Press Room

Tips to Get the Most from Your Thermal Printhead

17 June 2019
Tips to Get the Most from Your Thermal Printhead

The printhead enables us to print barcode labels using thermal transfer technology. But 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.

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

  1. 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. Clean Start® is an alternative printhead cleaner that’s built into the beginning of IIMAK ribbons. It removes debris before it builds up and is quick and easy to use.

  2. Check settings – when Operators see print problems, they crank up the pressure and darkness (heat) settings. This stress contributes to premature printhead failure. See #1 instead.

  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. The printhead is a sophisticated electronic component. Don’t touch the print bead. Don’t try to clean it with a green scrubby or any other crazy idea. See #1.

  5. Use high quality label stock. Poor quality labels can have excessive adhesive ooze that accelerates build-up.

  6. Don’t forget to clean your printhead. Your thermal heads will last longer with just a bit of TLC.