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Barcode Printers: Simple Steps to Prolong Your Printheads Life

The most common printer replacement is the printhead. It can also be the most costly. Here are some reasons why the printhead wears out and what you can do to help slow down that process.

First of all, what is a printhead, and what does it do? In a barcode printer, a printhead is a device that creates the image on the face of your label or tag. It heats small resistor elements known as dots by applying an electrical current. The heat from the dots is transferred to either the direct thermal media or the thermal transfer ribbon. This produces your text, image, or barcode.

Printheads will eventually wear out. When the dots are heated and cooled rapidly, friction will occur as the media passes against the printhead. During the life of the printhead, the dots may stop heating which will cause the output to become lighter and ultimately affect print quality.

Here are some simple steps to prolong your printheads life:

  • Read your printer’s user manual, and clean the print head as described regularly. Having a dirty print head will diminish your optimal output and build up residue from the printing process causing uneven heating of the dots.
  • Use the paper and media type that your printer’s user manual recommends. Using the wrong type of media can cause mechanical and thermal wear on your printhead.
  • Adjust your printer to the lowest print speed setting for acceptable print quality. Doing so will help reduce the mechanical wear on your printhead.
  • Try to have your printer in a setting that is room temperature. If the temperature is lower, heating the dots will require more energy to produce the print. This excessive heating and cooling will shorten the lifespan of a printhead.
  • Adjust your printer contrast to the lowest setting that still allows for acceptable quality. The higher the heat, the shorter the life of your printhead.
  • If your printer model has an adjustment for head pressure, again, use the lowest setting possible for quality printing. Lower pressure means less friction on your printhead.

Contact RMS Omega for more information on Barcode Printer Maintenance, Services, and Repair at 888.857.8402.