active Member

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    Please let me know when you hear back from them.
     
  10. benjercorp

    benjercorp Member

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    It might be heaters or print head related... Try the following print a 1 M x 1M square containing the following yellow magenta cyan and black all 100% remember not to mix all the colors to get black you just need to print black,, that is to test which color is giving you the headache.
     
  11. ProWraps™

    ProWraps™ Guest

    looks like heaters to me.
     
  12. PSVGUY

    PSVGUY New Member

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    Jimmy, i am looking at getting a Mutoh would you share with me who the dealer is that you are talking about. I dont want to get bit.
     
  13. jimmyheartcore

    jimmyheartcore Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion! I have run that test before, a little bit smaller than a meter though -- that's a pretty giant area. I ran each color about 10 " high the full width of the roll with the same results across all colors.
     
  14. jimmyheartcore

    jimmyheartcore Member

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    It was GBC Sign Warehouse. The tech guys are really nice, and have been helpful -- but now that they've come out several times and the machine still isn't fixed, one of the managers is saying that they're "not prepared to take any additiontal actions and this matter will be considered resolved."

    It is frustrating that they're just giving up, we still have the issue -- ya know? And it's still under warranty. I just don't understand how they warranty something and can't / refuse to fix it.
     
  15. jimmyheartcore

    jimmyheartcore Member

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    Here is the letter I sent Mutoh, it outlines all of our problems:

    Hi,

    I was passed along your contact information as we have been having a very difficult time getting our Mutoh ValueJet 1614 fixed by our dealer, GBC Sign Warehouse.

    There is a lot of back story in this, so thank you in advance for taking time to read it all.

    Our company purchased a Mutoh ValueJet 1614 from GBC Sign Warehouse in August of 2008.

    Our decision to purchase the printer through Sign Warehouse was largely based on a very attractive offer by their company that included the VJ-1614, a laminator, and a plotter. Our salesperson through GBC Sign Warehouse was TK, who was very persistent in getting a commitment from us before a deadline for this particular sales offer.

    We agreed to the purchase and were assured by TK that after receiving our payment it would be 1 week before we took delivery of our new equipment. We sent our payment and waited for a week. After a few additional days, we called TK to get our status. We were informed at that point in time that our order would not be shipped complete. The VJ-1614 arrived another week later. The laminator did not arrive for several weeks.

    We were told that the hold up in shipping our products out were due to GBC Sign Warehouse having to unpack, test, and re-pack all of our equipment before shipment.

    When our printer arrived we noticed a large hole in the box, as well as all three shock-sensors being tripped. This was quite alarming to us, and Holger, one of my employers, called TK and explained our issue. We were assured by TK that Sign Warehouse would stand behind the product, and were instructed to accept the shipment. TK said he was noting the problem in our file. Holger signed for the shipment, and noted the damage on the shipping form, which the driver signed off on. When we set the printer up, everything seemed to be working fine so it didn’t occur to us that any long-term damage to the printer might have been done.

    The start of our printer issues began only a few weeks after the shipment came in, when we got in the swing of printing our jobs. We called GBC Sign Warehouse and let them know that we were experiencing vertical banding in our prints. We were led through a myriad of possibilities, resting the blame of the issues on everything from flawed materials, to the printer environment. At the time, there was not an experienced graphics / printing person working at Wade, and all we had to go on was the direction and ideas from GBC Sign Warehouse. We went through every possibility, and fixed everything they suggested. Several of these put a band-aid on the problem enough for us to get by whatever job we were stuck on, but the issue continually returned and became distinct.

    In May of 2009, after weeks of phone calls, prints, and several overnight packages, GBC Sign Warehouse realized that our issues weren’t related to materials, settings, the environment, etc. They sent a tech out to replace some parts on the machine, which included the head, the tubes, and the dampers.

    When this didn’t fix the problem, they replaced the maintenance assembly.

    A few weeks later, I started working here and became very proactive about fixing the printer. I spent many hours on the phone with RA and KM at GBC Sign Warehouse when I started. I went through various possibilities and procedures with them, and found that the issue was slightly corrected with some maintenance, but never went away.

    I also contacted BA and MB with Mutoh. My efforts to find some assistance were not well received at first. I explained that we were experiencing “vertical banding” that ran with the feed in the print. BA kept referring to the issue as “horizontal banding” – which it is not – and suggested solutions to fix that issue. I explained that the issue was the same on all materials, and that the issue was not corrected by any feed adjustment as he had been suggesting. I also sent various emails and even printed samples via FedEx Overnight. I heard nothing back for several days. Once I did get ahold of BA again, he sloughed the banding off as “cheap material” before referring us back to GBC Sign Warehouse – even though I told him previously that the issue is the same across all materials.

    My persistence with both GBC Sign Warehouse and Mutoh prompted GBC Sign Warehouse to send one of their own techs, KM, to service the machine. On the second day of trying to figure out what was wrong with the machine, he lowered the print head – something we had done a thousand times – and noticed that the print quality improved. With some adjustments to the head height and slant, he convinced himself that the problem was fixed.

    Then I pointed out the banding to him. He printed some more samples, and the banding was still present, though less noticeable. Holger, KM, and myself had a conversation about the delivery of the VJ-1614, the damaged shipment, and the ongoing issues we have been experiencing. KM seemed to believe that the printer was, in fact, either damaged before or damaged during shipment. He spoke with RA over the phone and RA verified that we had issues on the tech support concerning vertical banding at the beginning of October 2008, only a few weeks after installing the printer. There was, however, no note left from TK. Coincidentally, TK was fired within only a couple of weeks of our printer being delivered.

    Holger wrote a letter to GBC Sign Warehouse outlining our issues and ongoing problems with the printer. The closing remark in his letter was, “Please help us either permanently fix these problems, or replace the defective printer.”

    This prompted a letter written in reply from Mike Akard, the Technical Sales Manager over at GBC Sign Warehouse.

    The key points of his reply include:

    “I did take the opportunity to look over your account records and I was not able to find any remarks concerning any shipping damages.”

    We have the documentation from the day of the shipment that was signed off by the driver that states there was damage to the box and the shock-sensors were tripped. TK was fired shortly after our printer arrived, which is very inconvenient for us because now GBC Sign Warehouse is not willing to take responsibility for the negligence of the employee they found unfit to continue employing.

    “We cannot speak to TK to verify what may have took place so long ago. In addition the manufacturer will not authorize a replacement unit without substantial documentation that would indicate a defect that could not be repaired in the field under warranty.”

    If they cannot speak to TK, whom they fired, why will they not entertain the notion that he didn’t enter the note in the system? It seems as if they should be able to contact him and inquire about the shock sensors. I assume it isn’t a regular occurrence, and is probably a big deal to a sales person who just secured a $30,000 sale. Additionally, I submit to you that the countless hours spent with tech support at GBC Sign Warehouse and Mutoh, the continual printing of material with vertical banding, the repairs and service hours spent on the printer, the amount of wasted wages, the amount of wasted materials and ink, and the general dissatisfaction of our company and our customers with the quality of the prints are substantial documentation.

    “At this time Signwarehouse is not prepared to take any additional actions and this matter will be considered resolved.”

    Simply saying that the issue is “considered resolved” does not make it resolved. This machine is under warranty, and will continue to be for nearly two more months. We plan on purchasing the extended warranty as well. We are not being unreasonable in wanting a printer that works, and ask that you please help us either permanently fix these problems, or replace the defective printer.

    Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer us.
     
  16. trakers

    trakers Very Active Member

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    I looks to me like you have been very patient and through.

    SW has apparently given up so you should pursue the issue directly with the manufacturer, which you are now doing.

    Since Mutoh makes such a big deal about no banding in their ads I would think you have a valid complaint.

    I expect Mutoh will take care of you and everything will work out for the best.

    At one time I was in field service for a large company that manufactured large, expensive specialty items similar to these WF printers. I can tell you your best friend or worst enemy can be the service tech that tries to help you. They are humans just like we all are. I know while I strived to satisfy all customers, ones that treated me with respect had a better chance of a favorable outcome. I remember one that experienced a huge number of problems with a new $65,000 unit. I worked on that thing for days with no joy. I felt real bad for the people and fought for them until they received a new machine. In the end it was found that a manufacturing error (high-voltage capacitors built backwards) had caused all their problems.

    It is a fine line, but you as the customer can calmly express dissatisfaction with a products performance and also firmly stand your ground on getting a replacement unit when all legitimate attempts at service have failed.

    In your case, I read

    “At this time Signwarehouse is not prepared to take any additional actions and this matter will be considered resolved.”

    as a sign that SW is done, period. Follow up with Mutoh and I'll bet they help you out. If not your last recourse would be to take legal action. It seems you have a pretty solid case. You paid good money for a piece of equipment that is not performing not only to your expectations but to the level of quality that these machines are known to possess.

    We'll all be waiting to hear how it pans out for you.
    But I'll bet randya sees you are taken care of.

    Good luck.
    :smile:
    .
     
  17. John Butto

    John Butto Very Active Member

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    What program are you using to create artwork and what RIP. If you take your pink color and match it with a PMS color (not making it a CMYK or a spot color), does it still have bands. If it only happens with certain colors it is not the printer but the way you have set up your print with your art program and RIP. For example if you take a color in Illustrator and turn down the % it will happen with certain colors.
     
  18. Graphics2u

    Graphics2u Very Active Member

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    I think you have been extremely patient in trying to solve this problem.
    It's nice to see there are people who can calmly handle problems the way you are even though i'm sure it's really burning you and your boss.

    I think Mutoh will and should step up and take care of this for you, especially considering the way you are approaching the situation. i'm not sure I would be as calm as you are 8 or 9 months into a problem like this.

    Please keep us posted as to the outcome.
     
  19. jimmyheartcore

    jimmyheartcore Member

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    Update! I got an email reply from the Director of Sales at Mutoh. It seems that they are unwilling to help us by putting pressure GBC Sign Warehouse to deal with this problem adequately and carry out our warranty by repairing our machine to working order or replacing our machine with one that properly works.

    Dear Mr. Breen,

    Thank you for your inquiry. I spoke with our service manager and with Sign Warehouse. As far as the freight damage Mutoh can't help with that as it is between you, Sign Warehouse and the shipping company. Mutoh America Inc. does warrant your printer against defects in materials and workmanship but not shipping damage.

    Mike Akard at Sign Warehouse said that they have been out to your location and fixed the issues with the printer and has supporting signed documents (Note: I address this in my reply.) from you along with print samples from your printer showing it is working properly.

    If you have further warranty related issues with your printer please contact Mike Akard so he can assist you. If you would like to purchase an extended warranty he can also help you.


    Regards,

    Brian Phipps
    Director of Sales
    Mutoh


    My reply:

    Mr. Phipps,

    Have you seen the print samples? The print samples that were sent back to GBC Sign Warehouse would certainly not show that the printer was working properly.

    The printer may or may not have been damaged during shipment, but nonetheless, we are still without a properly working printer, which we paid tens of thousands of dollars for. It is very frustrating to know that neither the dealer or the manufacturer is willing to help us permanently correct and fix the issue, or explore the possibility of some neglect on the part of GBC Sign Warehouse in properly handling our complaint about shipping damage.

    I was emailing Keith only a couple of days after his visit to tell him that the printer was back to not printing properly again. My co-workers and I have explained this time and time again to representatives of both GBC Sign Warehouse and Mutoh – the problem has never been fully fixed. If Mr. McCallum is an honest person, which I am fairly sure that he is, he will back up the fact that I was adamant about there still being banding before he left, although the issue was less noticeable. It has since returned.

    I was hesitant to sign the forms you attached. In fact, the only reason I signed the papers attached was because Mr. McCallum told me that it was a temporary solution until he could take the samples back and push for a replacement. Anyone who has been as frustrated with this machine as our company has over the past 10 months would feel helpless receiving these types of emails from dealers and the type of letter we were sent from GBC Sign Warehouse. That is not how a customer should feel.

    This is not going to go away without some sort of action from either Mutoh or GBC Sign Warehouse that permanently fixes our printer’s issues. We are still within our warranty, and will continue to ask that you please help us either permanently fix these problems, or replace the defective printer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  20. Border

    Border Very Active Member

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    Nice...WTF?
     
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