The Different Parts of the Printhead – Explaining How The Inking System Works (Part 1)

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.

Components of the inking system of the large format printer

Right here is a printhead, this is an XP600 printhead from EPSON. Once the printhead has been installed onto the machine,the damper will be plugged in it . A Damper serves as a flow control chamber for the ink, when ink flows from the tank at the back of the machine, it first storage in the Damper, to keep a continuous ink supply of the printhead.

A Printhead may have different sorts and types of technology, some may use  heat, some use mechanical processes , some use vacuum, etc. The end result is the same, ink will be squeezed out from nozzle which is an array of them on printhead surface which is very small.

No matter how many nozzles a printhead has, they are always grouped and stacked on top of the printhead, you will see the ink inlet for each colour, which is also the place the damper sits in. If a printhead has more than 1 inlet, meaning that it can print more than 1 colour. Sometimes we try to use more than one inlet for same colour to improve printing speed. The order of the colour generally is not a major issue but the software has to be setup in the same sequence so that the RIP (Raster Image Processing) software process the printing file, knows which colour is from where.

Once ink left printhead by whatever means, the space that was occupied by the ink became a vacuum , therefore the ink started to flow from the Damper into the printhead, and since the pressure inside damper drops too, the ink from ink tank in the back of the machine starting to flow and refill the damper. The ink in the damper always around half full because the air inside the damper will prevent it from being too full. When it’s very full, it won’t act as a flow controlling device.

When the printhead does not print, we will cap the printhead to prevent ink from drying ensuring that it does not have any contact with the air or lights especially for the UV ink. Our ink capping device consists of two parts. The first one is an Ink Cap,  which is a square shape that matches the printhead surface with a rubber seal. Underneath the Printhead is 1 or more outlet for tubes to move ink away. There will be mechanical or motorised structure to move the ink from cap to cap to the printhead when needed, we call this the ink cap station.

The tubes that connect to the cap will connect to an ink pump. This is used to pull the ink from the ink cap itself as well as from the printhead if capped. The ink that is pulled out will be sent to a bottle to store waste ink that is there.

The ink starts flowing from the ink tank at the back of the machine, and then gets pulled by pressure applied through the tubes all the way to the damper, inside the printhead. The Ink is either sprayed out by printhead onto printing media, or pulled out by using the ink pump at the back of the ink bottle. This whole system is called the inking system.

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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