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“Ask the Expert” Offers Tips to Prevent Film from Buckling During Printing

Photo of Carol Millar
Carol Millar‚ 3M Technical Service Specialist

There are several things you can do if you’re experiencing buckling or wrinkling of film during printing.

The most typical cause of buckling is the material being exposed to too much heat. So try reducing the drying temperature by 5° F. If the waviness is still present and the ink is still not drying completely‚ continue reducing the drying temperature. If you reach a level where the ink cannot be dried completely‚ consider adjusting the amount of ink being laid down. If the drying is mainly a problem in darker color areas‚ the total color percentages or total ink limits may need to be lower.

Photo of buckling or wrinkling of film in a printer
A typical cause of buckling or wrinkling of film in a printer is exposure to too much heat.

Some RIP (raster image processing) software has a total ink limit setting that can be adjusted directly. With other software‚ the total ink limit may be built into the media or color profile and cannot be changed directly. In those cases‚ try other media profiles that may use lower limits‚ or create your own. Total ink limits often range between 250 percent and 280 percent‚ depending on the printer‚ inks and media.

Also note that the number of printing passes affects heat exposure. Increasing the number of passes slows the material advance and thus increases the heat exposure. Likewise‚ using fewer passes reduces the amount of heat. The optimum temperature may be different depending on the number of passes being used.

It may take some experimentation‚ but following these tips should help you achieve desirable results.