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Maintaining Your Thermal Printer


As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. A clear printing label or receipt not only represents your business through branding but provides important information for the customer or supply chain. If the barcode is unreadable or not scannable, the product may be rejected through the supply chain or cannot be scanned at the point of sale.

The thermal print head in your scale or printer is a major component and can be costly to repair. It makes sense to maintain your equipment through regular cleaning and maintenance. Paper dust and label adhesive can build up over time on both the print head and print roller. The more you print the more potential build up, so a regular cleaning regimen will keep your equipment running smoothly and efficiently.

Some important things to consider:

1. Your choice of label or thermal paper is very important.

Poor quality consumables can wear the print head prematurely and cause the print head to fail. Look for paper that is smooth to the touch. Cheaper quality paper is usually rougher to the touch and will therefore cause wear to the printhead. Excess glue from labels can also coat the print head and roller in residue causing wear. Cost cutting in this area can cause downtime on your equipment, constant print head replacement, and costly repairs.

At Able Scale, we only stock quality paper and thermal labels manufactured in Australia.

2. Clean the thermal print head and platen roller.

The print head is the most important part of your thermal printer, and it is also very delicate, so be sure to handle it carefully when cleaning. Do not use any sharp, hard or abrasive object on the print head. Also, remember not to touch the print head directly, as the oils or other dust and dirt residue on your fingers may damage the print head.

Follow these three steps to keep your thermal printer clean:

a. Always turn off the scale or printer when cleaning.
b. Use a lint free non-abrasive cloth and isopropyl alcohol to gently clean the print head.
c. Clean any build up from the platen roller as well.

How often should the print head and platen roller be cleaned? The general recommendation is that you clean both parts every time you change the label rolls or ribbons. However, if the thermal label printer is used or placed in an environment that may contribute to more residue build up, you may need to clean these components more frequently.

3. Check the warranty.

Print heads are classified as a consumable item and do wear out over time, through heat and general wear and tear. Each manufacturer has their own warranty conditions and is dependent on the amount of linear inches and/or time, usually whichever comes first.

A sample warranty for Datamax O’Neil Warranty:

Printheads have a one year Limited Warranty (which unless covered by a separate Comprehensive Coverage Warranty with the printer) does not cover physical damage, including impact damage or abrasion to the printhead, burn line, and improper adjustment issues, as well as does not cover when one does not maintain the printhead with proper cleaning which if not maintained would cause material build-up, both adhesive and residue, and thermal overstress.

At Able Scale, we offer a good range of Datamax O’Neil label printers that are suited for a variety of applications. To find out more about these thermal label printers, or for more information about our scale repair, testing and maintenance services, please contact our team directly.

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