The Navigator DFE supports printers built on Memjet's DuraFlex platform. In this document we'll show you items specific to DuraFlex. On this site is a library of documents generally applicable to the DFE as well as documents specific to DuraFlex. You'll find both of them to be useful. They are organized in folders.
There are 4 basic applications that work together to drive a DuraFlex printer:
- Navigator Server
- Navigator DFE web client
- NCE (Navigator Configurations Editor)
- DuraFlex spooler
We'll talk about each of these in this document.
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Connecting to a DuraFlex printer
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Version change information
The Server has 2 primary points of interest. The Workflow Action renderer settings and the Device Manager.
To access or change these settings, go to Manage Workflow actions > Render Action.
Navigator DFE contains the Harlequin Core scalable RIP. Depending on the number of RIP licenses you’ve purchased in conjunction with your hardware configuration it may be possible to enable additional RIPs for processing. Some printers may require additional RIPs to handle the data processing requirement. e.g. 2-wide or duplex.
Specific settings for this window are as follows:
- # RIPs per PC: This will correlate with the number of RIP licenses you have purchased. Enter the number of desired RIPs in this input field. Consult your support representative for help configuring the RIP instances correctly. A base system should have "1" under 'RIPs per PC'. So far, so good. If you want to have 3 RIPs working on your jobs simultaneously, enter 3. How this matches up to your RIP license in the LDK tool may be a little confusing if you don't understand the concept of the control RIP. An LDK license of 7 RIPs gives you 6 maximum for this dialog box. There is 1 RIP who controls the other RIPs in the Harlequin Core Scalable RIP. So if you want to have 6 RIPs working on your jobs simultaneously, you get a license for 7. 1 control RIP and 6 workers.
- # Threads per RIP: The number in this field should reflect the number of colors you are printing. This setting is per RIP instance. Ex: If you are printing CMYK, then you would want this value to be 4 regardless of the number of RIP instances. If you are printing a single color you would want to enter 1 in this field. Depending on your specific implementation this number may deviate from this general rule.
- Memory per RIP: This will be limited by the amount of RAM in your PC. Increasing this value may or may not affect the performance of your RIP.
If you followed along with our installation guide, or if someone installed your printer for you, this step is likely complete.
If you have not connected your DFE to your printer, then head to Device Manager.
To continue with connecting your printer to the DFE click here. If you've already done that, continue reading below....
There are a lot of controls and options hiding behind the "Advanced.." button. Likely this will be configured by Xitron or by your printer vendor. If you need help with the Advanced options, you might want to seek some advice from your technical contact at your vendor.
Let's go through them by number. The number in the picture corresponds to the number below.
1. Auto-start on Idle
The default state for this item is checked. Unless you have a good reason, leave it checked. It could just be called “Print the jobs”. Because turning it off stops you from printing anything until you turn it back on. If checked, the software will automatically start the print process when a job is submitted to the press.
If unchecked, the job will not be started and will sit on the press waiting to be printed. This might help you to queue up a few tiny jobs to the press before starting. It might become very important to you if you are trying to chain together very small jobs (e.g. multiple 1 page jobs that you want to print without gaps or without mid-job servicing) If so, look at this.
2. Auto clear fault.
The default state for this item is unchecked. If unchecked, the software will NOT attempt to automatically clear FAULTs on the press. Then you can see what is causing your faults because the error message will remain on screen and the printer will sit and wait for intervention.
If checked, the software will attempt to automatically clear the FAULT by re-initializing the press.
3. Print On Media
This flag controls whether the press will print data if media is present or not. It may be advisable NOT to print when there is no media under the print sensor. When this feature is enabled, the press will only print on the media and any excess image on the tail end of the sheet will be clipped so as to not cause ink to continue to be ejected once the media is no longer present. If this option is unchecked the tail end of the image can bleed off. Please note that extra image on the left or right of the media could still bleed as there are no sensors tracking media width. In the DFE it is possible to offset when the printing will start on the sheet to get a bleed on the lead edge of the sheet.
4. INK_OUT timeout.
When one of the inks on the press is nearly out the press will inform the DFE, which will allow the job to continue but will pause the job before the ink actually runs out and triggers a FAULT. Due to the variables involved the actual value will need to be determined by the press vendor. If you need a default to try - try 10.
5. Missing TOF timeout.
The default value for this item is 20 seconds.
For a number of reasons it is possible that media may stop passing under the printhead leaving it exposed. If left for too long a period, the printhead will begin to dry out which could result in damage and loss of performance and quality. If the software does see an indication that media has passed under the head before the timeout expires, it will cancel the job and cap the printhead to protect it. It cannot pause the job as the press has pages that are waiting to be printed and will not pause while this is the case, leaving the head exposed. This timeout value should be adjusted at installation.
6. Print Buffer Start Trigger (%)
This refers to the buffer on the printer. Not our spooler buffer. It also refers to the job at the front of the queue.
The default value for this item is 50%. This is 3000mb. The press buffer is 6gb.
While the software renders the pages of the job very rapidly and the network transfer to the press is also rapid, occasionally network and rendering issues may cause pages to be send to press at below optimal levels.
The software will wait until the specified trigger percentage of the press’s print buffer is full of job data before starting the print cycle, in order to build up a ‘head of steam’ to try and minimise any issues caused by network or rendering issues which could result in a data underrun and a failed job output.
If all of the job’s data is sent to the press before this level is reached, then the job will start the print cycle anyway.
7. Print Buffer Underrun Trigger (%)
Again, this refers to the buffer on the printer. The default value for this item is 15%. While this may seem quite high, I would not recommend setting a value below this; the press’s buffer is 6000MB and a CMYK US Letter page is about 80MB, so 15% equates to about 11 pages. The pause process usually requires about 8 pages to complete, so 15% includes a small safety margin.
As a companion to the Print Buffer Start Trigger, this value is used to prevent the press running out of data when printing very complex jobs that take a long time to render, by pausing the job if the buffer level falls below the specified level, and then waiting for the buffer to refill above the Start Trigger (6) or for all of the job’s data to be in the press’s print buffer.
This trigger will not activate if, when the buffer falls below the specified level, if all of the job’s data is in the press’s print buffer, as the job will complete normally.
More information about buffering is here
<Repeating the same Advanced Configuration screen shot>
Tiff input settings.
TIFF input is a special case. Standard usage dictates using PDFs as input files TIFF isn't for most people. With it you can use our Printer Controller and job queue but do color management, screening, and rendering in an external RIP.
This option probably requires programming or software development. Getting support from Xitron for development may incur engineering level support fees.
Don't try to implement this without reading this document first:
8. Tiff Input Settings . Check this to set the system into TIFF mode. Normal mode is PDF input.
9. Don't expand group files. You need to check this to keep TIFFs together in a job
10. Wait for page (secs) set this field to the number of seconds the DuraFlex Spooler should wait for the arrival of an expected TIFF page before erroring the job.
The media transport speed must be set in this window for each resolution. If Maximum speed is selected in the DFE web client, the value for the associated resolution in this window will be used.
For each resolution, there is a maximum speed. Depending on your application, these values may differ than what is seen in this screen capture. Please ensure that you have the recommended values for each resolution in place from your hardware manufacturer.
The press speed is used for calculating the correct amount of KWS (keep wet spit) to use in order to optimize ink usage and prevent the print head nozzles from drying out. The values that are entered in this box for each resolution is only for the maximum speed you wish to allow the press to run at. For each job, it is recommended by the print head manufacturer to set the speed you intend to run for each job with the dialog box located in the Advanced Job Editor within the DFE.
The maximum speed for each resolution is listed below.
11. Y-resolution (DPI). (paper path direction) Choose each resolution, one at a time.
12. Choose your speed for that resolution. Repeat for each resolution.
13. Choose your preferred measurements
TOF Media offset in µMeters
The TOF (Top Of Form) Media Offset is the defined distance between the media sensor location (if equipped) and the printhead where imaging begins. The value placed in this box for each print unit allows for the print controller to know when a piece of media is present and heading toward the print head. Internal calculations within the print controller converts encoder tics into uMeters so that printing will start on a piece of media in a consistent manner.
This value should only need to be set once. If a temporary adjustment to the TOF Media Offset is necessary for certain types of work, this can be performed elsewhere in the user interface of the DFE. This process is described later in this documentation.
If the values aren’t populated, they are polled from the print controller.
It is assumed that the TOF Media Offset value will be different from the first print unit and the second print unit, hence the ability to enter the value for each unit individually. Modifying this value does not change the value in hwparamstore.json, but it does override it.
14. Front/Rear. This label is unfortunate because we use different nomenclature elsewhere. Stage 1/Stage 2. Front/Back. 1st printhead/2nd printhead. In a two sided press you will have two TOF sensors. One for 1st printhead and one for 2nd
15. This your distance from the TOF sensor to your printhead. In microns. AKA µMeters. AKA micrometers.
16. Reset to default. Press this button only if you have messed up your TOF distance settings. This will reach into the hwparamstore.json file inside the DuraFlex printer and replace your TOF distance setting with whatever is there. Will this default setting be correct? Ask your printer vendor.
<Repeating the same Advanced Configuration screen shot>
17. Configuration. There are three choices here: Duplex, Simplex, and Simplex Secondary.
Briefly these are "two sided", "one sided", "one sided on the second unit of a duplex".
18. Secondary address. This is the IP address of the second print unit in a duplex system.
- For one sided printers: Pick Simplex.
- For two sided printers: pick Duplex and enter the address of the second unit.
Duplex printing has some special considerations and special modes (e.g. simplex secondary). Read here.
19 Hydration Control . . .
This button leads to a dialog box where you configure settings specific to spit and keep wet spit controls. Details are here.
Printer manufacturers technical people will understand these settings. Others probably will not. Call your vendor for help.
20 Assign Heads to PCs . . .
This button leads to the Head Assignment Tool. This is a part of configuring a multiple printhead system. e.g. duplex or multiple printhead wide printers. Details are here.
The DFE browser application has extensive documentation on this site.
However, there are a few DuraFlex specific items we will cover here.
Under the DuraFlex device dialog box....
To get to the printer management page, click the settings button from the DFE main page.
That will bring you to the Duraflex engine controls.
You will see Printer Status on the left. The second column has global print settings that effect every print job.
There are test prints you can send to the printer and maintenance you can perform on the printer.
We'll go over these in detail below.
When you first open the Duraflex engine controls window it will look like this:
However, Duplex and Stitched-wide systems will look different.
Pause after every job will cause the RIP to pause after the last page of every job and require the user to release the next job with a manual click on the main page of the DFE.
This may be useful if your workflow requires frequent paper changes.
Mid Job Servicing turns on or off the Duraflex mid job servicing feature. Please see your printer manual for more detail.
Test Prints Printer manufacturers may add jobs they wish to create as a test print (for quality or positioning tests for example) via the Navigator Server "Import Files" menu.
Printhead Cleaning. You can choose from three levels of printhead cleaning here. They take increasing levels of ink and time. Start with Light if you are not sure what to do.
There are several advanced engine controls hidden behind a lock with a password. This is to prevent inadvertent clicking of maintenance functions that may take considerable time.
To unlock these functions, click the lock as seen below.
UPDATE JULY 2022:
New feature added to support plastic "system bring-up" fake printheads. This dialog now looks like this:
Details on the "bring-up" plastic printheads follows below.
A password dialog will come up.
Consult your printer supplier for this password. The default password in our development builds is "xitron". Your printer manufacturer may have their own password. Once the password is accepted you will see the screen below.
The functions may be self - explanatory but please consult your printer manual for more detail on what to expect from these functions.
Currently, these functions are:
Circulate Ink (used during initial system installation if using plastic printheads)
Drain Ink (used during initial system installation if using plastic printheads)
1. Top of Form Adjustment: This input field is for entering an additional TOF adjustment on top of the position that exists in the Advanced Device Settings within the Navigator Server application. This will assist in offsetting the content of a job toward or away from the TOF sensor when setting up bleed jobs or in other special circumstances.
Note and/or warning:
If you are making changes to the hydration settings when a value already exists in this input field, please double-check your positioning once you have the desired hydration settings in place. You may end up with declog or spit bars on your printed piece.
2. Top of form adjustment: For duplex units, this adjustment is for the second printhead(s).
The Job Editor window has a a few significant changes.
The pulldowns for items 1, 2 and 3 of this list are bound to the Quality pulldown to get default settings. The Quality pulldown is essentially the Render Config list from within the NCE. The following items can be overridden from what exists in the Quality/Render Config pulldown:
- Paper: This is the list of available ICC profiles that are available in your system.
- Calibration: This will override the default calibration selected in the Quality/Render Config pulldown.
*Note: If a render config and calibration have the exact same name, that calibration will override any item selected in this pulldown.
- Tone Curve: This pulldown contains the list of available tone curves that are defined in the NCE.
- DuraFlex button: This is for entering the speed of the media transport on your unit. A more detailed description is located below..
DuraFlex speed controls.
- Maximum Speed, checked: This is default. This will use the setting from Navigator Server for your chosen resolution. The Server settings for this are on the DuraFlex System Device Advanced dialog. (See above for a picture) The speed may be set individually for each Y resolution (Paper path direction resolution). These are initially defaulted to sensible values and stored in the system device database.
- Maximum Speed, unchecked. Enter the speed for the media transport system, on a per job basis, in the field here.
The values are prioritised thus:
- Uncheck Maximum Speed in the DFE and enter a value. This can be set on a per-job basis via the DFE. This overrides any setting in the Server.
- Check Maximum Speed in the DFE to use the Server values. (default). There are maximum speeds for each resolution.
Navigator Configurations Editor
The NCE documentation is here.
The spooler is occasionally useful if you want to see more information about what the job is doing, what the data rate between the DFE and printer is, or if you want to look at the logs.
You can also set the spooler buffer and do other configuration from behind the Configure button.