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How to Clean a Barcode Thermal Printer

Posted on Thu, Aug 13, 2015

Desktop barcode printerThermal printers, such as the Zebra barcode thermal printer, are more effective for business use due to the fact that they are typically used to print labels and barcodes, and their print heads are designed to print millions of labels or barcodes before they need to be replaced. A thermal printer is able to do this by basically melting sections of thermal wax onto a label or piece of paper in order to create markings.

To get the absolute most out of your thermal print head without having to replace it often, you’ll need to clean it on a regular basis. The thermal print head is the most expensive part of a thermal printer, so this not advice that you’ll want to take lightly. So how often should you clean your print head? The general rule of thumb is clean it every time you change the ribbon as well as every time you change a roll of labels. Now, let’s go over how you should clean your thermal print head step by step:

  1. Before you do anything, make sure that the thermal printer is in the off position.
  2. Once the thermal printer is turned off, pop it open by lifting the print head access door. The access door is a panel located on top of the printer that should open up easily once you press in the button that secures it in place. After you open it all the way up, you should be able to see the print head, the paper spool, the ribbon and all the other components of the printer.
  3. Remove the paper spool so that it’s not in the way.
  4. Remove the ribbon. You can do this by pushing the lever that releases the print head. You can recognize the print head by the piece of green-tinted metal that’s located right below the cutter head.
  5. In order to clean the print head, you’re going to need a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Make sure the rubbing alcohol is 70 percent by volume and that it is isopropyl rubbing alcohol. To apply the rubbing alcohol to the print head, you’ll want to use either q-tips or a lint-free rag.
  6. Moisten the lint-free rag or the q-tip with rubbing alcohol. Wipe either the moistened rag or q-tip over the thermal print head a couple of times, using only a small amount of pressure. This will allow you to remove the ribbon dust and the carbon buildup and tends to collect over time.
  7. Wait until the print head dries. Then replace the ribbon cable and insert the print head back into the thermal printer. You’ll know if it’s locked into position if the print head lever returns to its original place.
  8. You can now replace the paper spool and  close the access door. Turn the thermal printer back on and print a barcode tag or a label to make sure it’s working properly.

If you have a thermal printer, such as an Intermec, or Zebra barcode printer, then you’ll want to make sure that you clean the print head regularly in order to ensure that you get the absolute most out of your print head.

Zebra-PF-logo-Advanced-Template-300x149For more advice concerning thermal printers or information about other business technology, be sure to contact us at Governor Business Solutions today.

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