Printing With Thermal Printers in Cold Weather


Thermal printers print with controlled heat from the print head. There are two types: direct thermal and thermal transfer printers. There are two types of thermal printers: direct thermal and thermal transfer. Direct thermal printers print directly onto the media, as their name suggests. The media is coated with a chemical that changes the color of the print head. Thermal transfer printers use a ribbon to make contact with the media and the print head. The ribbon melts the ink from the printer’s pattern to create an image. A plastic lining is used to cover one side of the ribbon. Depending on the make/model of the printer, thermal transfer ribbons can be coated either inside or outside. The ink is typically made of wax and/or resin. Wax ribbons work well for printing on natural media. For printing on very smooth synthetic media, resin blended ribbons should be reserved. The more resin in the print media, the better it will resist smudges. Both these printers depend on exact temperatures to create an image. This means that both print technologies can be affected by extremely cold conditions.

When printing in cold environments, direct thermal printers are more efficient than other types of printers. Direct contact with the media means that the printer can tolerate temperatures slightly lower than thermal transfer. Direct thermal printers can operate in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Thermal transfer printers, on the other hand, may experience print quality issues below the mid-40 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range. Many thermal printers will display a warning about low head temperatures. The printer will heat up when temperatures reach below freezing. You can place a portable warming lamp or space heater in front of the printer if the temperature drops below freezing. A heater should not be placed too close to the printer. Also, heating the heat too much can cause metal parts to concentrate the heat, which could lead to more harm than good. It should be at least 4 to 6 feet from the printer. For cold days, it is advisable to aim for temperatures between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. It is better to be warm than too warm. A box can be created or obtained to keep the printer’s environment separate from outside environments that are refrigerated.

If you want your thermal printer to print in cold conditions, keep it at its normal operating temperature.

Source: Adam Flores

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