Find out how simple preventative maintenance can keep your presses running at peak levels and head off costly downtime and quality issues.
By Rick Fuqua
These units need to be monitored periodically to make certain that they are performing correctly and stop the transfer of any significant amounts of water or oil through to the FRL. A regular maintenance procedure includes draining these supply lines to make note of how much water is making its way through the air-line routing. Drops that allow you to shut off, as well as open up, and drain the lines prior to air coming into your press are essential.
Other issues are poorly mapped air systems where the compressor is located outside, sucking in 100% relative humidity when it is raining, as well as all airborne contaminants. Long runs of pipe or hose that allow for water to condense in the pipe without a drop or loop in the line to drain this accumulation before entering the press are also problematic. A local air-service rep can help spot and correct these issues and stop by on occasion to keep your system operating correctly. Compressors are so important to the health of your press that a quarterly check up by an expert in your area is necessary.
Operators should check the FRL every morning when the machine is turned on to verify that the pressure is correct, the water trap is not full of water, and the oiler has oil in it. The pressure regulator is used to control and set the optimum pressure for the machine. Regulating it at the machine allows for a higher pressure to run to the press, which helps to maintain adequate air volume. Check this pressure, often set to around 90 psi, to make sure it is maintained. Drops in pressure indicate a compressor or demand issue that can impact proper press operation. Insufficient air supply starves components of air and can result in lack of pressure or speed of devices furthest from the air supply. Larger garment presses with several printheads are susceptible to this problem, especially when the original manufacturer doesn’t equip the machine with effective air-distribution systems. Even a slight drop in air supply can create a loss of print pressure.
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