Inkjet Printers and Humidity: How Humidity Enhances Your Printing Experience

Inkjets Love Humidity:

In a previous article we discussed the downside of humidity with regard to the screen making process when it comes to coating, drying and handling screens during the exposure process. Humidity is definitely not your friend during this process. However, the opposite is true when it comes to your inkjet printer. A certain level of humidity can be your best friend, but never keep your film printing inkjet printer in the same environment as your screen making, washout and reclaiming stations. That’s too much moisture.

Inkjet manufacturers list an acceptable and expected amount of humidity the device should operate in. If you have never known this or wondered why, here is the answer. Get a hygrometer, they are inexpensive.

An Inkjet Will Clog When Not Used or Serviced Properly:

The number one way to reduce the risk of an inkjet printer clogging is to use it frequently. The more often a printer is used, the less time there is between prints for the ink to dry in the print head. Next, be sure to run a maintenance routine often enough to keep your equipment ready to operate properly when you need it. Don’t neglect your inkjet printer. Print a nozzle pattern test print from the printer driver utility then clean it as necessary. This takes just a minute or two when done on a regular basis. If necessary, set a reminder. Your inkjet is the lifeblood of your screen screen print operation. If you routinely see a clogged nozzle pattern test pattern, then that’s an indication that you need to bump up your maintenance and/or use.

Open to Disaster:

The underside of an inkjet print head is “open to the environment”. The nozzles or ports on the head are very thin. They have ink staged at the very edge of these openings, awaiting the next print. Inks that are “air dry”! Keeping your printer in an arid environment, in direct sunlight, near any sort of breeze from HVAC vents, standing fans, open doors and windows is a recipe for disaster. You are helping the printer to clog. It’s not a matter of if the inkjet printer will take on a clog, it’s when.

All inkjet printer manufacturers offer utilities to help unclog an inkjet. They would not offer these if they did not expect the technology to clog. Anyone that knows about inkjet printers knows the technology must be protected from clogs. There’s nothing wrong with the inkjet, it’s just something to understand and manage regarding inkjet technology.  

It’s Usually Not the Ink’s Fault:

While there are degrees of quality during the manufacturing of inks and some of the less expensive, poorly designed and inconsistently manufactured inks can dry faster in the print head than others, Dmax™ dye film printing ink is developed and tested specifically to be slow drying in a print head while curing rapidly once in contact with a quality emulsion coated film such as DarkStar™. Dmax™ is known to be the highest quality inkjet film printing ink in the industry. Dmax™ delivers professional results. Results that reduce downtime, while increasing quality and production. 

How to Reduce or Avoid a Clogged Inkjet Printer?:

First and foremost is to operate your inkjet printer in a proper environment as specified by the printer manufacturer. Here is an example of the humidity range specified by Epson for a single printer model.

Temperature: Operating: 50° to 95°F (10° to 35°C) Storage: -4° to 104°F (-20° to 40°C). Humidity:

20 to 80% (no condensation).

Have a small desktop printer? Here’s an easy way to set up a more humid “micro environment.” When not in use, cover the printer with a plastic or any non absorbent covering placing a glass of water under that cover/hood. As the water evaporates, it adds humidity. That will help keep the underside of the print head moist while protecting against air currents that might also pose an issue.  

No wind, no extreme fluctuation in temperature, no dust…addressing these conditions will certainly enhance your good user experience and avoid a clogged inkjet printer.

Happy printing.  

Freehand and you, together we got this.



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