If 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!

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