Thermal transfer printers are popular forms of printing barcodes. Thermal transfer printers have now become a commodity in every business, whether manufacturing, commerce, medical, government or retail. Nowadays, thermal transfer printers are used to produce identification labels or tags for goods such as garments, toys, tools, beverages, electronics, motor parts and cleaning products.
Barcodes used a computer dot matrix printer and then upgraded later to a desktop inkjet or laser printer. These printing methods had their pitfalls and it was not until the thermal transfer printer arrived in 1987 with easy–to-use software, that barcodes became an efficient way of tracking products.
Zebra Technologies were one of the first companies to pioneer this new technology and are now used as the benchmark for printer comparisons. Peacock Bros recognised the potential in Zebras’ products and quickly established their market in Australia. In thermal transfer printing, clients could choose to print on a wide range of materials.
The range of usable materials includes paper, tags, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyester and PVC. Laser printers can print only on a limited number of materials and are not cost effective when users compare thermal transfer ribbons to toners. Printer durability is also an important factor and many thermal transfer printers and labels are produced in hostile environments and might be subjected to extremes in temperature and weather. All Zebra thermal transfer printers are built with this mindset and Peacock Bros still service some of the original printers sold in the early 1990s.
Some important points for printer longevity are using the right label and ribbon combinations. Peacock Bros before releasing any ribbon or label products, thoroughly test and record performance in their QA Department for future reference and customer education. Many companies make the mistake of purchasing the cheapest materials and ribbons, not taking into account that printhead life can be reduced due to higher printhead temperature settings and increasing printhead pressure in obtaining an adequate print.
Higher temperatures can cause the surface liner of the ribbon to fuse onto the printhead causing failure earlier than usual. This can result in costly manufacturing or distribution stoppages while the printer is being repaired. Peacock Bros’ consultants and technicians often see these errors and advise on a preferable label/ribbon combination. Peacock Bros have produced a free brochure on label/ribbon stock compatibility. Peacock Bros offer full graphical representation that allows users to quickly assess their requirements.