Introduction

DuraFlex printers built with 2 printheads stitched together are now possible and supported in Navigator DFE for DuraFlex r7

Release Notes


Changes for Navigator DFE have been made to support 2-wide systems.  

To be sure that we can always get the speed we need with just one computer driving the system, we use the Harlequin scalable RIP to provide as many RIPs as are necessary for the speed.  

We treat the 2 sides as 1 single printer in the case of printing jobs.  

In the case of maintenance functions, we will allow control of each printhead system separately.  


We split incoming print data in half and deliver it to the correct printhead, where it will be stitched back together.  This release supports butt stitching only.  No feathering.


The printheads are 324.4mm or 12.77 inches.  Stitching them together will roughly double this width.


More documentation:

https://help.xitron.com/a/solutions/articles/1000308901

Also try our search field with the word "DuraFlex"


General workflow changes

1. Scalable RIP is both included and required.

In order to run a 2 wide system at full speed we use the Harlequin Core scalable RIP.  


2.  Page Filter Action is both included and required.  The page filter action is a standard part of this delivery.  With the page filter action we will split incoming PDF files in half and deliver half to each printhead.  The user submits jobs at the width of the printer (or any width up to that size) and we deliver the data to the correct printhead.


A standard DuraFlex 2-wide workflow will consist of Hotfolder, Spot Color Adjustment, XiPosition, XiStep, Page Filter Action, and Render Action.  


Page Filter Action will be configured for Stitching at installation.  Stitching mode is the most commonly useful for DuraFlex 2 wide.  This will be pre-configured by the installer.  In normal operation you will not change or touch this.

However, a picture showing the correct Page Filter action configuration for DuraFlex follows.


Stitching mode receives incoming PDFs and splits the data for each printhead.  This mode is what you use to send jobs at full printer width and have them print as expected.


The other two modes are transactional printing modes and are special cases.  They are designed for printing letter sized pages (either metric; A4 or US Letter; 8.5"x11").  If you send a 10 page job to a Slit and Merge set up you will get page 1 on the left, page 2 on the right; followed by page 3 on the left, page 4 on the right; etcetera.

If you send a 10 page job to a multi stream setup you will get pages 1 - 5 on the left and pages 6-10 on the right.  The first section to print would be page 1 on the left and page 6 on the right.  

These special case modes are used in printing transactional work such as credit card statements.



Printer Maintenance


To get to the printer maintenance page, click the gear button on the main DFE page, upper right.  (Circled in red, below)



That brings you here:


A few things have changed so you can monitor both printheads.  Note the upper left printer status area now refers to more than one printhead system.

 



If you wish to perform a printhead cleaning, you will go to the upper right of the above window.


When you click (for example) "Light..." cleaning you will be presented with a choice.

You can choose Head 1, Head 2, or both.    The system will proceed to do a light cleaning on whichever heads you chose. 



A new button was added for maintenance in this latest release.  The button that says "Wipe..."

It’s actually ‘index wiper’ or 'move wiper substrate forward', meaning move the cloth the printhead wiper uses forward a click. This cloth is a consumable item.  

The wiper indexes (moves the cloth forward) on its own after some number of wipes, so using this button is not required on a regular basis.  It’s for cases where there’s lots of buildup on the head and the wiper gets tons of ink on it.  If you want to move onto cleaner wiper cloth, then this button is for you!



On the bottom right of the main window there are some protected options:


Click the unlock button to access these.  The password might be 'xitron'.  If not, check with your printer manufacturer.


Whichever choice you make here will also present you with a choice:

 Again, choose Head 1, Head 2, or both.




Stitched printhead alignment


In the Navigator Server application under Manage Devices,


 you will need a DuraFlex device configured.  This should be done by the installation process but you can create one manually if you need to.  Here you will set up the address of the printer.  More details are here: DuraFlex documentation, and here: More Navigator DFE documentation


What we are concerned with here is the new printhead alignment procedures.

In the 'advanced configuration' dialog box of the Device Manager you will find stitch alignment controls, which are new to DuraFlex DFE for 2-wide support.


There is a lot to consider in this dialog box, and for most of it, see here: DFE for DuraFlex documentation

The bottom section has 2 new items. 

Assign Heads to PCs and Stitch Alignment.

In this section we are concerned with Stitch Alignment.

Important Note concerning stitch alignment:  Performing the following steps assumes you have already set up the printer and performed mechanical alignments.  See your Memjet documentation or contact your technical account manager for help with this.


Instructions for doing software printhead alignment.

1. Complete mechanical alignment first


2. Load media that spans the 2-wide print width

  • Must be roll to roll or 5 cut sheet pages with each page approximately 11.69” (297mm) in length


3. Click the “print files” button in the Advanced Configuration window shown above.

  • The cmd line prompt below pops up.  Go ahead and push a key to make it go.
  • Wait for the five pages to print


4. After printing, select one of the five pages to scan

  • Using an Epson 12000 XL scanner (Check with Memjet for supported scanners), scan the selected page as follows:
    • Scan the printed chart at a resolution of at least 300 DPI, and producing 24-bit color tiff files. 
    • The full height must be captured in a single image.
    • The width can be captured over multiple separate images. If possible, do an additional scan of the middle section of the chart (where the printheads overlap) with the paper rotated 90 degrees - this can help to reduce the effect of distortion the scanner may have in one dimension. Thus on an Epson 12000XL scanner, for example, there will typically be 3 tiff files produced for a single 2-wide chart.


5. Put the scanned TIFF files in C:\Navigator\Navigator\Workspace\duraflex_alignment_files\

This is dependent on your install path.

Normal paths:

Install location:                C:\Navigator

RIP Manager location:    C:\Navigator\Navigator

Workspace location:       C:\Navigator\Navigator\Workspace


6. Click the “Analyse Scans” button  (from the dialog box shown above)

  • The analyse scans button runs a script which is located in:

                C:\Navigator\Navigator\Workspace\duraflex_alignment\analyze_files.bat 


7. Once the scans are analyzed,  populate the xCal and yCal entries with results and then click “set”.  Then you can click "OK" to close out the dialog box. 


That should do it.  For more information on expected results and tolerances, see your Memjet technical resources.



PC Configuration

Note:  In release 7.0 there is an additional requirement to configure a particular file.  Instructions here. 

In Server/Manage Devices you can open your DuraFlex device and see this:


You need to put in either the IP address or the mDNS name for the printer.  Memjet will have labeled the printer with a sticker that provides this information.  Until you get the address of your printer in the right field the device status will be OFFLINE.


Where to get this address? 

You can get it from the printer.  Memjet ships them labeled with a unique address.



Our device's mDNS address was typed into the window and everything connects.



Clcking on "advanced..." brings you here:


Clicking on Assign Heads to PCs brings you here:


Computers with Navigator DFE on them will appear on the left.

Printing presses and selected DFE computer's will appear on the right.  

Let's select DURAFLEXTESTBOX.

Assign the printhead modules to the DFE computer you wish to control the printer.  Drag the printhead modules to the computer.


 Now the printheads have been assigned to a DFE for control.  

The above example shows a single-wide printer.  


Here is what a single sided, 2-wide printer looks like:

 


For a 2 wide system, you can run it on one PC.  It is optional to run it with 2 PCs instead.

Again, the window on the left shows computers on the network with Navigator running.

The window on the right is where we can drag printheads to a Navigator instance.  

In the example above we have mapped both printheads to one computer, named Xitron2W-RIP.   

1 computer will normally be enough for a 2 wide system.  If you have poorly designed PDF files or underpowered computers, adding a computer and configuring the second one as an additional RIP farm to separately drive the 2nd printhead is possible. You have to install Navigator on both computers before you can set them up to work together.  Contact your printer manufacturer or your support contact for more details.  


More detail on the Head Assignment Tool is available in it's own document, here: the HAT document


Spooler

The spooler also has some changes to allow for 2 wide printers.

You can see at the top of the spooler window that the press is recognized to be 2-wide Simplex.  That is, 2 wide and single sided.  We obtain that configuration from the printer after configuring it to connect to the printer via IP.




You configure that IP address here:  
You may be using mDNS names, which is also supported. You can use either mDNS names or IP addresses.


The control window in the spooler also has a section to tell the spooler whether to send a command to "All" or "Head 1" or "Head 2".