Does Your Printer Need a Health Check?

In an effort to reduce operational costs, the regular maintenance and servicing of label printers can be regarded as an optional extra or an unnecessary expense to the production budget. Although this strategy may suffice short term, it will result in increased operational costs long term. Implementing correct maintenance procedures throughout your printer's lifetime will reduce breakdowns and promote long-term savings.

Printer failure is a condition your printer is at risk of 'catching' if daily preventative measures or regular services are not included in your maintenance schedule. Beyond user frustration, printer failure can impact many aspects of your business, including lost productivity; lost opportunities; increased cost of repairs and rejected or lost shipments due to poor barcode quality.

Thermal printers are an integral part of your business's workflow; if printer failure occurs it affects more than just a production line. This article identifies warning signs of printer failure and provides recommendations for treatment, to ensure your printer is reliable; minimizes maintenance costs; and consistently produces high quality labels.

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Symptoms of Printer Failure

Poor Print Quality

If print quality on the label declines, the typical cause is debris build-up on the printhead. Tell-tale signs to look for include white stripes down the label or entire sections of print missing on the label, creating non-compliant barcodes. When the build-up is not removed, it can lead to element failure, which greatly reduces the service life of the printer. Unplanned lines on labels are a result of ribbon wrinkle and can be rectified with a printhead alignment.

Media Sensor Errors

The media sensor helps the printer determine the end of one label and the beginning of the next. Incorrect media width adjustment has a significant impact on the quality of your labels, and can cause 'top form faults'. A top form fault is an error message that occurs when the media sensor is unable to detect gaps between labels resulting in a label image printed across multiple labels. Symptoms of inaccuracies to the media sensor include a faded image across the label, as well as ribbon wrinkling, label tracking, printing across multiple labels and platen roller and printhead wear.

Noisy Printer

A combination of daily wear and tear, worn gears and the immense pressure constantly on the platen roller causes damage and skipping to the belt, resulting in a noisy printer. If you are experiencing this warning sign, contact our support technicians to ensure the issue does not escalate, resulting in damage to your labels.

Jamming and Poor Feeding of Labels

If labels are jamming or feeding poorly though your thermal label printer, the typical cause is a worn platen roller or adhesive residue build up on the printhead or guide. Adhesive build up can be removed using an isopropyl alcohol solvent, such as Kimberly-Clark Isowipes. Care needs to be taken when choosing a solvent to remove build up, as incorrect solvents can be detrimental to the printhead and platen rollers. If symptoms persist, contact our technical support technicians for a professional Health Check assessment.

Treatment and Prevention

Following scheduled maintenance plans will ensure dependability and output of your label printer. Our technical support technicians are trained to advise the best maintenance schedule for your equipment, and predict what parts will need replacing and when, allowing you to plan your maintenance budgets in advance.

Correct maintenance procedures of your printer throughout its life will reduce breakdowns and promote long term savings. Minor maintenance activities regularly completed throughout your printer's life will also increase its longevity. Cleaning the printhead, platen roller, media path and peel-off roller with a solvent containing isoprophyl alcohol after every roll of media will maximise uptime and increase the life of your printer.

At insignia, we foster a partnership with our customers that goes beyond a sale or transaction, and will provide ongoing technical support throughout your printer's lifecycle to ensure you have a prompt resolution if a problem arises. Our team will work with you to help you get the best performance out of your hardware by training your staff how to properly use, clean and maintain your label printer.

Whether you are booking a maintenance visit, planning team training or recovery support, the insignia technical support team are ready to assist. Contact us today to see how we can help you.