Tips and Tricks

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Color Accurate Prints Without Color Measurement Devices

If you don’t have a color measurement device and your production uses on board generic driver or RIP settings instead of a custom ICC profile, skin tones are a great indicator of color accuracy as you test different settings.

Daily Maintenance

Each printer comes with maintenance instructions in the manual. Let’s be honest, though, we all use our printers at different workloads. Make sure you clean your machines on a regular basis (either daily or weekly depending on use). You should also check the alignment and registration before you begin printing on each media type. Each media type, thickness and smoothness will alter the media feed.

HPZ6100 Printer

We love our HP Z6100. It is a versatile printer that we use almost every day with media types ranging from coated bond paper to a thick poly/cotton canvas. However, we know this printer is a finicky machine. The trick is to have patience and follow the prompts step by step for each process. Trying to skip steps and trick the machine will cost you time in the end. Also, before closing the cover, make sure your media is lying flat and is properly lined up to avoid skewing and head crashes.

Preventing Head Crashes

Head crashes can have minor and major impact on your print production. Head crashes are most common in media that is overly thin (<4 mil) or overly thick ( >12 mil). The best prevention for head strikes is to be proactive. Feed the media out past the end of the platen by about six to ten inches. This is especially useful with solvent and latex printers that deliver extreme heat to the part of the roll that sits idle on the platen during the warm-up period. Another trick is to put weight clamps (something heavy enough to hold the media flat but not so heavy that it impacts the media feed) on the front edge of the media. This will assist the vacuum to keep the media flat against the platen, preventing the printer carriage from striking it as it travels back and forth. Balance the clamps evenly across the width of the roll to prevent skewing.

Roll Storage

It may sound silly, but the storage of media, especially media that you don’t use everyday, is very important. It is best to keep media inside the bag and the box it came in when not in use. This helps protect the coating and material itself from temperature and humidity changes that can degrade the coating and warp the media.

The Truth About Optical Brightener (OBA)

There are more myths than truths floating around the industry about optical brighteners and their impact on archivability. OBAs are not inherently bad and the presence or lack of OBAs does not inherently make something archival or not. OBAs do create the appearance of higher whiteness and richer printed colors. If unprotected, this will dissipate (fade) over a long period of time. In the case of canvas, the “faded” result will be similar to the original color of the base canvas. If you use a liquid overcoat, this will protect the enhanced whiteness and significantly minimize the fading over time.