PrismJET VJ54 Media Take-up System

One of the standard features on the new PrismJET VJ54 eco-solvent printer is the dual motor media take-up system. A lot of large format printers are sold without a media take-up system. Indeed, it was optional on the PrismJET VJ48.

The addition of the new dual-motor media take-up on the PrismJET VJ54 is one of the many enhancements we’ve made to our best-selling large format printer.

Why is this feature important to your sign and graphics business? How does it work, and why don’t more companies offer this with their large format printers? Answers to these questions and more are right below the dotted line.

 Why You Need a Media Take-up System

Before we dive into the what, let’s talk about the why. Why do you need a motorized media take-up system with your large format printer?

  • The short answer is abrasion.
  • The longer answer: For short jobs like T-shirt transfers or one-off sign blanks, the take-up system isn’t necessary. But for large graphics or long print runs of multiple images, a media take-up system is essential.
    • It keeps your prints off the floor, which means they stay clean and pristine. Even if your shop floor is regularly swept, letting the vinyl or banner media drag on the shop floor can generate static charges that attract dust, carpet fibers and other particles. Needles to say, these have no place on your freshly printed signs and banners.
    • Stray dust and dirt particles can scratch your prints or get trapped under overlaminate film, resulting in time and money-wasting reprints.

PrismJET VJ54 Media Take-up Features

Before we get into the mechanics of using the PrismJET VJ54’s dual motor media take-up system, let’s take a brief look at the full feature list.

  • The system is driven by an easy- to-use clutch that uses resistance against the inside of the core  to speed or slow take-up. This is a simple but effective way to keep the media take-up in sync with the printer.
  • The clutch system also ensures that the media take-up process automatically pauses when media feed stops. This ‘set it and forget it’ workflow frees you up to manage other aspects of your sign or print shop.
  • The system has a feed direction and activation switch with settings for forward, reverse, or neutral. It’s easy to pause the system or switch feed direction to wind and unwind media.
  • Most media take-up systems only have one drive motor. The PrismJET VJ54 system is a dual motor system that supports use with heavy rolls of media like 13oz banner. Using a single-motor take-up with heavier media can leave you without enough torque to handle a full roll of material. With the dual-motor system, completely winding a 40 yard roll of scrim banner material is not a problem.
  • Finally, the entire mechanism is built to last. The dual motor take-up system is constructed with sturdy materials, including high quality mounting brackets engineered to mount it securely to the  printer stand. A pair of  steel bars lets you position the motors inboard of the printer stand to accommodate a wide range of media widths.

PrismJET VJ54 Media Takeup: Easy Installation and Operation

Newcomers to large format printing may find the media take-up system intimidating. There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s quite easy to use and operate. Click here for a simple pictorial user guide that explains setup and operation.

The unit is comprised of two motors, mounting brackets, two steel guide bars, and a 54″ wide, 3″ diameter core. Installation can be completed in a matter of minutes using a 3mm Allen wrench or hex key.  The take-up system runs on its own electric power supply so of course you’ll need to plug it in and turn it on. Easy peasy. A simple switch controls the feed direction. Set it for forward or reverse, or park it in neutral.

Media movement is controlled by a clutch that turns the core. The clutch can be adjusted to keep pace with print speed so that media is automatically rolled on to the core as the print job progresses. Just set it and forget it. To start printing with the media take-up system engaged, you can choose one of two options.

  • Feed enough media forward to reach the 54″ core. Then tape the leading edge of your print media to the center and sides of the core, ensuring that it’s straight and perpendicular. Then begin your print job and adjust the clutch as needed.
  • If don’t want to waste 2.5′ of media at the front of the print, you can start your print job, then pause the print as the front edge reaches the core. Attach the leading edge, and resume printing. This is easy to do with the PrismJET VJ54’s wave print firmware and eco-solvent ink. Brief pauses like this won’t affect the color or quality of the print, so there’s no penalty for engaging the media take-up system ‘on the fly’. If you’re using some other kind of  printer, this may not be an option.

Don’t try this with latex printers

Don’t try this with your latex printer. Pausing the job long enough to attach media to the core can affect print quality because of the narrow window of conditions required for latex inks to dry during printing.

  • Pausing a latex ink print job can result in visible banding as the ink begins to dry.
  • Pausing can cause warped media or head strikes as it absorbs heat while parked under the 220v hi-heat curing lamps.
  • The take-up reel for latex printers is a single motor system. It also requires the use of a tensioner bar, so setting it up is a more time-consuming affair.
  • And finally, the biggest difference is price. With latex printers, the media take-up reel is an extra-cost option.
    • This is a little perplexing because the take-up reel is more critical to the success of latex printers than it is with eco-solvent printers.
    • According to one latex user manual, “Using the take-up reel with some substrates may give the printer better control of the substrate and is likely to improve print quality.”
    • The amount of heat required for latex inks causes some media to curl up at the edges.
  • The recommended cure for this is the optional take-up reel. Since it’s recommended as a fix for some of the inherent problems of  curing Latex inks, one wonders why it’s not included as a standard equipment.

If you’re wise enough to choose the PrismJET VJ54 as your large format print solution, optional take-up reels and curling media won’t plague you. Professional quality media handling is part of the package.

  • The dual motor media take-up system enables long print jobs without the hazards of dust and dirt from shop floor.
  • Its ‘set it and forget it’ ease of use enhances efficiency.
  • And the dual motor take-up supports the weight of a full roll of 13OZ banner media.

It’s just one of the many features you’ll love about the PrismJET VJ54.

If you haven’t made your choice yet, click here to read our introduction on the Sign College Blog, or click here  to hop over and browse current offers.