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HP Designjet 5000 and 5500 Series Printers - Accuracy Issues When Tiling

Introduction

This document explains left and right print length variations when using the HP Designjet 5000 or 5500 series for tiling applications. Usually only the first few prints (or the first 2 meters) have a noticeable print length variation. In this case left to right variations of up to 3 mm/meter have been seen depending on the initial skew. This is still withinspecifications. Click here to go to "Printer accuracy specifications."
After the first 2 meters of media are used, the media stabilizes and the left to right variation is reduced to, at most, 1mm/meter. This variation is due to how the roll is inserted onto the spindle end, and how well the media is aligned. Other factors such as media type and printer-to-printer variation have very little effect.

Loading a roll onto the spindle

Make sure the roll of paper is pushed completely onto the spindle. There cannot be a gap between the black hub and the roll on the right hand side. If there is a gap, it will introduce an artificial offset between the blue line and the paper roll.
Try to avoid any gap between the blue hub and the roll on the left hand side by pressing the hub as shown in Figure 1.
Figure : Loading a roll

Aligning the paper

Try to align the paper with itself and not with the blue line. This way the media bottom position and the media top position are perfectly aligned with each other. Using the blue line could cause a small offset as the blue line is only an approximate position. Depending on the printer, the stable media position (i.e. the position where the top and bottom are aligned) could be somewhat to the left or to the right of the blue line.

Printer accuracy specification

The accuracy specification of the DJ 5000 is +/- 0.2% of the specified vector length at 23(C (73(F), 50-60% relative humidity on HP Glossy Media on A0 media on Max Quality or Productivity with HP Glossy Paper.
This means that, for a one-meter long print, the length can vary between 998 mm and 1002 mm or +/- 2mm. The print could be 2 mm shorter/longer on both sides, or in the worst case, it could be 998 mm on one side and 1002 mm on the other side, resulting in a 4 mm variation from left to right.

Summary

The initial skew can cause some left to right length variation in tiling applications. This skew limit is set as a compromise between making the media easy to load while still assuring that the unit meets the accuracy specifications. For most tiling applications, this should not present a problem as the plots are very big and viewed from several meters. However, for some precision tiling applications this introduces some left to right variations during the first 2 meters, that can be minimized by following the procedure describe above.

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