Do you need help getting your thermal printer to deliver the clarity of output you want? You’re not alone. Many people encounter problems when working with thermal printers, and thankfully there are a few common causes behind why they may be underperforming.
In this blog, we’ll look at the reasons your thermal printer does not print clearly. Additionally, we’ll also discuss the steps that should be taken to make sure that your printer functions efficiently. However, let’s first understand thermal printing and how many layers are present in thermal paper.
What is Thermal Printing?
The process of thermal printing involves using a controlled printhead to apply heat onto a heat-sensitive paper. The heat causes chemicals on the paper to create letters or numbers, resulting in the printed image.
Types of Thermal Printing
Direct Thermal Printing
This type of printing uses the printhead’s heat to cause a chemical reaction on the heat-sensitive layer of thermal paper, resulting in a print. Nowadays, thermal paper is more durable and less vulnerable to environmental factors, allowing prints to maintain their color quality for several years.
Thermal Transfer Printing
Thermal transfer printing involves using a thermal transfer or color foil to print on paper. The thermal transfer ribbon, which is heat-sensitive, sticks to the paper while passing between the printheads.
This process creates a clear and sharp print with a slight shine on the plain surface of the ribbon. Compared to direct thermal prints, thermal transfer printing produces longer-lasting results.
Different Layers of Thermal Receipt Paper
Thermal receipt paper is coated with heat-sensitive chemicals that change color when exposed to heat. These receipts are commonly used in thermal printers to make purchases at businesses. They have multiple layers of coating to ensure that letters and numbers are visible.
- Substrate Layer – The beginning of a receipt paper’s life is marked by the substrate layer, which is composed of the paper material – frequently derived from wood pulp. This layer serves as the foundation for all other coatings of the receipt paper. The base sheet or substrate layer’s density may differ among receipt paper products.
- Pre-Coat Layer – The “base coat” layer acts as a primer by sealing the substrate and creating an even surface for the thermal coating. It also absorbs the activated dye pigments and stabilizes the printed receipt. The melted dye can stick to the printhead without this layer and cause damage. The pre-coat layer prevents this by absorbing the dye pigments.
- Thermal Coat Layer – The thermal paper layer responsible for creating imprints when heat is applied is called the “Active Coat” layer, also known as the thermal coat layer. It contains colorless pigments that change color in response to heat. This layer consists of two main substances: leuco dye crystals and color developers, which are typically separated by a solid solvent.
- Top Coat Layer – The clear PVA layer serves as a protective covering for the thermal coat layer against environmental factors. Though it is not mandatory, it enhances the durability of the receipt papers, making them resistant to harsh conditions, including water, chemicals, and stressed environments.
Thermal Printer Not Printing Clearly – Top Reasons
Let’s explore the possible reasons why your thermal printer is not working properly:
- One possible reason for faded print in a thermal printer might be that the printer head has not been cleaned for an extended period.
- If your thermal printer is not printing correctly, it could be because of a lack of power supply.
- If the thermal printer is printing too light, it may be because an incompatible thermal paper roll has been used.
- You can try changing the print density in the printer or app settings to adjust a thermal printer that is printing too lightly. An incorrect density setting may cause this issue.
Steps to Ensure Proper Functioning of Thermal Printer
To make sure that the thermal receipt printer is working correctly, use these guidelines:
Keep the Printer Away from Dust
To prevent unclear prints from a thermal printer, cover it and move it to a low-traffic area. Many thermal printers are located in high-traffic spaces where they can be exposed to dust and debris, so relocating the printer to a quieter area can help avoid accidental damage.
Properly Clean the Printer
If a thermal printer isn’t printing clearly, cleaning the working parts and printheads with a soft cloth can improve the clarity. Thermal receipt paper printer heads are sensitive, and regular cleaning can help reduce the issue of light printing. Additionally, cleaning the interior of the printer with a soft cloth can remove dust and debris, which can solve the problem of printing too lightly.
Precise Heat-to-Speed Ratio
When using thermal receipt printers, organizations often experience issues with unclear or illegible printing. It’s important to ensure that your printer has the correct heat and speed ratio to prevent this from happening. Adjusting the printer to a lower setting can decrease the chances of unclear printing. However, it’s recommended to avoid adjusting the heat settings without the help of a professional.
No Loose Parts
Regular thermal printer use increases the risk of damaging sensitive components and causes internal parts to become loose, which results in fading prints. Therefore, it is recommended to perform regular examinations of the printer’s internal machinery. This will help reduce the likelihood of experiencing issues such as the printer not producing any prints.
High-Quality Compatible Products
For thermal receipt printers, buying high-quality and recommended products is crucial. Using low-quality products can harm the printer and prevent it from printing or printing too light.
In conclusion, it is essential to understand thermal paper printing and its related elements, such as types of thermal printing, different layers of thermal receipt paper, and reasons why the printer is not functioning correctly.
Proper maintenance, quality thermal paper supplies, and a few troubleshooting tips can go a long way in ensuring your printer runs properly. All of these factors are necessary for effective thermal printing processes to occur.
So if you’re having trouble with your thermal printer, don’t wait any longer. Reach out to Telemark Diversified Graphics for helpful advice and top-quality products.
What are the main reasons for a thermal printer not working properly?
Improper cleaning, lack of power supply, use of incompatible thermal paper roll, and incorrect density setting are the major reasons a thermal printer might need to be fixed.
Mention the different layers of thermal paper.
The different layers in a thermal paper are the substrate layer, pre-coat layer (base coat), thermal coat layer, and top coat layer.
How to ensure the proper functioning of a thermal printer?
Here are some guidelines to ensure the proper functioning of your printer:
- Pay attention to the heat and speed ratio and maintain it correctly.
- Place the printer in an area with minimal traffic and cover it to avoid external disturbances.
- Keep the print heads and inner working parts clean by performing regular maintenance.
- Make sure there are no loose parts in the printer.
What are the different styles of thermal printing?
There are two styles of thermal printing:
- Direct Thermal Printing – Thermal printing involves using the heat generated by the printhead to create a chemical reaction on the heat-sensitive layer of the paper, which produces the printed output.
- Thermal Transfer Printing – To print on paper using thermal transfer printing, a color foil or thermal transfer is used.