How to care for your thermal barcode printer


How to care for your thermal barcode printer

Neglected Thermal printer
Neglected Thermal printer

Congratulations on choosing a thermal barcode printer.  You’ve chosen the most reliable technology for printing high quality barcode labels.  Thermal printers will give you years of trouble free printing, at a cost below what a laser or inkjet can achieve.  That said, if you follow these  simple steps to care for your thermal barcode printer, you will extend the life of your printer and avoid faulty labels and barcodes that don’t scan.

All thermal printers use printheads.  Thermal printheads cost hundreds of pounds, rising steeply in price if you have a high resolution or a wide printhead.  Many people don’t realise they wear out and need replacing.  The printhead is one of only a couple of parts that need care on your printer.  Read on and learn how to care for your barcode printer.

How to care for your thermal barcode printer.

Here are eight things you can do to care for your thermal barcode printer and save money.

  1. Run your printer at the lowest acceptable temperature or darkness setting.
  2. Clean your printhead every time you change ribbons (or in the case of thermal labels, a roll of labels).  I know that sounds tedious, but with an alcohol cleaning wipe, it’ll only take a few seconds.  Contact us and we’ll send you out some complimentary printhead wipes.

    Taking care of your thermal printhead is easy
    Cleaning your thermal printhead is easy
  3. Reduce printhead pressure.  With small desktop printers, you don’t have that option, but with larger industrial printers, there are thumb screws that allow you to reduce the printhead pressure.

    Adjusting a thermal printhead
    Adjusting a thermal printhead
  4. If you’re using thermal ribbons, make sure they’re wide enough to cover the whole width of the labels you’re printing.
    Overlapping thermal ribbon
  5. Slow your print speed.  The slower the better.
  6. Test different thermal printer ribbons. Different formulations of ribbons can give great print results at a lower temperature – leading to longer thermal printhead life.  Contact us and ask for some sample ribbon for you to test.
  7. Never take a knife or screwdriver to your printer.  If a label gets stuck, use isopropanol alcohol to clean the label off.  Sharp objects damage printers – and will end up costing you money.
  8. If you’re using an industrial sized Zebra printer, ask us about their extended life printheads.  Zebra claim they’ll last twice as long as a standard printhead.  Contact us to check if your printer can take one of these printheads.


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