The Importance of Wide Format Inkjet Printer Maintenance

Wide format printing as we know it was born in the early 90s when sign shops, service bureaus and graphics providers started to use plotters, previously only employed by architects and engineers to print drawings and schematics.
Nonetheless, since the genesis of this technology, all plotters have had something in common: they represent an investment for any business owner. 
Printer Maintenance: if a plotter lives long, a business may prosper.  
Large format printers, like any other type of machines, need regular maintenance to increase its longevity. Nonetheless, frequent and proper maintenance policies help not only save significant amounts of money, but also regular maintenance is necessary to keep getting high-quality prints out of the machine. 
Our years of experience in this industry have taught us valuable lessons related to printer maintenance and we will like to share some of that accumulated knowledge with you in this article. We will not go into too much detail since this will not be a tutorial or a “how to” manual to fix specific issues. We will simply comment on a few general recommended practices that we employ to maintain our equipment printing smoothly.
Periodic care keeps printers healthy and happy.
For a printing company, wide format inkjet printers are a fundamental part of the production process. The failure in one of these high-tech machines could have catastrophic consequences starting with a negative impact on the workflow, followed by turnaround time variations and unhappy customers. Printers cost money but are also the moneymaker for print shops, so neglecting their care will never be a smart business decision. 
Just like a car, a printer needs regular service. We have heard stories about competitors falling in disgrace because they were surprised when their printer broke down after millions of printing cycles and not even one maintenance session on the unit. To us, that is no joke and we check frequently our printers’ cleaning print heads, cap tops as well as all the other areas where the media touches the equipment.
Every manufacturer recommends specific maintenance schedules for their machines. That is the first rule to printer maintenance we follow: listen to what the manufacturer or supplier has to say about taking care of the machine they built. Another recommendation relates to using the right tools for even the small tweaks. For example, we use only lint-free cloths and factory maintenance fluid for cleaning accumulated dust and dirt build-up, that way we protect our print-heads. In addition, for pinch rollers, print heaters and other areas that have contact with media we use sometimes Isopropyl Alcohol as a general purpose cleaner.