Unexpected noises from a label printing machine are an obvious cause for concern, especially if the machine does not report a fault code or any other indication of where the problem lies. However, certain noises are characteristic of specific issues and if you can recognise tell-tale clicking, grinding and screeching noises, you may have a better chance of diagnosing and rectifying such issues.
Depending on the type of press, loud noises during printing have various causes, some of which are more serious than others. An incorrectly seated cartridge or fuser unit, for example, can cause a deafening grating noise, while excessive wear and tear to belts, cogs and gears can produce similarly worrying whining and rumbling noises. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), also known as ‘Teflon’, is used for bearings in some label printing machines because of its flexibility and low coefficient of friction, but can become brittle and break with age, leading to a distinctive grinding or screeching noise.
Quieter, Less Dramatic Noises
Quieter noises, such as banging, clicking and grinding, are obviously less noticeable and can be difficult to diagnose. A grinding noise is often caused by foreign matter – such as a label that has become detached from its backing paper – becoming jammed in the label printing machine. If this is the case, the machine should function normally once the obstruction is removed; if it does not, the problem may be more than a simple paper jam. Banging may be caused by pressure rollers, which have become distorted as a result of incorrect storage or shipment. Other causes include setting the print head energy too high or, on presses with a ribbon strip plate, positioning the strip plate too high above the surface of the label.
In modern label printing machines, faults may be accompanied by a diagnostic fault code or an audible or visible alarm. Diagnostic fault codes may require reference to the instruction manual, but are usually fairly self-explanatory. Audible and visible alarms, on the other hand, typically indicate that a label printing machine has encountered a ‘fatal’ or non-recoverable error and should be shut down immediately.
Taking Unusual Noises Seriously
Not every noise that emanates from a label printing machine is indicative of a problem, but any abnormal noise, particularly loud, dramatic noises, warrant immediate investigation. Excessive noise during printing could be the result of improper settings, or a faulty or loose part, which is only likely to become worse over time. If in any doubt as to the cause of a suspicious noise, we recommend talking to a printing press technician without delay.
Focus Label Machinery presses can identify most issues on the HMI – plus, we can remotely log in to new presses to identify and, in many cases, resolve issues.
Call Focus Label today for help and advice on troubleshooting any noises with your printing machine.