Things You Need to Know About Thermal Printers

imageIf you are printing either bar code labels in your warehouse or receipt tickets at your gates for trucks coming into your yard, you are very likely using a thermal printer.

There are two types of thermal printers: thermal transfer and direct thermal. With thermal transfer, a print-head applies heat to a ribbon which transfers ink to the media. On the other hand, direct thermal printing uses heat sensitive media that blackens when passing under the print-head. Because there is not a ribbon, direct thermal is cheaper per print but images may fade overtime, especially if exposed to heat or light. Direct thermal printing also tends to wear out the print-head faster due to the abrasion of the media.

The most expensive and critical part of your thermal printer is the print-head. It is important that you keep the print-head clean and free of residue in order to maintain print quality and to extend the life of the print-head. One way to keep your print-head clean is by using Cleaning Pens. A box of 12 Cleaning Pens cost $39 – far cheaper then replacing a $200 to $400 print-head. It is recommended that you clean the print-head after every roll of thermal ribbon or roll of direct thermal media. Another way to extend the life of your print-head is to avoid touching the printing surface since skin contaminates can damage the print-head.

For more information on thermal printers, visit our web site or leave comments – we’d be happy to help!


Author: Mark Oetken

A sales consultant for DataGear with a primary focus on the intermodal and warehousing industries throughout N. America. DataGear is a value added reseller for Psion, Intermec, Motorola, LXE, DAP, Zebra and Datamax. DataGear offers new and refurbished mobile barcode scanners as well as repair and maintenance contract services.


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