Tip 1 - Metric vs. Inch

As you may or may not know, most of the printing and bindery equipment in the USA is of foreign manufacture. Because of that, most machinery in the USA is held together with metric fasteners (bolts, nuts, etc.).

However, home repair stores still sell SAE* (inch) tools since home repairs are done with SAE fasteners. Even though new Amercian cars have been sold in the USA using metric fasteners for decades, we find many people in print shops have some SAE tools and almost no metric tools.

Using SAE tools on metric fasteners nearly always damages the fasteners. Once that is done, removal of a damaged fastener is time consuming and can be costly if a service call is needed.

Tools can be damaged in the process, too. Once a tool is damaged it will likely damage other fasteners, even fasteners it was designed to fit.

*Society of Automotive Engineers

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Experience.

That's what a technician from LSS Digital has in quantity.

Our service techs have an average of over 28 years experience in the printing, bindery, and finishing industry. Wherever a machine is, our technicians travel the state of Texas (and sometimes beyond) to resolve your problem.

Call (877) 460-1212 to place a service call.

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Jason - TechnicianMulti-MeterDave - Technician/Webmaster

Tip 2 - Paper

Paper out of a digital printer can be troublesome for finishing equipment to process properly. This is partly due to the high heat the paper endures in the toner fusing process. Once printed, the warm and dry paper will tend to absorb any humidity in the ambient air. The printed paper will become wavy or excessively curled which is detrimental to feeding into finishing machinery.

Two things can reduce this problem. One - use the highest quality paper you can afford for the job. Two - as soon as a job is printed, run it through the finishing machinery before the fused paper has much time to react to the air.

Another thing that can affect the way paper feeds through finishing equipment is paper grain. Grain direction is stated as Long grain and Short grain. Depending on the direction paper has to feed will help determine whether short grain or long grain is better for a particular job.

Paper Conversion Chart

Other Tech Tips from LSS Digital
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  • Tip 12
  • Tip 13
  • Tip 14

Tech Tip 3 - Thread Locker

If you find yourself needing to secure bolts, nuts, or screws, you may need to use a locking agent like Loctite.

For threadlocking duty there are four basic types depending on what you need to do. They are classified by colors.

RED is high strength

PURPLE is low strength

BLUE is for easy removal

There is also a GREEN and a BLUE with a wicking action for preassembled fasteners.

For the most part, we find the BLUE type is the most versatile for use in digital finishing equipment.

Machinery does have to come apart to be repaired after all!

Tech Tip 4 - Fuse Replacement

Most machinery needs a fuse replaced once in a while. It is an easy job, once you have identified which fuse is blown. Of course safety is most important and any machine should be powered off when checking or changing fuses.

However, the next most important thing is replacing a blown fuse with the correct amp rating. If the wrong rating is installed, machine damage can result. Usually from too high an amp rating on the new fuse.

It is very important to look at the machine's manual or fuse rating placard in the machine. When getting a new fuse, you also have to look for decimal points or fraction marks which if missed can cause problems.
6-1/10 or 6.125 is definitely not over 600 amps, let alone over 7 amps.

Have any doubts? Just give us a call at LSS Digital.

Tech Tip 5 - Blade Sharpening

On guillotine paper cutters, a dull blade causes things as simple as jagged cuts and unsquare cutting due to paper draw. When getting unsquare cutting, the first thing to do is install a sharp blade before adjusting anything else on the machine. A dull blade will "draw" paper from the paper clamp during a cut stroke just enough to make a pile of paper unsquare either side-to-side or top-to-bottom.

On perfect binders, a dull milling blade will cause poor quality book bindings. Due to dull or missing blade teeth the milling blade can no longer produce a sharply cut book block. A rounded or flared book block will not be able to be bound to its cover with any degree of quality.

Many customers like to call on a service tech for changing their blades on a regular basis to keep their machinery operating at a high quality standard. Plus, having a tech do the work prevents the possibility of an employee being injured by an exposed blade.

Tech Tip 6 - Paper Drill Bits

Hollow drill bits for drilling holes through stacks of paper come in two basic types. Regular steel and Teflon coated.

The Teflon coated bits have no need for a waxing lube to keep paper chips from getting stuck inside the bit. Regular drill bits definitely need regular waxing to keep the paper chips from sticking internally, which can cause a plugged paper drill bit. Plugged bits no longer punch paper, they just burn the paper with friction and shorten the life of the drill bit.

Flared paper drill bits sometimes can be reused by using a sharpener to reduce the flaring and remove any small chips out of the cutting surface. With the right sharpener, money can be saved from constantly buying new drill bits just because they are dull.

LSS Digital offers drill bits, sharpeners, and wax lube in sticks. All are needed by anyone that does a reasonable volume of paper hole drilling.

Tech Tip 7 - DC Motors

Sometimes all that is needed to get a DC motor running again is to replace its brushes. Other times, just replacing the brushes is just making an older motor limp along at reduced power and efficiency.

The brushes contact against a metal commutator and will deform its surface. Once the surface of the commutator is irregular, it "grinds" new brushes until they match the surface of the commutator.

That will make a DC motor have reduced power until the brushes work in and it creates a lot of carbon dust that gets in the motor. Carbon is what the brushes are made of and carbon conducts electricity. Too much carbon dust in a motor can make a motor short itself and make the motor fail.

When the time has come, the best thing for a DC motor is a rebuild. Usually this will only entail a resurfaced / undercut commutator, new bearings, and new brushes.

Tech Tip 8 - Cutter Rust

Some paper cutters have cutter beds made of bare iron and steel. Though excellent for accurate cutting, these metals are always susceptible to rust. There are two ways we recommend to remove rust from cutter beds.

1. With WD-40, steel wool, and some genourous elbow grease, scrub off the rust. Use paper towels to clean off the mess.

2. With a common rust remover like CLR, surface rust can be removed rather easily. Just coat the metal with it, let it sit for a few moments, then wash it off with water. Be sure to dry off the metal with paper towels.

Both methods require an immediate coating with oil (30w automotive). Before using your paper cutter again, all the excess oil must be mopped off with paper towels. At that point the cutter bed can be waxed with common auto wax to protect from humidity and hands. Repeat the waxing when needed to minimize the need for further rust removal.

Tech Tip 9 - Stitchers

Forgot about your stitchers in your booklet maker because they are running well at the moment?

It's good to keep regular maintanence of your stitch heads so they will keep on running and not leave you and your booklet maker down.

Regular maintenance entails disassembly, cleaning, replacement of worn parts, lubricating, and reassembly.

Depending on the hours of operation per day, a stitch head may need maintenance every week or once per year.

LSS Digital is here to keep your stitch heads up and running.

We can supply parts and service for brands like ISP, DeLuxe, and Hohner.

Tech Tip 10 - Filters

clogged filter

On any machine the filter should be replaced every time the hydraulic oil is changed.

Clogged filters can restrict oil flow and may restrict oil flow so much that the filter is bypassed entirely by the filter bypass valve.

Unfiltered, dirty oil will cause problems with hydraulic valves, hoses, and cylinders.

Ultimately, foreign objects in the hydraulic system can cause complete machine failure.

The filter photographed above has gone unchanged for many years and contributed to the failure of a very expensive clamp cylinder.

With LSS Digital's help, proper maintanence can be attained and help reduce wear and damage to your expensive equipment.

Tech Tip 11 - Fold Rollers

In a Digital Print environment, folding machines need to have their fold rollers cleaned on a regular basis.

Toner based print loses a bit of toner on the fold rollers with each passing sheet of paper being folded.

This causes toner to gradually build up deformities and glazing on the fold rollers which will cause poor folding that cannot be corrected with the usual operator adjustments.

The fix is easy and just takes a bit of elbow grease and a little time.

Using a clean rag dampened with either rubber roller rejuvenator or Sure Wash, toner can be removed and the rollers surfaces will be smooth and clean again.

Fold roll cleaners can be purchased through our parts department, or you can call our service team to come out and clean your rollers while performing maintenance on your machinery.

Tech Tip 12 - Binder Glue

For proper machine operation and good book cover adhesion, having fresh glue in the glue tank is a must. When the glue becomes dark and thick, the glue can actually bind up the glue tank mechanisms like glue drums and side gluers.

Old dark glue is more likely in machines that are left on all day, but make only a few books each day. This is because the glue is "cooking" since it is not being applied to books all the time.

Before the glue gets bad, it needs to be drained. If needed, paraffin wax can be melted in with the glue to help thin it out for draining. If the glue is spongy, it will basically have to be scraped out. Scraping and flushing out bad glue takes hours of work. If the glue is drained before it gets cooked, the time to drain and refill with fresh glue will take much less time.

Most importantly, taking care of the glue condition in a perfect binder takes care of the machine which keeps production at a maximum.

Tech Tip 13 - Lubrication

Machinery that keeps on running is often forgotten when it comes to its lubrication needs. A nicely running machine will keep on running well if you lube it on a regular basis instead of waiting for problems or noises to occur.

Depending on what you are needing to lube on a machine, will be an indicator of what type of lube you need. Grease, heavy oil, light oil, etc., all depend on if you are lubing bushings, bearings, or just directly on metals such as steel or cast iron.

Be sure to check your machine's manual to know exactly what type of lube to use. In a pinch, you can usually get away with 30 weight automotive oil on pivoting / turning parts and automotive grease on sliding parts until you know exactly what lubes are recommended by the manufacturer.

The best proof of good maintenance is a regularly lubed machine that runs as monotonously the same after a lube job as before a lube job.

Tech Tip 14 - Moving Machinery?

If the electricity changes enough from your machine's old location to its new location, your newly moved machine may operate erratically. This will be because the internal electronics are now operating at voltages lower or higher than they require. A simple change of a machine transformer tap will usually correct this.

In equipment that uses 200 - 250 VAC 1-phase or 3-phase electricity, the electronic controls in that equipment need power that is "in range" for proper operation. The incoming voltage will usually be sent through a transformer to change the electricity to 36, 24, 12, or 5 volts for the electronics.

Also on 3-phase machinery, the three "hot" wires of electricity may have one wire with higher voltage than the other two. In some machinery the lower powered two legs have to be wired in specifically to give the electronics the power it needs after the transformer. Electronics need two legs of equal power, however the main motors of the machine will typically be fine since they will require all three wires of electricity and are built to use it.