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Why do printheads wear out?

Printhead wear-out is an inevitable process which applies to all thermal printers regardless of brand. During printing, the dots must be heated and cooled off very rapidly, which in combination with mechanical abrasion sooner or later will wear out the printhead, making the printout gradually weaker. Some dots may even cease to produce any imprint.

Precautions You Can Take to Prevent Premature Printhead Wear-out

  • Clean the printhead regularly, as described in your installation and operation manual. Not only will a dirty printhead produce an inferior printout, but any residue on the dots will prevent heat to dissipate through the media.
  • Follow the recommendations regarding paper yype setup in the I installation and operation manual. Too much energy to the printhead will wear it out rapidly.
  • Do not use higher print speed setting than necessary.
  • Do not use a higher contrast setting than necessary, especially not in combination with the highest paper type constant settings.
  • Do not use a higher printhead pressure than necessary.
  • Never print outside the media. Dots not in contact with the media will not be cooled properly.
  • When using a media with less than full width, be careful to adjust the printhead lift arm so there is an even pressure across the media. Not only will an uneven pressure impair the printout quality, but it may also prevent the dots from being properly cooled. Moreover, a sharp outer media edge in direct contact with the printhead may cause excessive mechanical wear on some dots, which may be visible when printing on wider media later.
  • When using preprinted labels or labels with some type of varnish or non-standard top coating for direct thermal printing, use original Intermec labels or inks recommended by leading manufacturer’s of direct thermal media. The labels should not contain any aggressive substances such as chloride or grinding substances such as titanium dioxide.