New Eco-Friendly Cleaning Wipes from Gulton.Click here!
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All About Printhead Failure

Printhead Failure

Why do print heads fail?  This is a question that every user of a thermal printer has asked, probably more than a few times.  It’s also a question with more than a few good answers. 


The most prevalent cause of printhead failure is dirt.  Remember, though, that thermal printers produce a very specific kind of dirt.  The material used for printing in a thermal printer is paper based.  During the process of creating the material the paper is slit and die punch multiple times.  This action creates paper fibers that create “paper dust” during the thermal printing process.


Paper dust lands everywhere in a thermal printer.  The paper dust is “kicked” around during normal operations, installing new rolls of material or ribbon.  Paper dust is attracted to the roller under the print head, which under the pressure of feeding the material creates a raised area under the print head.  This raised area begins to cut into the protective covering of the printing line.  Once this process starts, voids in the print area are inevitable.  How do you combat this destructive action?


You have to clean your thermal printer regularly.  Most especially, you need to clean the printhead area.    In addition to addressing the build of paper dust, you’ll be removing other contaminates as well.   Gulton suggests that you do this after every material roll change or at least once every day.    Use an approved cleaning product (Gulton’s cleaning wipes) that’s safe for your equipment, the printhead and the environment. 


And, speaking of environment … you need to remember that the environment in which your thermal printer is situated can also lead to printing voids.   A dusty environment can be just as bad as paper dust inside your printer.  Keeping your printer cover closed during normal operation and especially when the printer is idle will help limit environmental involvement in printhead failure. 


Another cause of printhead damage can be the material itself.  If the material is rough in nature it may be acting as an abrasive to the printhead and can cause the white lines no one wants to see in their printed image.


Additionally, the printhead needs to be handled as an electronic device.  Mishandling during installation may lead to damage outside the printing line, and the printing line itself, which would lead to poor printed images on your material. 


Although the darkness setting is NOT a cause of printhead damage, voltage spikes can damage the printhead.  This normally occurs when the power source to the thermal printer has other devices, like a microwave or other high voltage spike devices plugged into the same power source.  This situation usually creates a larger void in the print head, which indicates a larger area of the printing line was damaged.  Surge suppressors are an easy and cost-effective solution.


Printheads are the powerhouse behind your thermal printing operations.  While they look simple, they are electronic devices that are affected by any number of different issues.  Gulton is meticulous with our manufacturing process, ensuring you the highest quality printheads you can purchase.  Following these simple steps to avoid printhead failure will help you get the most life and the best results from your investment.

Introducing our Eco-Friendly Thermal Printhead Cleaning Wipes


Introducing our Eco-Friendly
Thermal Printhead Cleaning Wipes

As a manufacturer of compatible thermal printheads, our customer service, engineering and design staff are often called upon by our customers to troubleshoot a variety of printer and printhead issues.

It’s because of that close connection with customer challenges that Gulton is aware of just how often proper cleaning and maintenance (or lack thereof) can be involved in thermal printing issues.  So today, we’re introducing you to our Eco—Friendly Thermal Printhead Cleaning Wipes.

These wipes are a great favor you can do for your investment in thermal printing.  Use them regularly and you’ll see a difference in print quality and performance.

-          Eco-friendly

-          Easy to use

-          Removes difficult adhesives

-          Maximizes printhead life

-          Insures quality printing

-          Revives platen rollers

-          Reduces your service calls

-          Saves you time and money


They’re priced right too, at just $38 for a box of 25 wipes.  Take care of your investment in quality thermal printing.  Click here for the details.

The Gulton Printhead Manufacturing Glossary

The Gulton Printhead Manufacturing Glossary

Gulton Printhead Manufacturing Glossary

Our customers have always asked us some very important questions about what we do here at Gulton.  As a printhead purchaser, it’s important for you to feel comfortable with our products and have a basic understanding of Gulton’s manufacturing process and the components used in that process.

You can check out our manufacturing process as we take you step by step through our facility in South Plainfield, New Jersey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFHOxgf0YEQ&t=104s

In addition, please spend some time with Gulton’s Printhead Manufacturing Glossary so you can become familiar with the components that allow the printheads you purchase from us to work for your requirements:

  •   Heatsink

o   This is a passive heat exchanger that transfers the heat generated by an electronic or a mechanical device.  Heat is
     dissipated away from the device thereby allowing regulation of the device's temperature at optimal levels.

  •   Driver Chip (IC)

o   A driver chip is an electrical circuit or other electronic component used to control another circuit or component.

  •   PCB (Printed Circuit Board)

o   A printed circuit board mechanically supports and connects electronic components using conductive tracks, pads and 
    other features etched from one or more sheets or substrates.

  •   Substrate

o   A substrate is a white piece of material that contains the individual dot pixels that connect electrically to heat the pixels
     to produce an image.  Each dot pixel is controlled separately through the connector that connects to the logic of a printer.

  •   Coating

o   Every printhead includes a hard coating.  This coating protects the heater elements from getting abraded by the print
     medium, while still enabling the heat they generate to produce quality printed characters.

  •   Resistor

o   In electronic circuits, resistors are used to reduce current flow, adjust signal levels, to divide voltages, bias active
     elements, and terminate transmission lines.

  •   Connectors

o   Connectors allow the flow of voltage and data through flexible cables connected to logic and power.   


As the experts in printhead manufacturing, Gulton seeks to educate our customers and potential customers about how printheads are produced and, in addition, how they can be kept functioning at an optimal level.   It’s our responsibility, not only as your business partner, but also as the only U.S.-based printhead manufacturer.    We’d like to invite your questions and comments.  Please email them to:  jdigiovanni@gulton.com and we’ll be happy to address them.

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?

Help us welcome Christopher M. Russell, Gulton’s new Manufacturing Manager to our team


Help us welcome Christopher M. Russell,
Gulton’s new 
Manufacturing Manager to our team




January 30, 2018, South Plainfield, New JerseyGulton, Incorporated announced today the addition of Christopher M. Russell in the role of Manufacturing Manager to the Gulton team.


Mr. Russell comes to Gulton, Inc. with over 25 years of experience in Manufacturing Management, Process Improvement and Change Management with positions held at such prestigious companies as Steris, Nice Pak, Lockheed Martin and Stryker.   Chris is a SixSigma Greenbelt and Lean practitioner.  


Chris will be responsible for leading the printhead manufacturing operations here at Gulton.  This will include all aspects associated with Gulton safety, quality and delivery.   Chris has held titles from Plant Manager, to Operations Excellence Leader to Global Operations Lean Specialist and Trainer.  No matter what the title, Chris’ experience hones in on the manufacturing process, instituting changes that lead to more efficient, productive practices, higher quality products and improved, more effective operations.


We’re excited to have Chris join us here in South Plainfield and hope that you’ll extend him a warm welcome as he begins his journey here at Gulton.  Chris can be reached at 908-791-4622, ext. 159 or be email at crussell@gulton.com.  

Gulton, Inc: A brief history of the company from owner, Om Srivastava

Gulton, Inc: …
A brief history of the company from owner, Om Srivastava

Eighty years ago, Dr. Leslie Gulton and his wife, Edith Gulton founded Gulton, Inc.  Located in Metuchen, New Jersey, Gulton manufactured a variety of electronic components and products that included prismatic Nicd battery cells, temperature controllers, cigarette lighters, flashlights and radios … and, eventually thermal printheads.  In fact, Gulton developed the first thermal printhead back in 1972 for use by the federal government.  That was a very fitting start for the only U.S.-based manufacturer of thermal printheads.

The company grew exponentially and in 1986, Mark IV took control of Gulton in a hostile takeover.  The company sold six Gulton divisions to the Danaher Corporation in 1993.

Om Srivastava went to work for Gulton in the Schiller Park area of Illinois back in 1964.He spent 14 years in Chicago leading the engineering function for Temperature Controllers.  He was transferred to Warwick, Rhode Island where he spent another 3 and a half years and finally, was promoted to Vice President and General Manager and was moved to New Jersey where he was put in charge of printhead manufacturing.

Back then, the Danaher printhead division was primarily manufacturing printheads for the OEM market.  This was not proving to be a lucrative strategy and Danaher was looking for bids to sell the division.  Om presented a proposal to Danaher to change courses and manufacture aftermarket product for the thermal printing marketplace.  The company didn’t share that vision.  Om purchased the division from his employers in 2002 and he’s been at the helm ever since.

Upon taking the lead at Gulton, Om steer the company in a different direction, fulfilling his vision of Gulton as the leading manufacturer of aftermarket thermal printheads.  That vision still remains as he consistently seeks to expand Gulton’s reach to more end users and distributors and extend the company’s growth to new markets and industries.

Om’s strategy proved to be successful for the company, as under his leadership, Gulton has grown into the healthy, thriving leader in thermal printhead manufacturing. 

Did you ever wonder exactly what that dark line is at the top of a thermal printhead?

Did you ever wonder exactly what that dark line is at the top of a thermal printhead?Printhead Heater Line AM63

It’s a question Gulton engineers get all the time and it has a simple answer.


It is the heater line.


It’s actually what allows a thermal printer to print.  The heater is broken into hundreds of dot segments, usually 200 or 300 dots per inch.  Each heater segment can be activated separately, on or off, hundreds of times per second.  The paper, or label or transfer wax, media moves under the printhead heater line.  The media is activated to change color by heat under each tiny dot heat source in less than a 200th of a second.


The result with hundreds of individual heater dots is a rastered 2 dimensional pattern of thousands of dots per second.   Each dot, either printing dark or light depending if the heater segment if hot or cold, prints at several inches per second, in some cases over 10 inches per second.


That one thin line on top of your printhead is a powerhouse of thermal printing.


Needless to say, the line gets incredibly hot while it’s doing its job so it isn’t advisable to touch the ceramic surface during or immediately after printing.  In addition, this heater lines needs to be kept clean. Any dirt which collects on or near it this line will affect the print pattern.   Sometimes, one or more of the heater dots can fail.   Often this can be to poor cleaning, mechanical mishandling which scratches the heater area, or simple the end of life of the printhead.   The best way you can ensure maximum printhead life is to pay close attention to proper care and cleaning.  We’ll address that in our next issue, so stay tuned.




Gulton pledges customer protection


Gulton pledges customer protection


Gulton has a wide and varied customer base.  We’re very aware that some of our best customers have customers themselves.  You’re as key to our success as our customers who are end users and we value your business tremendously.

It’s come to our recent attention that some of our direct competitors don’t appear to value your business that same way. 

When your supplier sells directly to your customer, it’s very evident that the supplier has no respect for your business and places no value on your relationship.  It’s unethical.  It’s bad business.  And it’s something that Gulton will NEVER entertain in the course of doing business.

Gulton pledges customer protection.  We know how hard you work to develop your customer base, because we work just as hard to develop our own.  As your business partner, it is our pledge that your customer base will remain your customer base.  Gulton will never go after your hard-won business and will work to protect your interests doing business with our company.

After hearing the stories out there in our market, we’re reminded of some old quotes about life and business.  Sometimes people aren’t who they seem (companies too).  If it’s seems too good to be true, it probably is.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  There’s always a catch. 

With Gulton, you can count on us for our quality, our service AND our honesty

Your business is safe with us.  Together we can grow and build on our mutual success.  We value our partnership.

Measuring quality: What exactly is pharmaceutical grade water and why is Gulton using it?


Measuring quality:  What exactly is Measuring quality: 
What exactly is pharmaceutical grade water and
why is Gulton using it?

Here at Gulton we talk 
an awful lot about quality.  While we know our customers understand the quality of our products, we’re not sure we talk quite as much or as often about the great care we take with our manufacturing process that ensures the high standards of quality Gulton customers expect.   Gulton’s pharmaceutical grade water filtration system is a great example of that. 

You might be saying to yourself, “Gulton is a printhead manufacturer.  They have nothing to do with pharmaceuticals.”  And you’d be right about that.  But our manufacturing process only benefits by the application of the highest available standards for ultrapure water filtration.  Water is a key part of our manufacturing process, as substrates and circuitry need to be rinsed washed and prepared prior to assembly.  Any particulates coming into contact with these important product parts can severely affect product quality. 

Ultrapure water is water that has been purified to uncommonly stringent specifications.  It is treated to the highest levels of purity for all contaminant types, including: organic and inorganic compounds; dissolved and particulate matter; volatile and non-volatile, reactive and inert; hydrophilic and hydrophobic; and dissolved gases.  In addition to the fact that UPW has organic particles and dissolved gases removed, a typical UPW system has three stages:  a pretreatment stage to produce purified water, a primary stage to further purify the water and a polishing stage, the final part of the treatment process.

The resulting water that’s used in the Gulton manufacturing process is just one of the uncommon steps we take to ensure the highest quality product walks out our doors.  Fewer particulates mean higher quality.  Higher quality means happier customers.  At Gulton, we don’t just talk about quality, we make sure everything we do at every stage of our process guarantees it.

Gulton welcomes Sales Manager Joe DiGiovanni

Gulton, Inc., America’s Leading Thermal Printhead Manufacturer, Announces New Leadership as Joe DiGiovanni takes the Lead in Sales and Marketing


July 10, 2017, South Plainfield, New JerseyGulton, Incorporated announced today the addition of Joseph DiGiovanni in the role of Sales Manager to lead the Gulton sales and marketing team during 2017 and beyond.

Mr. DiGiovannni comes to Gulton, Inc. with over 25 years of experience in the thermal printer business, ranging from technical services to sales management. Joe began his career as a technical expert for thermal printers, including the analysis of print heads.  Joe moved from technical services and the responsibility for all thermal printers in the Americas to sales management.   In leadership positions at  Avery Dennison Corporation and Peak-Ryzex Inc, Joe was able to lead teams to impressive gains in revenue and industry stature that proved invaluable. 

It is Joe’s intention to bring that same management style to the team at Gulton.   He commented, “I am very excited to join a highly professional team that produces high quality products to enhance the customer’s ability to produce high quality thermal transfer images.”

offers customers the best quality compatible thermal printheads available, USA-based manufacturing facilities, superior customer service AND an educated, knowledgeable sales team led by a seasoned industry professional.  Every aspect of our business, vision and mission are designed to bring the best possible customer experience to every thermal printhead buyer we service.

Gulton, Inc., invites you to go visit their website at www.gulton.com.


Gulton, Inc. is America’s leading manufacturer of thermal printheads used in a variety of barcode, label and photo printers worldwide.  Gulton’s commitment to quality makes their printheads the perfect choice for cost-conscious businesses looking to duplicate OEM print quality without paying OEM prices.  Find out what made in America can mean to your printhead purchases.  Visit Gulton, Inc. online at www.gulton.com.