Better Continuous Ink Supply Systems

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(*) FAQs :

What is CISS?

CISS stands for Continuous Ink Supply System. It is the means of supplying a continuous flow of ink to the print head of the printer without the need to change cartridges.

What are the benefits of using CISS?

The main benefit of using CISS is the running cost of the printer. Now that the CISS itself has become very affordable, and buying ink in bulk has never been cheaper, the cost of the equivalent amount of ink in a cartridge is now pennies rather than pounds. Even compared to the cheapest compatible cartridges on the market, you are only paying a fraction of the cost.
Secondly, the convenience of never having to change the cartridges when they run dry  because they never run dry! This means you can carry on printing and refill the CISS at the same time. No need to stop in the middle of a long print run.

How does it work?

Special ink cartridges are installed in the printer that holds a small amount of ink. These cartridges are connected via small silicon tubes to an ink reservoir tank. With ink in the reservoir tanks, all the air is removed between the tanks and the cartridges. As ink is drawn out of the cartridge by the printer, a vacuum is formed that automatically pulls more ink to the cartridge via the tubes. Therefore, all the time there is ink in the reservoir tank, ink will continue to flow to the cartridge as required by the printer.

What can go wrong?

Due to the simplistic nature of the system, very little can go wrong if just a few basic things are taken into consideration:

o                   All joints and seals in the system are completely airtight.

o                   There must be no air present between the reservoir tank and the cartridge.

o                   Ink must never be allowed to run dry, and

o                   Air must be allowed to enter the reservoir tank ABOVE the level of the ink.

Why am I getting puddles of ink on the paper?

This is usually because the reservoir tanks are above the height of the cartridges. The difference of pressure of the ink in the reservoir tanks is enough to start a syphon effect and ink will flow freely to the print head, creating messy puddles of ink everywhere. This is why it is VERY IMPORTANT to keep the reservoir tanks on the same level as the printer.

Why is ink not getting to the printer?

Possible reasons are:

o                   The reservoir tanks are lower than the printer and the tiny amount of suction from the printer is not enough to draw the ink up the tubes to the cartridges.

o                   The breather holes on the top of the reservoir tanks are not open preventing air to enter the reservoir tanks above the level of the ink, or

o                   There is too much air in the system between the cartridges and the reservoir tanks.

I’ve been using the CISS for some time now but now I see air bubbles in the tubes, is this a fault?

No, this isn’t a fault. Over a period of time, especially if the printer isn’t used often, air will appear in the tubes. This actually comes from the ink itself because it is water based. It is not a bad idea to purge the system of air every 6 months or so as a course of maintenance, although constant use of the printer should prevent a build-up of air.

I have air in the tubes and priming doesn’t cure it.

This is usually because of a join or connection that isn’t airtight and the vacuum formed in priming is drawing air in from around the faulty connection. Check carefully all the tubes for damage especially around the connections and remake the connections if necessary.

I have removed cartridges and replaced it, but now it doesn’t work, what’s gone wrong?

This is because you have created a bubble of air between the cartridge and the print head. The procedure to cure this is as follows:

o                   Take a priming tool and carefully insert the nozzle into the exit hole on the bottom of the cartridge.

o                   Slowly withdraw the plunger until ink is drawn into the priming tool.

o                   Immediately replace the cartridge in the printer.

This can be quite a messy job and precautions should be made before carrying out this procedure to cover work surfaces and wear protective gloves.

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