When Should You Clean Your Printhead On A Wide Format Printer?

There’s nothing more frustrating than launching a print run only to find you have ink marks, smudges, poor print quality or lines running through the prints. If this does happen when you use your wide format printer, it could be time to clean the printheads.

It’s common for a printhead to run into the odd issue when it experiences heavy use as well as not being used enough, but that can sometimes be fixed.

A printhead can usually be cleaned using the cleaning functions that are built into the printer or manually using cleaning swabs and solution. The end user should never take out printheads on wide format machines.

Signs Your Printhead Needs Cleaning

Introducing regular printhead cleaning can save you time and money, prolonging the life of your printer and reducing downtime because of quality issues. However, too much cleaning can damage the printhead and use valuable ink. While it should be part of your regular printer maintenance, it is also advised to speak to your printer supplier for advice on frequency.

These signs can all indicate it’s time for a clean:

  • Poor print quality – You’ll notice that your prints are blurry, streaky, or have gaps in the lines or text.

  • Ink smears or smudges – This could be a sign ink the printhead is dirty or clogged. Most printheads experience a build-up of ink over time, but if you haven’t used your wide format printer in a while there’s an increased chance of ink drying on the printhead.

  • Faded prints – Faded prints or low colour saturation can also be a sign the printhead is dirty.

  • Error messages – Newer generation machines will often have a function to alert you when your printhead has a problem.

During the installation and set-up, you should be shown how to maintain your printer, including printheads, by an installation engineer. If not, you can follow the instructions that come with the printer. Some printers have an automatic printhead function which can be run on a regular basis to prevent clogged printheads and other issues. If you’re not sure if it has this feature or you’re unsure how to use it, it’s worth checking with your printer supplier and receiving some expert advice.

Looking for your next wide format printer or need advice on how to look after yours? Get in touch with Signmaster Systems today to discuss the best print solutions for you.


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