6 Tips to Get the Most from Your Thermal Printhead

17 June 2019

Cleaning your thermal transfer printhead might be the last on your to-do list when changing out your ribbon, but it’s a must if you want to get the most out of your thermal printer! The printhead enables us to print barcode labels using thermal transfer technology.

Often we forget to take care of this integral component and end up with premature failure due to printhead buildup. The first sign of buildup is lines in the print. If not cleaned, the damage becomes permanent and the costly printhead is gone too soon. That’s why cleaning your printhead regularly can help increase the lifespan of your printer and ensure your printing comes out crisp every time it’s used.

To maximize the life of your thermal printhead, follow these guidelines

#1 - Check your thermal printer settings

When operators see print problems, they often increase the pressure and darkness (heat) settings. This stress contributes to premature printhead failure. Instead, clean the printhead to clear the debris blocking printhead elements before adjusting printer settings. 

#2 - Clean your printhead at every ribbon change

OEM’s recommend using isopropyl alcohol wipes at each ribbon change. Unfortunately, this can be inconvenient and time consuming, so few people use this method often. Clean Start® is an alternative printhead cleaner that’s built into the beginning of IIMAK thermal ribbons. It removes debris before it builds up and is quick and easy to use.

#3 - The ribbon should be slightly wider than the label (including liner)

The ribbon’s backcoat is designed to glide over the head. The label is abrasive to the printhead and causes excessive wear.

#4 - Don’t touch the printhead

The printhead is a sophisticated electronic component. Don’t touch the printhead, and don’t attempt to clean it with abrasive cleaning wipes. See #2.

#5 - Use high quality label stock

Poor quality labels can have excessive adhesive that accelerates build-up.

#6 - Don’t forget to clean your printhead

Your thermal heads will last longer with regular attention.

IIMAK partners with resellers to provide thermal transfer ribbons exclusively through distribution. Learn more about partnering with IIMAK for broadest product range and best-in-class service programs to propel your ribbon business in this highly competitive market.