Harvey's History


By Richard Hilton

In the late 1990's I was working as a printer technician, certified by HP and Canon, when the company I worked for became a national distributor for sublimation inks.

Sublimation is a heat transfer technique for putting photo quality images on metal, ceramics, polyesther and some plastics. At that time Epson inkjet printers were the only sublimation printers used.

I was asked to serve as the tech support person for sublimation inks systems, and so I became very involved in Epson inkjet printers and helping people solve the problems related to using inkjets on a professional level.

The problem I heard every day was clogged heads. And every Monday I heard it a lot. People would let their printers sit idle over the weekend, and by Monday they would have clogged heads.

A one or two-day clog could usually get cleaned with regular head cleanings, but with sublimation inks costing $110 for a small cartridge, head cleanings using three or four heads were very very expensive. Sometimes, a full set of cartridges would be used just to get the printer ready to print.

And too frequently, a beautiful printer would go to the landfills because a clog just wouldn't clear up. I personally lost three excellent Epsons.

We told everyone who bought a system that they should run a nozzle check pattern every day, just to keep ink flowing through all the nozzles and prevent clogging.

Sublimation inks contain more solids than most other inks, and are more likely to clog rapidly, and Epsons clog more readily than other inkjets, but still it is true that inkjet printers get into trouble when they don't have anything to do.

In early 2006 I had my own company supplying specialty items to the awards industry. At a trade show I was approached by the sublimation ink manufacturer and asked, would I like to become a sublimation ink distributor?

'Only if we can solve the head clogging problem,' was my first thought. And that was the beginning of Harvey Head Cleaner. I knew that most sublimation users DO try to run a nozzle check daily, but they take off for the weekend, or go on vacation or just forget. So I got together with a professional programmer and within a few months we had worked out the first Harvey.

Our first concern was sublimation ink users, using Epson printers. We found that one set of commands wouldn't work for different classes of printers. We introduced Harvey for Epsons in three versions to sublimation users and tech support people around the world cheered.

Then we heard from non-Epson inkjet owners who had similar problems and wanted Harvey Head Cleaner, too. Our work on a Universal Harvey gave us the Desktop Edition for sheet-fed inkjets and the Large Format Edition for roll-fed larger inkjets.

Now Harvey is used around the world by people who rely on their inkjet printers being ready to run, and run right.

Harvey helps keep inkjets running right.