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HP Designjet 4000 Printer Series - Troubleshooting Media Skew

Issue:
The printer output is displaying an unacceptable level of skew. It is especially noticeable when printing plots with vertical and horizontal lines. This behavior can be seen in all print modes.
The impact of this skew defect is higher for imposition proofing customers. Imposition proofing is printing two-side prints in which both sides must match perfectly.
Skew specifications:
The HP Designjet 4000 printer can generate an acceptable skew of around 3 mm per meter when it is printing the first 3 meters (3.28 ft) after installing a roll. After printing these first 3 meters (3.28 ft), the amount of skew recedes and should not exceed more than 0.8 mm per meter (0.03 inch per 3.28 ft).
note:
These specifications only apply to roll media and not cut sheet media.
The skew effect can be more visible in some units more than others. So far, this issue has been seen only in a few cases.
Solution
Follow the proposed troubleshooting to check if the printer 'is' or 'is not' within the skew specifications described above. Ensure that the media used is from HP and is correctly loaded:
  1. Ensure that the media is well loaded and that the spindle is well seated. Also make sure the media path is clear.
  2. Ensure the media spindle is correctly installed and is correctly inserted into both sides of the printer.
  3. When loading the media onto the spindle, ensure that the blue paper stop spindle is pushed in as far as it can go, without using excessive force. Make sure the media is flush against both the right and left media stops.
    Figure : Pushing blue paper stop spindle
  4. Ensure that the media roll is correctly loaded on the spindle and it does not turn around on the spindle.
  5. Ensure that the back tension is applied. Check this by pulling out media from the spindle and feeling the back tension. Media back tension is applied to the paper by the right spindle support assembly.
  6. When pulling the paper through the media path, the paper tensioner pulls the paper back a little. Do not retract the media. It is recommended to always pull the media out from the printer.
  7. When the roll is loaded and media installed into the printer, wind the excess paper onto the roll. Use the paper stop to turn the roll in the direction shown in the figure below. It is critical that the media is wound tight onto the spindle.
    Figure : Winding the excess paper onto the roll
  8. Make sure that the media selected from the front panel is the same as the actual media loaded.
  9. During the media advance, ensure that there is the same amount of tension on the left and right side of the media just above the spindle . If the tension is not the same, it means that the media is mainly pulled out by one side only, which can create a Skew defect.
  10. Make sure that the spindle is stable and well placed in the printer:
    • Check that the spindle does not move laterally when the media advances.
    • Ensure that the printer is horizontally positioned in the correct manner, so that the media roll does not push the media more towards the left side.
    • Make sure that the entry roller is not damaged. Ensure that it is completely round.
  11. Make sure that the skew is not influenced by Paper Expansion, Paper Advance (PEPA) limitation.
PEPA limitation:
When receiving a high quantity of ink all at the same time. Consequently, the media expands. This is usually observed when printing ‘area fills’ in Fast mode or Normal mode (optimized for drawings/text) on a paper based media (Coated, bright white, bond etc.).
The recommended actions to avoid PEPA:
  • Print with a higher image quality setting (Best, or Optimized for image). When printing in Best, the quantity per swath decreases and so, the media has a lesser tendency to expand.
  • Print text plots.
note:
Remember that along the first 3 meters (3.28 ft) after loading the roll the skew may be up to 3 mm/meter (0.12 inch/3.28 ft). To avoid this issue, it is recommend to print a dummy plot first.
After performing all these checks, print the test plot in order to measure the skew.

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