In a challenging situation where events can move very quickly, the importance of protecting your investment in a Mimaki printer or printer/cutter could easily be overlooked, says Hybrid, the UK and Ireland distributor of Mimaki. However, by following some simple steps and preparing the equipment correctly, it’s possible to safeguard against future issues caused by the hardware lying idle.

“The vast majority of Mimaki’s inkjet printers employ proprietary technology that’s designed to minimise the amount of maintenance required by the operator, but good housekeeping always pays dividends and that’s no more apparent than when preparing a printer that may not be used for a period of time,” says Brett Newman, Hybrid’s chief operations manager.

“Initially conceived to assist printshops with their maintenance before and after holiday periods, for example, this technology is especially important given the current situation where people are potentially having to prepare their machines for an unknown amount of time. Thankfully, the processes are simple to follow and greatly help the machines being ready to go once we’re back working normally again,” he concludes.

General advice for maintaining Mimaki printers

Power on  Leave the printer plugged in and ensure the main power switch is on.

Regular manual cleaning  Mimaki printers have several on-board features to keep the machines running optimally. Some areas cannot be cared for automatically by the printer. It is important to continue the daily printer maintenance even when the printers are idle. If daily maintenance is not possible, once-a-week maintenance and cleaning will help supplement on-board cleaning routines. For those customers who will not have access to the printer, or are temporarily closing, please see the extended storage information below.

Running test prints  If possible, you should run a test print at least once a week. If any nozzles are missing you need to recover them then and there to avoid potentially damaging the print head.

Capping station and wiper maintenance  The wiper and cap surfaces are the most critical cleaning systems in the printer. These items are responsible for maintaining and cleaning the print head surface. Keep these areas clean and free of debris or ink build-up.

Mimaki cutting plotters and printer/cutters

Mimaki cutting products require very little maintenance. These machines can be safely turned off and unplugged for long periods.

The cutting heads on Mimaki print/cut machines also require little to no maintenance. Follow Hybrid’s other guidelines to maintain the print heads on these units.

Enabling automated cleaning

The automated cleaning functions on Mimaki products are all enabled out of the box. The printers maintain the print head surface, ink discharge path, and recirculation systems according to internal schedules. This maximises both production quality and print head life. Please ensure this is turned on.

Extended storage for water-based (textile and dye-sub) printers

  1. Leave the printer plugged in and ensure the main power switch is on. The on-board automated cleaning cycles will maintain the printer and print heads during prolonged downtime.
  2. Check the expiration dates on the ink supply system. Mimaki printers will operate normally with inks that are 30 days past expiration. Beyond this point, the expired ink may limit the effectiveness of the automated cleaning functions.
  3. Check the ink levels. The on-board cleaning and refresh functions may not operate correctly if the ink levels are below 10%. Insert a new cartridge if levels are low. The nearly empty cartridge can be reinstalled and used at a later date.
  4. Please check the waste ink tank level. Empty and reset the waste ink counter if needed. Automated maintenance routines will not operate correctly if the waste ink tank is full.
  5. If the printer is going to be powered down completely, perform a nozzle wash and set the timer to one minute. Add the appropriate cleaning solution to the caps. After the head carriage is on the cleaning station and the timer starts, power off the printer using the main power switch. Leave the printer in this condition until normal business operations resume.

If any customers have any questions on these processes, contact Hybrid’s tech support team on printermaintenance@hybridservices.co.uk.