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Inkjet PrintingSeptember 4, 2014

Precautionary Methods for Printing on Clear/Reflective Parts with your Inkjet Printer

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Printing on clear or reflective parts with your Xjet or X2 flatbed UV inkjet printer can be a little challenging. Accidentally curing the ink to the bottom of a print head may require that print head to be replaced and will no doubt slow production. To avoid this, here are some extra precautionary methods that you can take.

  1. Even if there is only the slightest doubt about a product, always provide a picture or physical sample to an Inkcups Now technician before running a new product that is reflective or clear.
    • Note: Never print on mirrored material. There is not a fixture that can handle this and it will certainly result in head replacement, even if printing a minimal order of these items.
  2. We highly recommend that all clear/reflective products use a traveling masking template. Inkcups Now technicians are experts at fabricating these and will make them for any and all customers. However, should you decide to manufacture your own tooling, Inkcups Now must see a picture of the tooling with parts loaded before beginning production.
  3. After tooling is approved, please utilize the following precautionary methods to avoid excessive overspray, thus lowering the risk of curing ink on the bottom of the print head(s).
    • Use the approved tooling – Make sure it is being used properly with masking lids if supplied.
    • Keep the UV lamp intensity low – The intensity should be as low as possible while maintaining good adhesion. Using only one lamp is not required, however, if the results are favorable using one in place of both, we advise this method as another way to limit the amount of light.
    • Reduce scan speed slightly to 18-20 kHz – This is another step that is not required but recommended by Inkcups Now. By reducing the side to side motion of the print head, you also reduce the amount of turbulence and overspray during a print cycle.
    • Pay extra attention to maintenance – The operator should be extra diligent and we recommend adding extra checkpoints to review the nozzle check. [i.e. if you print the nozzle check 3 times per day normally, we suggest doubling this when printing these reflective/clear items]
      • Note: It is not enough to just print the nozzle check. If you notice a missing nozzle, these must be worked on immediately by using the Inkcups Now Portable Head Flushing System or by manually flushing the print head using our video if this tool is unavailable to you. Ignoring these and moving through production will certainly result in permanent nozzle loss and likely end with a print head replacement.

At Inkcups, we hope to provide the most versatile pad, screen, and inkjet printers. We hope that you take these precautionary steps to help make the fullest use of your printers.

Want more information about UV inkjet printers? Check out our Ultimate Guide to UV Inkjet Printers
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