When it comes to having a good looking print the last thing you want to see anywhere in the mix is Banding! Banding is something that happens in a direct to garment print when nozzles in the print head are not working during the printing process or a lack of ink flow to the print head. When the printer is printing and some nozzles are not firing you will see small lines in the print where that ink should have been. In some cases it can be hard to see but in others it can be quite visible.
With the FreeJet printers “Wet Capping” system the print head is always in a clean state for printing so banding is not common. This is something however you should take very seriously when looking for a direct to garment printer. If you request print samples or get a live demo and notice banding in the prints, question why and understand this is not acceptable. In most cases the problem is caused by poor maintenance but can also be a poorly designed ink management system. Plus if the company lets the standards of banding in prints pass in a product sample you may want to question.
For anyone that has a direct to garment printer you should know that doing a nozzle that check is a vital step before you start your daily printing. Any missing nozzles will be seen in the nozzle check pattern. If you are missing nozzles you should do a head clean followed by another nozzle check. Repeat this process until your nozzle check looks good and your prints should be “Banding” free.