Large Format Printer Maintenance: Maintaining Good Condition of Your Plotter Printer
Owning a large format printer is great—until it starts giving you trouble. Then it's a large, expensive piece of useless equipment. Does this mean you shouldn't invest in a large format plotter printer? Absolutely not! The secret to avoiding poor performance from your large format plotter/printer is never letting it get that far without maintenance. Proper large format printer maintenance will make sure that your printer is working well and that you're not losing money.
In this article, we've compiled several important tips about how to handle large format printer maintenance. We also explore why it's so important and the damage that can be done to the printer if left unattended.
Prevent a Breakdown With Routine Printer Maintenance
A large format printer/plotter is a complex piece of equipment with many working parts. To maintain the good condition of your plotter/printer, each of these parts needs to be in good working order. Consider how routine maintenance services improve the way your vehicle performs. Taking a similar approach with your large format printer can enhance its performance and extend its lifespan.
So, how do you take care of a large format printer? Routine cleaning, parts replacement, and best practices for running your printer are the secret to keeping your printer in top shape. Depending on your level of knowledge, you may choose to complete all your maintenance yourself or have professional maintenance services performed.
Routine maintenance includes both daily and occasional care. The first step to keeping your printer maintained is regular use. Your large format plotter has a lot of ink inside it. While there is ink in the ink cartridges, it's also spread throughout the system to prime the print heads for instant use. When your printer/plotter stays powered down and goes unused for days, ink can dry and clog various parts of the machine.
Routine Printer Maintenance Tasks
These routine large format printer maintenance tasks are easy to complete yourself:
- Print a nozzle check or test pattern every few days to keep the ink flowing cleanly.
- Use print head swabs to clean the maintenance station and cap twice weekly.
- Clean the guide ramps and area around the print heads weekly.
- Replace the flushing box insert every two weeks.
Beyond routine care, your large format printer occasionally needs parts replaced to maintain good working order. If you perform these services yourself, keeping an HP printer maintenance kit on hand is a good idea. A maintenance kit is a set of replacement parts for a printer that should be replaced after a specific number of prints.
Parts that a maintenance kit may include are the fuser assembly, transfer roller, pickup rollers, separation pads, corona assembly, fan assembly, cleaning cloths, and gloves. If you're not prepared to perform these maintenance tasks on your own, professional large-format plotter maintenance services for your business can help you avoid maintenance gaps.
Five Successful Tips to Get Your Plotter in Perfect Shape for a Production Boost
When you're hoping to improve print production, your large format printer should be in perfect shape. Use these tips to get your plotter in shape for your production boost.
1. Get Your Printer Back Up and Running
If your printer has been out of service or went unused for a period of time, it's a good idea to perform maintenance tasks before putting the equipment under a heavy load. Ideally, you cleaned your printer and performed preventative maintenance ahead of the shutdown to make getting your printer back up and running an easy task.
If you're planning to increase production, it's a good idea to complete these tasks to ensure optimal performance:
- Check your ink cartridges.
- Run automatic maintenance.
- Perform a nozzle check.
- Print a test page.
2. Perform a Thorough Cleaning
Most printers and plotters have a built-in cleaning function that can be found on the display screen. Make sure this task is part of your large format printer maintenance checklist. Follow the instructions on the display panel to conduct the automatic cleaning process. If a few rounds of automatic cleaning don't do the trick, you may need to clean the print heads manually. Consult your user's manual to learn the proper steps for basic manual cleaning of your wide format printer or plotter. Use only distilled or bottled water for cleaning print heads. After cleaning, print a test page.
3. Troubleshoot Common Large Format Printer Problems
As you increase print production, you may run into some common problems. Luckily, you can likely solve the most common large format printer problems on your own.
- Find solutions for paper jams. Large production print jobs require rapid printing and can lead to paper jams. Static electricity and curling paper are the main causes of backed-up paper. If curled plans are your biggest issue, heavier paper stock could be the solution. Anti-static measures can also be used to address the effects of static electricity.
- Address compatibility issues. Incompatible software can stop any print job in its tracks. Resolving compatibility issues may require software updates or a search for applications and platforms that integrate properly for seamless printing.
- Replace worn-out print heads. Print heads wear out over time but can fail early due to non-use of the printer. If you need to clean print heads frequently, experience issues with print quality or colour, or your display shows a message prompting a print head change, then it's time to replace the print head.
4. Start With a Clear Memory
Backlogged print jobs can lead to slow performance. Most modern printers support remote print commands. An influx of printing commands can lead to cancelled and paused print jobs that remain in the printer's memory. Open up the print queue to determine if there are legacy print jobs listed. Then, permanently delete jobs you no longer require.
5. Update Your Large Format Printer
Modern printers depend on various software and firmware. These components update to keep up with evolving technology and print standards. As manufacturers update software to keep up with consumer demand, your large format printer might slow down. Driver and firmware updates are particularly important for device performance. When you load driver updates, your printer is likely to run smoother and faster as it maintains a better and clearer connection with your computer or print station.
Large format printer maintenance is a crucial part of extending the lifespan of your printer and improving print performance and speed. Whether you perform HP printer maintenance tasks on your own or depend on a professional, make sure routine maintenance is a priority. HP specialises in large format printers and the parts and services needed to keep them performing at the top level. Contact us today to discuss your printing needs.
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