Regional Supply Technical Tip for Spring:

Spring is here and everything seems to be changing, especially the weather. Warmer temperatures are awesome for those of us who are sick of winter, but climate change can pose a problem for printers. With changes in temperatures and the humidity levels, our printers need a little bit more attention to ensure that the transition to warmer weather is smooth and that printers continue to run without any pesky hiccups. Here are a few maintenance tips to help:

  1. Make sure to go step-by-step through the end-user maintenance procedures found in your machine-specific user’s guide.
  2. For Roland printers: Clean your linear encoder strip.

What is an encoder strip? This is a clear plastic film that sits vertically and runs the length of the printer right above where the head and tool carriage rides (for more info please contact Regional Supply technical support).

How is the encoder strip cleaned? This strip can be cleaned by using 70% or milder isopropyl alcohol. Without saturating, add some alcohol to the cloth using a soft non abrasive lint free cloth. Run the strip between your fingers, looking for dirty spots that may have dirt or ink overspray buildup. It is best to do this in maintenance mode, the same mode that moves the heads down to the left hand side of the printer, giving you access to the bottom of the print heads.

The eye that reads the encoder strip is in the print head carriage and you will not be able to clean the portion of the encoder strip that sits directly behind the head carriage without first moving the carriage. Use the maintenance mode setting to move the print head carriage and clean behind the carriage. It is crucial to keep this area clean because buildup on the encoder strip behind the eye can especially affect the quality of your print job. Some noticeable symptoms of a dirty or bad encoder strip would be, stair stepping on the edge of your print, vertical discoloring in your image, and a number of printer reading errors.

  1. For Roland Printers, after you have completed the end-user maintenance and the cleaning of the encoder strip it is very important to run the “environmental match” option from the printer menu. This will help get the printer acclimated to the changing environmental conditions.
  2. Make sure to run all calibrations that are found in the users menu, including bi-directional calibration and print cut calibration; with good practice you should be running the feed calibration on a regular basis. (Note: in Roland’s menu this is just called calibration. See your user’s manual for machine-specific steps.)

Dry weather can have a significant impact on equipment and causes all kinds of issues from static overspray to ink mist getting on printer components. This is why it is so important to take the time to do a little extra spring cleaning as the weather warms up. And remember to always stay current on your end-user maintenance to add to the longevity and value of your printer.

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