Cleaning and Maintaining The Printhead – Explaining How Inking System Works (Part 2)

This is an article put together to show the client at home how our inking system works. It also gives you some guideline of daily maintenance and troubleshooting.

No matter what kind of printer you bought from us, the principle of ink delivery is the same. In this video, I will explain to you how the inking system works in general and give you some guidelines of daily maintenance and troubleshooting.

How to go about cleaning the XP600 Printhead

The ink is a form of fluid. The fluid tread is used to separate the ink from each other which usually causes a feeding problem to the printhead. The ink is also likely to dry up when it comes into contact with air or lights. All the other Ink types are pigment based except for the water based ink type, that has very tiny particles suspended into the solution. These particles tend to stick together, clog and block the printhead. So it is imperative that the printhead is washed. To wash the head, we use the ink itself to pull the ink out of ink tank , this will result in new ink flowing to the head and the old ink seeps into waste ink bottle. In this way we washed the printhead by simply having the ink flow itself. The speed at which the printhead is washed is faster than normal printing speed. We also provide a cleaning liquid (cleaner), that is very similar to the formula of the solution used to make the ink. This in turn turns dried ink into liquid form again. Each Ink type has its own kind of cleaning liquid. To test whether or not you are using the right liquid, you can use the liquid to wipe the dried ink. If it is easy to wipe away, then it’s the right type of cleaning liquid for the ink. However, you are not supposed to use any other strong chemical when trying to remove the ink because it might cause damage to the printhead while cleaning.

Now to sum up everything, the pulling motion by the ink pump is used to create ink flow used to wash the inside of the printhead, it also removes air bubbles inside the printhead which can be very problematic at times. All the ink will be pulled out from the nozzle right into the waste ink bottle. If some parts of the nozzle gets blocked due to ink that dried out near the outlet such as a plug on the pipe, then it is advisable to use cleaning liquid to soften and remove the dry particles.

In order to achieve optimum cleaning results, the flow speed of ink has to be faster than the normal printing speed. Be alerted that this can cause damage to the internal structure of the printhead and permanent damage on the nozzle.
This is how the cleaning process works: Press the “Menu” button on your printer, you will see a menu with “Maintenance” inside, select it. Or you can press the “Right” button directly go onto the “Maintenance” menu. Inside “Maintenance”:

The Nozzle Test

Print a pattern of all nozzles on the printhead, if the pattern is complete, then you don’t need to do any cleaning. The “Status” of the printhead would be known to be perfect in this instance.

The Clean Nozzle Test

This is an automatic process that cleans the ink, by having the printhead spray a bit of ink, use the ink pump put a little, also will try to wipe the printhead etc. A combination of action for generally maintenance. You should try this first, then do a “Nozzle Test” see if improves, please don’t over use this function because pulling the ink a long time is not good for the ink as I mentioned earlier. Besides the end of the cleaning cycle, a rubber ink wiper will also be used to wipe the head, even if it’s the purest rubber we are using, still a physical contact which is not good for the printhead surface.

Manual Pump

Is known as the pumping action and will go on forever until you stop it.

Wipe Nozzle

Is used to erase the wiper and to wipe the head.


This part is used to enable the printhead to squirt out ink;

Cap Head

Is used to move the cap from the ink cap station to seal the printhead by the cap.


Is the first process that takes place when the printhead is empty on the inside (or rather, when there is just shipping liquid inside, I will explain what the shipping liquid is later), this action is much milder than pumping, it won’t clean the head thoroughly.


Let’s first assume that all settings on your printer are correct. Referring mainly to position settings here. If you realize that the wipe action does not wipe the head, this means that the cap is spaced apart from the printhead. Then we have to change the position setting in the menu, and I would suggest you to contact our support for that.

Clean Heavily Blocked Printhead

If most nozzles are clogged because of the ink and you struggle to wash it out. There is a chance that the printhead itself is damaged. The internal electric circuit is damaged, the ink can still flow freely, but it won’t print. The method of cleaning – we call it flush the printhead – instead of pulling from the bottom by a pump, we push the cleaning liquid from the inlet of the printhead.

You can either take the printhead out, or simply keep it on the machine but move the printhead to most left, there is an empty cabinet on the left of the machine. If you decide to do so, put a bucket underneath to catch the cleaning liquid flow out.

Get a syringe and put an ink tube on, and fill with cleaning liquid. Push the ink tube on the inlet of blocked colour of the printhead. Once the tube firmly attached to the inlet, starting to push the syringe gently, you will see droplet starting to form on the surface of the printhead. Increase pressure gently and eventually you will see a thin stream shooting out, normally it will form a line but this depends on the nozzle arrangement.

In most cases, you can wash the printhead out. However, you may also experience other phynominals.

Cleaning liquid comes out from nozzle of different colour block: if this happens, means internal damages and ink leaking from one to another. You need to replace the printhead.

Stream of cleaning liquid shooting to different directions: if this happens, printhead may still functional but printing result will be bad because the position accuracy of ink droplet is bad. This is also a sign internal starting to fall apart, and printhead won’t last long.

Some nozzles are still blocked after cleaned: this normally caused by tamination or dried ink inside ink feeding into the printhead, and it’s permanently blocked the printhead. You can still use the printhead but printing quality will be degraded. You can increase passes and increase feathering setting to cover up the white stripes caused by unfired nozzles.

You can also take the printhead out to wash, just need to make sure to keep the circuit board side higher, you don’t want to let cleaning liquid there, or it will damage the printhead.

About Advanced Machinery (Pty) Ltd:

Advanced Machinery (Pty) Ltd has been operational in South Africa since 2013. Their main warehouse is located in the heart of Jet Park in Boksburg. They stock and sell a large variety of printing and cutting machinery ranging from Vinyl cutters, Laser cutters, Plasma cutters, CNC routers, Large format printers and so much more.

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