December 9, 2021 

Why Is My CIJ Printer Overheating?

CIJ printer overheating can alter ink viscosity and cause electronic failures or complete system failures.

Like any other piece of industrial equipment, continuous inkjet (CIJ) printers are not immune from the occasional performance error. While issues like malfunctioning filters, clogged passages, and erratic ink replenishment can be easily fixed with time-based preventive maintenance, other problems, such as overheating, can be much harder to diagnose and resolve.

When CIJ printers overheat, it can cause a litany of other problems. For example, overheating can alter ink viscosity and make codes appear messy and unreadable. It can also cause electronic failures, such as screen faults and even complete system failures. Accelerated part degradation and periodic breakdowns can also arise from overheating. Fortunately, heating problems aren’t impossible to fix.

Here, we take a closer look at the most common causes of CIJ printer overheating and effective solutions and strategies for avoiding it.

The Most Common Causes of CIJ Printer Overheating

CIJ printers are used to place barcodes, expiration dates, and batch codes on everything from agricultural products to pharmaceuticals and are integral to the daily operations of countless manufacturing and packaging groups around the world. They enable companies to comply with rigid traceability guidelines without slowing down production. However, when a CIJ printer overheats, production can come to a screeching halt, leading to long periods of downtime. 

While overheating can be caused by a few different factors, the most obvious cause is excessive facility temperature. Most CIJ printers can operate in temperatures around 40-100°F,  although the best systems on the market offer wider operating temperature ranges, such as the Hitachi UX Dynamic, which can mark substrates in temperatures ranging from 32-122°F. If worksite temperature exceeds these limits, CIJ printers are likely to automatically shutdown. 

If your worksite is within the CIJ’s operating range yet the printer won’t stop overheating, there are a few other possible causes. The three most common include:

  1. A defective temperature sensor in the printhead, which can lead to incorrect temperature readings.
  2. A disconnection between the temperature sensor and circuit board, which will inevitably cause temperature faults. 
  3. Poor ventilation within the CIJ cabinet, which can lead to excessively high internal temperatures. 

Thankfully, all of these problems have relatively simple solutions.

How To Fix and Avoid Overheating Problems

CIJ overheating solutions can be split into two categories: fixes for external environmental problems and fixes for internal mechanical problems. 

For those who are struggling with excessive worksite temperatures, you can begin addressing the problem by applying cool air to the overheating printhead. This will help return the printhead to a proper operating temperature and reduce the risk of hardware damage. Also, be sure to lower the facility’s overall temperature to ensure that overheating doesn’t occur again. This can be achieved by:

  • Increasing air circulation by opening windows and doors, especially those that are located in higher areas so that hot air can escape the worksites (if you cannot open your windows, tinting them may also be a good approach).
  • Facilitating airflow by strategically placing fans on the site floor or mounting them to walls.
  • Replacing heat-producing incandescent light bulbs with cooler fluorescent and LED bulbs.
  • Cooling down the site by installing air conditioning units in specific areas.
  • Adding a positive air kit to increase ventilation inside the unit. 

However, for maximum effectiveness, we recommend consulting with an HVAC professional before taking any of the steps above.

For issues like defective temperature sensors, circuit board problems, or poor cabinet ventilation, we also recommend seeking professional help. CIJ printers contain many parts, including pressurizing pumps, umbilicals, electrode plates, and more. As such, it’s generally difficult for non-experts to diagnose internal hardware problems and fix them on their own, especially if they’re using printers that don’t have any self-diagnosing measures aside from vague warning icons. 

If you’re unfamiliar with CIJ hardware, we highly recommend contacting a printer technician for usage-based maintenance. During an appointment, a technician can:

  • Examine all of the printer’s parts to ensure that they are in proper working order.
  • Check all of the printer’s electronics to verify they are communicating information correctly.
  • Replace all broken parts, including compromised umbilicals and faulty temperature sensors.
  • Recommend ways to improve cabinet ventilation for a lower internal temperature.

With these steps, you can successfully avoid heating problems and guarantee prolonged periods of coding uptime.

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C&M Digest Team

The C&M Digest Team is composed of experts from across the coding and marking world. Comprised of ink developers, hardware veterans, and engineers, our News Team delivers informed coverage that is always free from brand bias.

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