Thermal printheads provide long operational life when installed and used correctly. The following guidance notes will help to optimise printhead life. Many of the recommendations are common sense precautions and our experience over many years is that an engineer new to thermal printing technology can expect reliable printhead performance once the correct set up has been achieved.
Handling printheads during incoming inspection and storage
Where possible, printheads should be stored in the packaging provided by the printhead manufacturer until required for production. When removing printheads from the protective packaging, take care not to touch the connector pins to avoid the risk of ESD damage to sensitive internal components mounted on the printhead.
Also avoid touching the printhead elements and tracks, as chemicals in body fluids can contribute to surface corrosion after a printhead has been in use for a while.
Be careful not to scratch the surface of the printhead. Scratches will not only result in poor print quality but, if sufficiently deep, may cause heating elements to become oxidised.
Printheads need to be stored in a clean, dry environment. If there is evidence or risk of condensation anywhere on the printhead, the power voltage (VH) must not be applied until the condensation has evaporated.
Handling printheads during installation
When installing the printhead, the operator must wear an ESD wristband.
Avoid touching the connector pins to minimise the risk of ESD damage to sensitive internal components and do not touch the printing elements and tracks, as chemicals in body fluids can contribute to surface corrosion after a printhead has been in use for a while.
Be careful to avoid scratching the surface of the printhead. Scratches will not only result in poor print quality but, if sufficiently deep, may also cause heating elements to become oxidised
Care must be taken to avoid damaging the ceramic substrate, print elements, tracks and connector(s) whilst mounting the printhead onto a carrier and/or inserting the printhead directly into the printer. If the printhead has to be laid face down as part of the pre-assembly procedure, ensure the work surface will not cause any damage to the printhead
If the installation procedure includes cleaning the printhead elements prior to installation, use only ethyl alcohol and apply it with a soft, lint free cloth. Alternatively, a proprietary cleaning pen may be used.
When inserting the mating connector(s) ensure the pressure is axial. Any sideways stress may cause mechanical damage to the printhead connector(s).
Kestronics Ltd,Unit 26, North Orbital
Commercial Park Napsbury Lane, St.
Albans Hertfordshire, AL1 1XB