Jams and blockages are an occupational hazard of the label printing industry and, although you can take steps to avoid them happening on a regular basis, it is also helpful to know what to do in the event that they occur. Every printing press is different in terms of its setup, but jams and blockages can usually be attributed to one of a small number of common causes. None of them should disrupt the productivity of your printing works for long, but can easily do so if handled improperly.
Dust & Debris
Regardless of the type of label printing machine, the print mechanism will be susceptible to an accumulation of dust, debris and grime, which, if left untreated, can lead to jams and blockages. Affected parts include fuser units, image drums, print heads and rollers. Depending on the make and model of your press, regular cleaning with an alcohol-based cleaner, such as acetone, and/or label remover, may help to keep the print mechanism residue-free.
Damaged, faulty or missing parts can cause jams or cause the machine to report a jam, whether or not one physically exists. Any malfunctioning part in the print mechanism, including grippers and rollers, may lead to labelling stock being picked up incorrectly and printed off-centre, or not picked up at all. In the case of faulty hardware, the only options may be repair or replacement, preferably with a like-for-like spare part.
Incompatibility between the settings of a label printing machine and the labelling stock can cause jams and blockages. Some presses can only accept substrates up to a certain thickness. It is also possible that some machine parameters, such as material and print head settings, are too high for the chosen substrate. Furthermore, feeding labelling stock into a machine ‘against the grain’ – that is, contrary to the direction of its natural fibres – can cause labels to become detached from their backing.
A regular preventative maintenance programme, which includes lubrication, can keep the critical parts of a press performing and prevent jams and blockages. Regular servicing helps to avoid common problems, such as incorrectly set rollers, overheating fuser units and seized grippers, which are responsible for downtime and waste.
Preventing Jams & Blockages
Jams and blockages can be attributed to a dirty print mechanism, faulty parts, incorrect setup and poor preventative maintenance. However, in modern printing presses, these issues are easily rectified, provided you follow the manufacturer’s servicing guidelines. For further information please get in touch with one of our team today.