For many industries, thermal printing has ushered in a new wave of productivity and reliability. For sectors that rely on the mass printing of labels and barcodes, such as manufacturing, retail, and shipping, thermal printers have allowed them to print better quality images faster and more efficiently. Many companies are starting to take notice, as the demand for thermal printers has increased significantly in recent years. While the benefits of thermal printers are apparent, there are still some things about them which novice users may not be aware of.
There are two kinds of thermal printing
Labels and barcodes can be printed via two distinct methods. Thermal transfer printing involves a ribbon which recreates a printed image on the label while direct thermal printing passes the paper directly over the thermal print head. Direct thermal printers are often preferred due to their lack of costly materials such as ink, toner, and ribbons, as well as for environmental concerns. However, it’s important to consider the final destination of the labels as durability and readability can sometimes be an issue.
Thermal printer heads generally experience more wear-and-tear
Thermal printers require significant maintenance, and even with the proper care, the printer head will degrade with frequent use. Replacement parts for thermal printers are usually expensive, meaning you will want to adhere to a regular schedule of maintenance and cleaning in order to get the most out of the lifespan of your thermal printer.
They are subject to contamination
There are multitudes of different contaminants that can affect the performance of a thermal printer. Dirt, dust, moisture, abrasive cleaning chemicals and even printer residue can negatively impact the printer head and cause it to degrade. Some thermal printers that receive heavy usage are even recommended to be cleaned every day in order to stave off the buildup of dangerous contaminants.
Environmental conditions are an important factor
Many thermal printers are located in areas such as manufacturing plants or warehouses, close to the products being assembled and shipped, for maximum efficiency. While this helps increase productivity, these environments are notorious for being dusty and unregulated. Pay close attention to the location of your thermal printer, and try to anticipate any additional cleaning and maintenance that may be necessary because of the environmental conditions surrounding it.
You can still save time and money by utilizing a managed print services company
Getting the most out of your thermal printer requires vigilance, but you don’t have to face this task alone. Most organizations know how a managed print services company can help them take care of traditional printers, but they can help extend the life of your thermal printer as well. Take advantage of the expertise and reliability of a print services company who can perform regular maintenance on your thermal printer to ensure it lasts as long as possible. When parts do need to be replaced, they can install and repair them quickly, so that you don’t have to face costly production delays.