With the Christmas break fast approaching, a lot of large-format inkjets will be sitting idle for a couple of weeks. All inkjet printers are designed to be used and can suffer from blocked nozzles if left standing for extended periods of time.

It’s always a good idea to keep your printer in a clean, dust-free environment at normal office temperatures. The latest SureColor SC-P7500 and SC-P9500 machines have what is probably the lowest-tech, highest-reward feature going – dust exclusion. The printer won’t run until the media roll cover is closed and sealed with what is no more than a draught excluder. Simple but highly effective. We haven’t had to replace a single printhead in any of these machines yet.

If your printer is going to be left over the Christmas period then follow these steps to make sure it’s up and running without problems in the New Year.

• Keep the heating on but don’t position the printer near a radiator or other heat source. The printhead is capped with a rubber seal which can dry out and then allow the printhead to dry.

• If your printer has a maintenance routine, such as cleaning around the capping station then do this even if it’s not scheduled. Keeping that seal clean on the cap is essential to stop the printhead drying out.

• Leave the printer switched on. On Epson SureColor machines you can set the printer to periodically check and clean the printhead, keeping the nozzles moist. On the front panel press the Menu button (Right Arrow) then scroll to “Printer Setup” and then to “Timer Cleaning” – 24 hours is a good period to set.

• Make sure you have enough ink in the machine and it’s all within the expiry date. Take the cartridges out and give them a gentle shake before replacing them back into the printer. Also check your maintenance tanks have more than 50% life left.

• If the heating is going to be off then it’s better to completely shut down your printer. Obviously if the temperature drops below zero then, with water-based inks you’ve got serious problems. Don’t switch the machine on until 24 hours after the room has come back up to normal temperature. Cold ink gets more viscous and won’t flow properly through the printhead.

• When you return from the break then repeat removing and shaking the cartridges before doing a nozzle clean and check print.

If you have any problems then get in touch with us. NDi has manufacturer approved and trained engineers to help. We offer UK wide repairs and support as well as maintenance contracts for all your inkjet equipment and supporting software.