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 user 2005-03-29 at 10:28:00 am Views: 134
  • #11149

    The Lexmark 17G0060 cartridge is advertised as a “High Resolution Tri-color”
    cartridge. The 192 nozzles (64 per color) are created in the non-metallic nozzle
    plate using laser micromachining techniques. The bonding of the nozzle plate to
    the actual printhead chip is very secure, and usually presents no problems to
    the remanufacturer.

    The cartridge design follows the basic standards for
    tri-color cartridges, with three separate chambers for cyan, magenta, and
    yellow, each tightly stuffed with foam (Photo 1).

    At the base of each chamber is a filter screen which is a channel to feed
    ink to the printhead. (Photo 2)

    As with all inkjet recycling, the best results are obtained from the best
    quality virgins, so to avoid wasting time and resources on any cartridge that
    will obviously never function, a quick visual exam is usually wise. (Photo

    This can be integrated into the handling during electrical testing. (Photo

    Useable cartridges are then loading into the pre-soak bins. The “60” contains
    dye based inks. These inks, even when dried, can be re-hydrated by soaking in
    purified water for a few hours. Keep the water out from behind the flex circuit
    by standing the cartridges on thoroughly moist toweling, rather than just a pool
    of water. (Photos 5 & 6)

    Access to the interior of the cartridges is gained by removal of the colored
    tops. A top removal tool may be used, or a sturdy razor knife can gently pry the
    top loose at the corners until the top breaks free. Unfortunately, the top of
    the “60” does not pop off as readily as its predecessor, the 12A1980. The “60”
    tops are prone to break into pieces, so some “clean-up” of the remaining foam
    retainer may be required to allow a good fit of the replacement top (to be
    applied later). The clear foam retainer is allowed to remain in position. It
    will not be removed or replaced. (Photos 7 – 9)

    Depending on the estimated age and condition of the virgins, it may be
    prudent to utilize the optional step of atomization cleaning to help open the
    nozzles. This will maximize the potential for good print test results.
    Atomization cleaning directs an extremely fine, warmed stream of atomized,
    purified water droplets into the nozzles, which removes any coating of dried ink
    from the nozzles and resistor chambers. This process takes approximately 10
    seconds per cartridge. (Photo 10)

    The most intensive cleaning is accomplished by overflow flush cleaning.
    The fluid used is only purified water, heated to approximately 43 degrees C (110
    degrees F). In a six-minute cycle, with needles penetrated to within 2 mm of the
    filter screens, virtually all ink will be removed from the cartridges by the
    flooding action. (Photos 11 – 15)

    The result is an ink-free, although thoroughly water-soaked, cartridge. The
    only traces of color anywhere in the cartridge will be the permanent staining in
    the foams. (Photo 16)

    The first stage in removal of this water is to centrifuge the cartridges.
    They are positioned in the centrifuge with the nozzles inward, to allow the
    centrifugal force to sling the water out through the foam retainer. The
    four-minute cycle leaves only a fraction of a gram of water per foam. (Photos 17

    A side effect of centrifuging the cartridges in this orientation may be the
    movement of the foams away from the filter screens. In any foam type cartridge,
    this is the “Kiss of Death”, and must be addressed. The answer is to turn the
    cartridges so the nozzles are now toward the outside, and centrifuge again. This
    shorter cycle, about 2-3 minutes, gently moves any errant foams back to the
    full-contact position with the filter screens. There is now virtually no water
    to exit through the nozzles, so there is no undue stress on the nozzle plate
    caused by this step.

    The cartridges may now be filled with the
    appropriate inks. A result of the flushing and centrifuging is the changing of
    the foam qualities in respect to its absorption of liquid. The water retained in
    the foams, although only 0.2-0.3 grams per foam, changes the natural propensity
    of these foams to repel liquid, into foams that now are receptive to liquid
    absorption. This newly acquired “hydrophilic” condition of the foams means that
    the ink fill amount should be close to the capacity of the foams. Otherwise, the
    ink will surely migrate upwards after the fill, and saturate any unfilled region
    at the top of the foam.

    If this unfilled foam region is relatively small,
    the ink migration will not affect the cartridge’s ability to function in the
    printer. Filling only the lower half of the foam, for example, will result in
    emptying all the ink from the printhead region as the inks are slowly pulled
    upwards. This natural ink migration in nearly full foams still allows for
    expansion of the ink load during changes in temperature and atmospheric
    pressure, allowing the foams to function as intended by the OEM. Fill amount may
    therefore be approximately 9-10 ml per color.

    Fill needles should be as
    close to the filters as possible, and the ink should be released into the foams
    slowly. Vacuum filling offers definite advantages over atmospheric pressure
    filling. In vacuum filling, the inks will be drawn into the printhead during the
    fill, instead of trying to displace the air in this region. Vacuum filling
    requires the nozzles be sealed during the operation, to prevent the in-rush of
    air during return to normal pressure. (Photos 19 & 20) The two preferred
    methods of sealing the nozzles are either with blue tape or a cartridge clip,
    although both methods simultaneously is the best.

    After allowing the filled cartridges to stand and stabilize for a few hours,
    they can be print tested. A complete three color “footprint” after unclipping is
    always a good sign (Photo 21).

    This indicates the ink has penetrated the printhead and fill channels during
    the filling process. The cartridges may be print tested without the colored cap.
    (Photos 22 & 23)

    Cartridges that print successfully need a replacement top. Ultrasonic welding
    is the best and fastest method of attaching the top, which is why this is the
    preferred method employed by the OEM’s. An acceptable alternate method is to use
    a suitable plastic adhesive or hot melt glue. (Photo 24)

    The cartridge exterior may be cleaned at this point, and the appropriate
    replacement labels may be applied. The nozzles must be protected during these
    operations, however, to prevent fouling.
    Blue tape adheres well only to
    extremely clean, dry nozzle plates. Carefully prep the plates, allow to dry, and
    apply the tape. (Photos 25

    Final packaging gives the cartridges a professional appearance. Date coding
    of some type is always recommended. (Photo 26 and 27)

    Electrical tester
    Bin, for
    Purified water
    Lexmark top removal tool, or a sturdy
    utility knife
    Atomization machine
    Ink filling machine
    Print tester, or OEM
    Replacement tops
    Ultrasonic welder, plastic adhesive, or hot glue
    Nozzle preparation machine
    Taping machine
    Packaging materials