5 Tips to Increase the Life of Your Thermal Printhead

If you have experience using a thermal printer, chances are that you are familiar with the amount of care a thermal printhead requires. Being one of the most delicate yet critical components of the printer, a printhead needs to be dealt with care if you want to avoid maintenance costs. Most print quality problems that users face with this printer usually arise from the printhead. 

Wear and tear of the thermal printhead is an inevitable stroke of time, however, with the right strategies in place, you can certainly maximize the life of a thermal printhead. You don’t have to be a tech junkie or super technical to understand how to maximize the life of a thermal printhead. 

The right strategy will have you maximize the life of your thermal printhead, minimize replacement and maintenance costs and increase productivity in the workplace. 

Maximizing the life of a thermal printhead is a product of five simple factors that hit the root cause of deteriorating printhead functionality. 

Below, you can find a simple and easy-to-understand explanation of these five factors along with how you can tackle them to achieve the desired results. 

1) Abrasive Wear and Tear


Pretty much anyone who owns a printer is aware of the abrasive wear and tear that happens over time. Abrasive wear happens because of the friction that is generated during the printing process and may cause the printhead to fail. 

How can you reduce this, you ask? 


  • The buildup of Paper Dust: This is a common practice that is used to clean all types of printers. It is important to clean the paper dust off the printhead without leaving any residue behind. However, it is best if this is done after reading the user guide on how to clean the buildup of paper dust.



  • Printhead Pressure: One has to reduce the pressure on the printhead by making sure the pressure is well-adjusted and spread over the media evenly. To achieve this, it is important to adjust the pressure settings on your printhead.


2) Residue Build Up 



Closely related to our first factor, residue build-up is an important factor to avoid as well because it may cause the print head to overheat and lead to failure as a result. It also helps to understand what causes residue build-up, in order to avoid these causes effectively. 

Firstly, the most common and also well-known reason for residue build-up is lack of effective maintenance. It is important to read the printer’s user guide on how to maintain and clean the printer. 

Secondly, excessive speed and darkness settings can also lead to residue building up. Hence, avoid high-speed printing and keep the darkness settings at a minimum to maximize the life of your printhead. 

3) Contamination 


The printhead is easily contaminated if any abrasive substance manages to pass through and damage the protective coating. If the printhead coating is damaged, it leads to failure. However, this can be avoided with proper use and care. 


  • Protective Environment: As with all precious items that we own, it is important to put your printer in a protective environment where the probability of contaminants entering the printer is less. A protective enclosure for the printer is highly recommended, it may require an initial investment but will definitely be more cost-effective in the long run.



  • Safe consumables and media: The most common contaminant for printheads are usually the consumables and media which are used with the printer. It is important to understand what media is required with the printer and pick ones that are safe and not likely to cause contamination. 

4) Corrosion 



Keeping your thermal printhead healthy and corrosion-free is a challenging yet important task. Corrosion of the printhead occurs when substances, corrosive in nature, come in contact with the coating. This usually happens when people use cleaning agents which are actually not meant for the printers. 


How does one avoid corrosion? 

  1. Use cleaning agents and media that are approved by the manufacturer and listed in the user guide.
  2. Avoid touching the printhead unnecessarily. If physical contact is necessary, be sure to use the approved cleaning agents right after.


5) Electrostatic Discharge 

Electrostatic discharge is exactly as dangerous as it sounds. Characterized by a sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects, it can badly affect the internal electrical circuit of a printhead. This is usually caused by either static build-up or improper handling.

  • Avoiding improper handling is as easy as just following the user guide shared by your printer’s manufacturer. Make sure you follow it, step by step. 
  • Static Build-Up: To minimize a static build-up, you have to ensure that any static brushes and/or printhead mechanism wiring are properly secured.

Following these simple steps and handling these five factors can actually go a long way in maximizing the life of a thermal printhead. To summarize, it is critical to be well-versed with the user guide of the printer, follow it step by step, use only compatible consumables and end with proper handling and maintenance techniques.