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A printhead is a movable and replaceable part in the printer. It is also called a thermal bar and these are used in thermal transfer printers and direct thermal printers. Replacement is necessary due to frequent use but can be done quickly and easily in most cases. 

What is a thermal printhead?

thermal print head is the basic component of a thermal printer. Thermal printers are printers that use the thermal print head to print without ink or toner.

The print heads of the thermal printer can print only directly on thermal material or through an ink ribbon on a variety of materials. Thermal printing is done at a high speed and low noise level. It can be applied to a variety of materials such as paper, cardboard, PP, PE and textiles.

Thermal printers are widely used in the food industry. They are mainly used for marking and coding products and warehouse operations. Think of printing labels and barcodes. The thermal print head is an electronic component in which on one line along the print head, there are small pressure points (dots) or heat resistors. These dots are individually electronically controlled and depleted. The higher the number of dots per mm, the higher the print quality.

What is the lifespan of a thermal print head?

The thermal print head is a sensitive part of a label printer, or wear part. Its life is determined in part by the maintenance of the thermal printhead and the environment in which the device is located.

Factors affecting the life of a printhead:

  • Way of assembly
  • Temperature of labels
  • Print ribbon quality
  • Ambient temperature
  • Hygiene of the environment
  • Accumulation of dust and other types of dirt
The contamination created on the printhead is easy to clean. The contamination often consists of thermal transfer link residue, glue and paper residue, and other environmental contaminants. In addition to creating poorer print quality, contamination also causes temperature anomalies in the thermal print head. This results in the likelihood of dot failure.

Why do thermal print heads wear out?

The main reasons that thermal printheads wear out are the rapid heating and cooling of the dots, combined with mechanical pressure. Depending on the age and duration of use, the printhead will print lighter and dots will fall away. This results in low quality prints. The print head is then in need of replacement.

The environment also affects the wear of the print heads. If the printer is in a wet, dirty, very hot or cold environment, it will wear out faster. A clean, dry environment at room temperature is more pleasant for the device and the life of the printer.

How do you extend the life of a thermal print head?

Through a few simple steps, the life of the thermal print head can be extended.

It is important to clean the print head regularly so that dirt does not get stuck in the printer. In addition, use good quality paper (labels) and thermal transfer ribbon. In addition, it is advisable to use the lowest print speed and not print without materials. This way, the print head cannot dissipate its heat.

Using a cleaning pen extends the life of your printhead. If dirt builds up on the printhead, it cannot dissipate its own heat, with the danger of burning out the heating elements (pixels). By regularly removing the dirt on the print head of the thermal transfer printer, you prevents the heating elements from burning out. We recommend removing the print head of the thermal transfer printer once a day or every time the ribbon is changed with a cleaning pen. cleaning pen.

With pre-printed labels, the ink will often cause greater wear on the thermal print head. This is because this printing ink contains Titanium dioxide. This Titanium dioxide is also often used as an abrasive in other sectors of industry. You can (partially) counteract this by applying a top coating, and of course, frequent and proper cleaning of the print head.

Assortment of thermal print heads at

We sell printheads from brands such as Digi, Leich und Mehl, Novexx Solutions and Markem-Imaje. In addition, we often sell alternative printheads (aftermarket parts), which offer the same quality. View the entire range in our webshop.