The Pros And Cons Of A Thermal Printer
With each one serving its own ideal market niche, there are many printing technologies that can be found in the market today. Printers that utilize thermal technology are distinguished from other types of printers due to their ability to seal the ink onto the paper that is being printed on using heat. The components that make up this kind of printer are generally a printer head, an ink ribbon, a rubber roller and a roll of specialized thermal paper. The ink ribbon is heated by the printer head, similar to a fax printer, which is treated with a polyester film backing to print the string of requested text onto the paper. The paper is pushed ahead by the rubber roller where the heated ribbon is pressed against it to print the requested character string. What makes a thermal printer work so well is the speed at which all of this is accomplished, printing areas of 6-12 inches per second.
Regular ink-jet and laser printers use a different kind of ink, as thermal technology uses an ink that is made from either wax or resin, or a combination of both. Each variant has different shelf lives so make sure that you pick one that is appropriate for your printing needs. After being printed, wax ink ribbons last for only 2 years at most but are the cheapest variant to purchase. Receipts from point of sales terminals that utilize this kind of ink should be scanned or copied if they are important. The combination of wax and resin is a much more durable variant if you are looking for something that can last when printed on fine-toothed paper, as well as papers that are coated with a film coat. Still, the printed product should not be exposed to damp environments and strong chemicals. The most durable of all ink ribbon variants are made from resin and are not made for use with conventional point of sale printers and are instead made for use with plastics.
Most printers that utilize thermal technology can be found in point-of-sale terminals and for printing bar codes for inventory tracking purposes. The ink ribbons of a thermal printer should be protected from both damp environments and strong chemicals when kept in storage. Ink ribbons should also be kept away from heat, light and moisture as they can be sensitive to such environments. While thermal printers make for efficient and cost-effective printing solutions in sales and inventory applications, the print quality falters when compared with ink-jet and laser printers. The inability of these printers to vary dot size or intensify the printed document results in a grainy product and is only recommended for specialty applications, even though colored inks are now available in newer thermal printing technologies in a segment that typically had only black inks.
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