Printhead maintenance: Why a good quality printhead is essential when choosing a Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) system
We love the word uptime especially when it’s in the positive, but how do we keep it that way and avoid the dreaded downtime?
We’ve covered downtime in our previous blog (click here to see) and no company can afford to constantly have to stop their line to deal with annoyances such as poor coding quality due to a blocked printhead. Uptime is of paramount importance, and the selection of printing equipment to efficiently perform its function, without interruption, has never been higher.
CIJ systems are a popular choice for printing (aka coding and marking) dates or batch codes, on products as they move along the production line. CIJs can handle a wide range of sizes, shapes or textures of substrates. They are excellent at producing reliable, accurate codes - delivered in the same place on each product - and can operate at different line speeds.
The most important thing to consider when comparing CIJ printers is the printhead. Printheads can often be overlooked but are actually the core element of the printer. Afterall that’s what delivers the code. Different printheads on the market require different cleaning intervals.
Why do printheads need cleaning?
- All printheads accumulate dried ink but the speed of the accumulation depends on the design
- Accumulated dried ink can block the printhead nozzle and result in poorly printed codes or stop the printer completely
Therefore, cleaning interval requirements are indicators of the speed at which ink accumulates, the faster a printhead accumulates dried ink the more risk to your code.
So, what do you look for in a quality printhead?
- A quick, clean start-up every time, even if printer is used infrequently
- A robust, completely sealed printhead for maximum reliability and protection from costly, physical damage
- Automatic printhead cleaning flush feature which ensures continual reliable operation
- A choice of printhead which is suitable for your printing needs
Maximising uptime for CIJs is now easier than ever. With machines having longer service intervals (up to 17400 hours or 2 years) between services production managers have more control over their downtime, easing staff pressure and stress.
How does a quality printed code enhance my brand?
It should be remembered that good quality codes enhance a brand, especially if the code is being printed on a premium product. Inks need to be fast drying and extremely durable whilst being heat and chemical resistant. All this means that companies in industries from cables, extrusions and automotive to aerospace, electronics and packaging now have an even wider choice of printing solutions to deliver the best code for their specific requirements.
If you’re looking to upgrade your CIJ equipment, make sure the printhead is up to the job.
If you would like to know more about how CIJs and Linx could help you stand out from the crowd with quality code application, get in touch with us today.
View our infographic: Increase uptime with a Linx printhead