The Capping Station or also referred to as Maintenance Station is a crucial component to all Direct to Garment Printer. The print head needs to be protected when not in use and also needs some way to pull ink through the system to prime and clean before printing. If this part is not maintained properly it can cause poor print quality and contribute to head clogging.
What does the Capping Station do? Think of the Capping Station like home base for the printer. When the print head moves to its home position a square cap moves up and creates a seal around the print head. This helps create a semi air tight seal around all the ink nozzles. If the print head was left exposed it would clog up very quickly due to the water based ink used for DTG printing. To move ink through the system and to prime the print head with ink a pump is also inside the Capping Station. Because the cap creates a nice seal against the print head it allows ink to be pulled threw the nozzles when the pump is activated. So when a print head clean is performed ink is pulled through the print head for a second and then pulled out into your waste ink container. During this process the wiper blade comes up and cleans across the print head plate.
Keeping the Capping Station clean and running right is very important. The maintenance required is very simple and should only take you a few minutes. The cap area should always be cleaned when you are done printing. The wiper blade should also be cleaned off during this time. A non-static foam applicator should be used with cleaning solution from the manufacturer. Once a week I have found running some cleaning fluid through the Capping Station helps keep all the tubes and connectors free and flowing. The Capping Station is considered a consumable part and will not last forever, keep it clean and you will be doing yourself and your printer a big favor.