Photo: Wet Lab machine creating dirty prints

Joined
Nov 26, 2011
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228
#1
This message goes out to anyone who has ever used the Wet Lab machines before.

My paper printer is creating dirty prints on any image with white or light colored edges. I have scrubbed, soaked, and cleaned any accessible part that I can easily remove and reinstall, but the problem will not go away.

On 5x7 size prints, I get a very straight and narrow band about 1/4" from the bottom edge, and depending on the colors, the edge that first pops out onto the conveyor belt looks like the edges were singed.

On 8x10 size prints, I get a straight wide bands across the image on the top and bottom.

The problem seems to go away if I print 5 to 10 copies of the images, sometimes not.

I have called Kodak multiple times about the issue, but they just close the case a week later after never seeing a tech step foot in my store. If anyone has a quick fix that can get me through the card printing season, or know what to tell Kodak to get them to come out, let me know.

EDIT: The problem occurs less often if I'm lucky enough to get the larger images to follow a series of 4x6 prints. This is leading me to believe that the problem is in the chemical tanks or the rollers the pictures travel through.
 
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Joined
Nov 15, 2011
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#3
I know our Photo Lab Assistant is dealing with this problem. He can't seem to figure out how to fix it either. I'd be interested to see if anyone has any fixes to this problem.
 

StaticSun

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#5
I don't have a wetlab, but I would suggest calling Kodak and ask to be escalated to a Specialist.
 
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#6
i have a wet lab and this happened to us awhile ago. I called Kodak and they sent out the tech who had to change our chemicals.. He wasn't sure that would work but i haven't had a problem since then. I agree with StaticSun.. get them to escalate the call to a specialist and don't "allow" them to close the case. You need to keep calling them back if they're not fixing the problem.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
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#7
If the edges of the paper look singed, I think that means the edges have been exposed. If the filters haven't been changed recently, I would change those asap, and I would also clean the big rollers (when you take out the roller racks that get rinsed every night, there are other racks beneath those, which go directly into the chemicals, and those are the ones that I think you should clean). Something similar happened to our lab when I worked in it, and our good tech told me that the easiest way to fix it (temporarily) is to run a bunch of random 8"x10"s (I usually log into my Facebook and use those photos) until they come out clean, then reprint the guest's order.
 

StaticSun

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#8
i have a wet lab and this happened to us awhile ago. I called Kodak and they sent out the tech who had to change our chemicals.. He wasn't sure that would work but i haven't had a problem since then. I agree with StaticSun.. get them to escalate the call to a specialist and don't "allow" them to close the case. You need to keep calling them back if they're not fixing the problem.
The intro level techs are terrible. They just read off of a script. Specialists have more leeway and are so much more helpful.
 
Joined
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#9
i HATE the intro techs. It's so stupid we even have to deal with them. I don't think they've ever once helped me. One time I called because our control strips kept coming up red even though our numbers were correct and their solution was to pick up the reader and drop it. I laughed at her thinking she was joking and she said "i'm serious, pick it up about 12 inches in the air and just drop it. That will fix the problem." I refused and she said she couldn't help me then and was going to close the case. Every time I have to call them i just want to pound my head into a table.
 
OP
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#11
It's funny you ask. The very next day after posting this, the machine suddenly felt like working properly. I've been rocking plenty of cards, and the only problem its thrown at me so far is a few silvery flecks of whatever on the first one or two prints out of the machine.

Until something happens again, I'll hold off on calling Kodak until it really hits the fan. My usual field techs will turn right around if I don't have anything to show them. I'd hate to have a "call-wolf" cry if the came out when it was working right.
 

adboardartist

Photo Lab Philanderer
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Jun 12, 2011
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#12
Two things are causing your dirty prints:

1) Your stabilizer is polluted. This is caused by not changing the filters on a regular basis. Change your filters every two weeks, minimum. These things trap dirt that will come up on your prints. Also, I would recommend adding stabilizer starters to your existing chemistry in order to help clear up some of the excess contaminants. PM me if you want instructions on how to do this.

2) Your rollers are dirty. The fix for this is actually counter-intuitive: You mentioned that you've tried scrubbing off the rollers, don't. The reason these bands are not showing up on your 4x6's is that your printer does so many of these prints that it cleans itself. Conversely, 8x10s and 5x7s are gunky because the outer regions of the rollers are simply not utilized as much. When you go and try to clean the rollers manually, you're actually conjuring up old dirt that will make its way on to prints. To clean this up, you just need to run some bigger prints through before doing your orders. I make a habit of running an emulsion test before I do any 8 inch prints.

I should also mention that this is a problem common to all wet printers, and it is completely normal. Therefore, this isn't really a problem that you can fix per se, you have to work around it. Get in the habit of watching your first couple 8x10s and 5x7s, if they are not to your liking make them over a couple times. If its really bad, call kodak, tell them you have red chemistry. They'll dispatch a tech to reset your chemicals, make sure you tell them to drain / reset the stabilizer.
 

adboardartist

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#13
It's funny you ask. The very next day after posting this, the machine suddenly felt like working properly. I've been rocking plenty of cards, and the only problem its thrown at me so far is a few silvery flecks of whatever on the first one or two prints out of the machine.
This is also normal, when you start to really pump out prints (especially 4x8 cards which utilize the entire roller) you'll see a reduction in gunk. Its all about how utilized your machine is. Also, from what you are describing your machine is retaining silver. If you are able, take out your bleach rack and clean it with a toothbrush or a brillo pad (its huge, it will take time). If you don't know what I'm talking about, call kodak, they'll do it for you (eventually).
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2011
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#14
The lines on the 8x10 comes from lack of use (the build up of chemicals on the rollers. Kodak always tells me to print 50+ prints and the lines go away (it will also get better as the holiday season is here). The singed edges are coming from the paper being exposed. Change the roll.
 
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#15
Thanks for the tips everyone.

I change the filters either weekly. I don't have any of the "starters" you speak of. The machine uses the cocktail boxes (P1, P2) instead of manually balancing the chemicals. We're a low volume lab except during holiday card time, so I wasn't expecting to see the changes so quickly.

As far as the singed edges go, it's not light exposure. It literally looks like something is literally burning the edges, but it isn't making contact long enough to cause damage. Its only apparent on pure white leading edges on 5x7 and 8x10.
 

adboardartist

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#16
I change the filters either weekly. I don't have any of the "starters" you speak of. The machine uses the cocktail boxes (P1, P2) instead of manually balancing the chemicals.
P1 and P2 are replenishment packages, when you reset your chemistry you have to start from scratch and do the chemicals manually. I'm sure you have some stabilizer somewhere, usually its in your stockroom along with the developer starters and the large jugs of bleach.
 
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