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Vutek flatbed wrinkling on long runs

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by N.E., Oct 13, 2012.

  1. N.E.

    N.E. New Member

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    Sep 4, 2011
    MA
    We had a Vutek QS3200 for 4 years and replaced it with a GS3250LX last year. In all that time I have not found a way to resolve a media wrinkling issue. No matter what rolled media it is I get a wave on the supply side that gets worse as it prints (see attached photo). Anything over 18' - 20' and the wrinkles start to move up to the print area and I get a head strike. I haven't been too concerned since most prints don't exceed that length. However now I have a job that consists of 17 50 foot tiles and I need to find a way to prevent the wrinkling. I've tried 100% vacuum, 80% 60% even 20%. Lower actually seems to make it worse. I've tried adjusting the tension on the supply roll as well to no effect.

    Anyone have any suggestions?

    TIA
     

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  2. WYLDGFI

    WYLDGFI Active Member

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    Oct 27, 2006
    Linden, NJ
    EFI calls it the Smiley Face....and thats a crock of BS. We have had a QS for a number of years and like you have the same issues with long runs of vinyl. Thats why we have roll-to-roll printers for a majority of our jobs.
    Even using the front takeups does not help with our experience. We've run from the table...from the input roll...no luck. It really does suck. EFI has not given us any help either for this situation. I attempted to put Blue Painters tape on the bar and make the left right and centers Thicker to avoid having total pressure across the material, but not sure that helped much as we still had that issue 18-20 ft into a 25 ft print. What material are you trying to print to?
     
  3. JoshLoring

    JoshLoring Very Active Member

    I don't know ANYTHING about these printers... But general logic would say the feed/takeup is bowing causing the smiley.
    Any way to strengthen the feed and takeup by adding more center support? Cross brace?
    Ideas ideas... Big wide roll = bow - arch = no smiley.

    Had this problem with banners on a takeup at one point... We bungied the takeup to another machine to add tension to the center and all was well.
     
  4. jasonx

    jasonx Very Active Member

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    Aug 5, 2007
    Australia
    Looks like the vacuum is leaking on the sides causing the material to slip a bit gradually.

    Have you done a test with say 1370mm wide material to see if it gives you the same problem?
     
  5. WYLDGFI

    WYLDGFI Active Member

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    Oct 27, 2006
    Linden, NJ
    According to the field techs from EFI....getting rid of the smiley causes other problems. The feed bar is actually 2.875 OD Stainless with an air bladder in it...similar to most large format printers like HP and others. It can bend with heavy rolls especially 2.8-3.2 meter ones....102-126in....
    We have seen this same problem though when just running lightweight 10oz banner off a 64in roll on our UV Press. Its not limited to just the wider rolls.
    N.E. Give EFI tech support a call again....Bob or Alejandro are both really good on the phone....some of the other people are so/so.
     
  6. Jack Knight1979

    Jack Knight1979 Very Active Member

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    Jan 23, 2008
    Maine
    I thought these big boy printers were bullet proof. Looks like every printer made has it's quarks regardless of price. I'm sorry to see this happening to you guys.
     
  7. WYLDGFI

    WYLDGFI Active Member

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    Linden, NJ
    A lot of it is the belt and how it interacts with the roll material.
     
  8. HaroldDesign

    HaroldDesign Very Active Member

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    Aug 16, 2007
    It's been a while since I ran one, but I do recall maximizing the feed and take-up tension helping quite a bit.
     
  9. signpost-boston

    signpost-boston Making America great, one sign at a time.

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    Jul 18, 2010
    Boston, Ma.
    even center taping it to a empty core doesn't help? ( my feeling is the actual core is "Warping" since its cardboard (total guess but if its 10-16 long..) and that creates slack in the middle, which, creates the tunnel big enough to wave a hot dog through... :)
     
  10. Jack Knight1979

    Jack Knight1979 Very Active Member

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    Can you get a piece of aluminum pipe to run down the center of the take up core to bulk it up?
     
  11. jasonx

    jasonx Very Active Member

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    My HP has a support shaft that slides inside the core and onto the shaft. Would stop any bowing problems you'd have if its the core giving.
     
  12. N.E.

    N.E. New Member

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    Sep 4, 2011
    MA
    Thanks for all the replies. The supply and take up are solid bars with an air bladder inside that inflates to put tension on the cores. I ended up running the job on my HP latex.
     
  13. WYLDGFI

    WYLDGFI Active Member

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    Oct 27, 2006
    Linden, NJ
    Good call...my QS sucks for running long jobs on banner media. Narrower rolls of pressure sensitive vinyl etc work much better.
     
  14. IAmTheMan

    IAmTheMan New Member

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    Sep 10, 2012
    There is one of two ways I have found to alleviate the smiley face. The multiroll tripod you got with your printer, jack it up in the middle of the full width roll, that should take some bow out of the roll. You may need to raise it as you print, make sure its not pushing up too far on the core, or you may damage your media.
    Another way is to physically modify your media infeed, its not permanent unless you want it to be (so you can take it off before the service guys get there;) ). You have got to make it work in such a way that it is fed over the top of a smaller roll before going underneath the pinch roller. I have used a 3.4M 2" aluminum pipe held by two fixtures on either side of the rear operator control (looks like a U and the aluminum pipe goes inside the U on either side.
     
  15. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Could you post a picture of this setup and how the media is webbed through it? We have the same problem on our CET and I'm wondering if this would be an option for us as well.
     
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