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Keeping it clean

Keeping it clean

If you’ve raised children, you’ve spent a great deal of time when they’re very young reminding them to pick up after themselves, clean up their rooms and not leave things a mess.  You did it in the hope of instilling good habits for your kids that they could take with them into adulthood.

If only those habits extended to thermal printers.

Over the years, I’ve seen some pretty impressive “clean” printers.  I visited a customer who was experiencing printhead failures.  We discussed the material and ribbon and found they were standard products.  I was also told that the printers were well maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.  Upon inspection, I was actually able to write my name in the dust buildup in the printer, especially in the printhead area.  Needless to say, the numerous printhead failures diminished significantly after my visit.

Through the years thermal transfer printers have evolved with changes to print speed, resolution and the variety of material a printer can handle.  What has not changed is the need to clean the printer, especially the printhead.

The printhead attracts paper dust and ribbon residue during normal operation.  This buildup reduces the printhead’s ability to produce high quality images.  Additionally, it may cause the printhead to fail early and that’s going to cost you money.

Cleaning the printhead is essential and should be done on a regular basis.  The industry standard suggests once a day.  However, Gulton suggests cleaning a printhead after every material (ribbon or label) change.  This allows the ribbon residue and paper dust to be removed before it has time to buildup on the printhead.  This buildup over time is one of the major reasons for printhead failure.

Printheads are normally changed when white lines or voids appear in the print image.  In most cases this is directly related to the buildup of dust and residue on the printhead.  The dust and residue are a natural occurrence that increases the pressure needed by the printhead to allow the material to feed.  So dirt is directly related to printhead damage and replacement.

Like any piece of equipment, preventive maintenance or regular cleaning will keep a machine operating at its optimal levels.  Therefore, remember the cleaning of the printhead not only provides the high-quality image to remain high, it also may be a cost savings to you.

Better print quality.  Less cost.  Gulton Printheads.

Who doesn’t like a good habit?

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