6 Tips to Increase the Life of Your Thermal Transfer Printheads

Routine maintenance and paying attention to these tips will enable you to maximize your investment and get a lot more life out of your thermal transfer printheads and label printers.

1. Make sure the transfer ribbons have a back coating on them.

No back coating will result in carbon build up on everything the ribbons pass over, such as rollers, guides, and the printhead. I saw this nearly right away with one particular brand of imported ribbon that did not have a backcoating.

2. Turn the darkness or heat setting down in the driver.

Some resin ribbons and films require more heat to transfer, but it is worth the time to tweak this setting. You can also turn down the print speed.

3. Clean the printhead often to negate any buildup.

Some ribbons have printhead cleaning leaders that can be pulled through as each new roll of ribbon is loaded.

4. Make sure the platen roller is kept clean.

This rubber roller is what pulls the labelstock through the printer. Any dust buildup, or adhesive buildup, can result in an uneven “base” that will ultimately impact the printhead.

5. Printheads are made from glass. Keep tools, screwdrivers, and razor blades away from them.

Even some paper towels can be abrasive, so it is best to use proper printhead cleaning supplies.

6. Use ribbons that are wider than the labelstock.

Over time, this allows the print head to “round out” a bit, and helps negate damage from getting a burn line where the label edge is.

Following the tips above and performing routine maintenance will increase the life of your printheads and label printers.

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