How to Avoid Printhead Failure
The printhead is the component on your printer that’s responsible for transferring ink onto paper. This mechanism does this by coursing droplets of ink through numerous nuzzles to create the print. When these nozzles get clogged, this causes an uneven ink distribution resulting in faded or streaky prints. Unclogging a printhead takes considerable time and effort, while preventing it from getting clogged in the first place is only a matter of routine diligence.
Regular printer use and printhead cleaning
The simplest way to keep printheads in proper condition is by using your printer regularly. This prevents ink from drying on the printheads and ensures that the ink is able to flow properly. You should use your printer once every few days, or once a week at the very least. When a printer is left sitting unused for too long, the residual ink on the heads and nozzles tends to dry up and cause clogging. All you need is rubbing alcohol, a clean cloth, and a handy vacuum cleaner to gently clean the printhead and other components of your printer. Check if your printer has removable printheads, too, as this could make cleaning easier.
Opting for the right printer
In some cases, regular cleaning and routine maintenance could be an option, but for the best cases, choose a printer that fits your needs from the very start to avoid machine errors. One of the key things to look at is the printhead's printed circuit board (PCB), a thin plate that has conductive tracks and pads etched onto it which keeps your electronics functioning. For industrial printing and continuous tasks, you should keep your eyes peeled for a metal core PCB, which helps ensure that your printhead has enough thermal regulation to prevent overheating and busted parts as a consequence. Metal PCBs are specifically designed to keep active components cooler which could increases your printer’s performance. Another consideration to make when looking for the right printer is its usage, as most printers are either inkjet (best for low-volume printing) or laser (uses toners and better suited for commercial printing).
Proper equipment storage
The printhead comes with a protective coating, but this could be damaged by dust and other abrasive substances. When damage occurs, the printhead is very likely to fail. This is why you need to take extra care regarding printer storage. You need to put your printer in a protective, dust-proof enclosure when not in use. If your printer has detachable printheads, then you should remove those and store them securely in a separate enclosure. Additionally, if you’re planning to leave your printer unused for extended periods, you should also remove the ink cartridges and wrap them tightly in cling wrap to avoid crusting.
Switching printer off
When switched on, the printheads are set in motion and the ink is warmed up, ready for use. Turning off your printer allows the printheads to reset and the carriage to return to its original position, preventing clogging and drying. It’s healthy for a printer to be able to reboot itself after every use, so make it a habit to switch it off— and do it properly. Don’t turn it off by unplugging or through the power strip or surge protector. Use the power button so it can turn off the right way, which helps protect the printheads.
A printhead failure is a real nuisance, but it’s generally preventable. Practice proper printer care to avoid the inconvenience of a bad quality print due to a printhead failure.