I'm just about at the point of calling in for service as i've tried everything I can think of to solve this issue. The machine is about 3 years old and all of the sudden after a 2 week hiatus the machine has developed light black banding in certain colors (primarily it seems to be Magenta and Yellow from my testing). I have attached photos of the test print and 2 other samples, I can add more to show the banding better if needed. 

I can get a perfect test print minus a few black marks on the yellow and magenta at the top/edge of the print head. But everything seems to be registered and aligned properly with all nozzles firing as far as I can tell.

I've replaced the cap top just a week ago with no improvement, and just today replaced the wiper and felt and even tried the print head on high mode to see if there could be some striking or something touching causing this and no improvement. I've tried numerous color profiles and all with the same results. I'm really hoping it isn't anything major but i've waster A LOT of ink and material testing and trying to solve this issue. Any help would be appreciated, I have already performed a light choke and PLENTY of medium/light cleanings with a few powerful to try to solve the issue with no improvement. 

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I need to add I have performed BOTH calibrations and everything is aligned properly in those. My sales tech suggested those as well as the new cap top.

What is your ink config - is that metallic in there or ?

Clean your encoder strip with alcohol

people would die for that nozzle test

What color palette are you using

What media, what profile, what color management setting

Vector or Raster image

Captop, wiper, felt, choke, function cleanings all good choices so need to look at some procedural steps

Yes metallic is in there (next change just going with cleaning cart since we don't use it anymore). 8 Cartridge setup, Magenta, Light Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Black, Cyan, Light Cyan, Metallic (not in that order). 

I was told the encoder cleaning wouldn't help and not do it by my tech (he's pushing HARD for a service call and we didn't extend warranty). 

I know the nozzle test is excellent, i've taken good care of the machine IMO. Thanks but the banding is making the machine useless to me and my clients currently. 

I'm using Glossy Calendered Vinyl and have tried numerous profiles, management settings, and media settings all with the same banding (some a little better than others but it is always there). I've even tried my matte vinyl and the same results are there. 

I use raster images (as I always have) via PDF's through versaworks. 

I am using aftermarket inks from JetTech but I didn't have these issues before the break (and printed about 500 stickers with the new carts with no issues, same design i'm trying to print now) I took so i'm assuming they are not the cause. .

Can you tell me how a dirty encoder strip (i've inspected mine and it seems clean) could cause horizontal banding? I'm not doubting it, and that literally the last thing I can do in my mind aside from calling service which is going to cost me dearly I have a feeling since they charge right when they get in the van and are about 1 hr away. 

Yes the charge starts from the entry, great that they are 1hr away - search some post for the answers you now seek. You ask for advice, advice is given, and now you want a dissertation. You not using metallic but have it in your machine, when it can easily be replaced. You have an out of warranty machine and the cheapest part is the ink and you are using 3rd party with OEM profiles. You have misfiring nozzles and what do you think can cause the printer to print out of sequence. I ask for profile you are using but you did not tell me that, you tell me you tried one other. Not sure where to begin since you are listening to a tech you do not want to pay and not listening to a tech who is free.

I think you took what I'm saying way out of context, I appreciate all of the information and advice you're offering I just asked a simple question on how the encoder strip could be causing horizontal banding. If you took offense to anything I said I do apologise no offense or rudeness was meant.

What causes banding

- Calibration off

- Missing nozzles

- Wrong Profile (head speed, temperature, droplet size, vacuum setting)

- Incorrect Printer Tab setting

- Head misfiring due to a dirty encoder strip

Banding Evaluation

Dark Banding - feeding too slow

Light Banding - feeding too fast

the spots in your print is not banding - those are called fisheyes - dirty media

The banding in the guitar is dark

The test print no banding noted on this end

Nozzle test misfires on two channels instructions given

I'll get the profile information exactly tomorrow on what I'm using (machines are at my office not home). Currently it should be whatever the default is for the machine. I've tried a lot of different settings and options troubleshooting this issue.

Would setting back to defaults possibly help? I can't think of anything we changed in versaworks during our 3 years of owning it with no issues like this before.

So what is the one changed that was introduced - the inks

Did you flush the system before you changed - I am guessing no 

That in itself is not an issue, but all that ink in the lines is what printed your 500 decals and then new ink, just saying - I am not holding them in my hand so I could have no idea what I am talking about.

In 3 years you could have been lucky, but profiles are important, the printer tab is important, and when you changed the top - which is user replaceable - that is important. With nozzles like you have - it is a setting issue. With that said, the misfiring of a dark ink in your light colors can give you dark banding when it fires. So what colors have banding - if it is in the red or yellow family - and the banding is dark and you have dark nozzles where it is not supposed to be. I am just leaving a bunch of random comments that can easily be connected.

Thank you for your reply and help I'll see what I can figure out tomorrow with all of this new information. I just joined so I don't know the protocol or how it works around here but I really do appreciate the quick and informative posts. I'll update after some adjustments and I speak with jettech about possible profile changes or speed settings. Thanks again I hope you have a nice night Irving!
No I did not flush the inks when I changed cartridges. I was told by the jettech rep I wouldn't have to. Guess that was wrong and I will see what they suggest tomorrow for settings or adjustments I should make to hopefully fix this issue.

The cap top was changed about a week ago, by me, everything seemed in good order and I keep it very clean inside. I will also be cleaning the encoder strip tomorrow.

It is not necessary for some inks to flush the system. My point is that you still had OEM inks in lines and thus your printing until the lines were completely overrun with new inks where still giving you the expected results. If you would have messed up the top swap, you would not be getting those nozzles. My main point is that introducing 3rd party inks into the mix ads another set of variables to work through. The ink company will tell you it is the same specs, etc, but they are not the same in many ways. 

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