Top 4 Thermal Label Printer Tips

2019-06-17 11:25:13
Top 4 Thermal Label Printer Tips

Here are a few industry secrets from our printer and label experts

Your label printer might sometimes be an after thought in your busy work schedule but take a moment to think about what would happen if you couldn’t label your products, or print your shipping labels. Problems around label printing downtime impact all areas of the business and most importantly, your bottom line. We have gathered the best snippets of advice from our specialist teams to help you make the most out of your thermal printer.


When was the last time you gave your printer a clean?

Much like your dusting at home, no one likes to do it but it but it has to be done! One of the easiest ways to save money on your print costs is keep on top of your printhead cleaning. A clean well maintained printhead reduces faded prints, streaky labels and unreadable barcodes. The printhead quickly builds up dust, dirt and ink, if cleaned regularly you extend the life of your printhead by months, maybe even years depending on your usage and environment. If you have a cutter attachment on your printer, don’t forget to wipe it down after large print runs to avoid adhesive build-up. If you can, try to do an internal check of the printer once a month to see if any labels have got jammed or other clearly visible issues. Label supplies can also contaminate the print head, if the labels are kept in a dirty environment such as a warehouse, they can hold dust and contaminates that transfer to the printer. It’s best to keep the labels stored as clean as possible, either in the box they arrived in or individually bagged. We stock a range of cleaning materials for thermal printers and offer service visits or maintenance contracts if you need some extra help.


Are you using the correct label media?

Some of the most common issues we see are customers using the incorrect material for their printer, either pairing the wrong label and thermal ribbon combination or using the wrong materials for their printers. If your labels are printing blank and you’ve checked all obvious issues, have you checked if your using the wrong material such as trying to print thermal transfer (TT) labels on a direct thermal (DT) printer or setting? Is the print rubbing right off your label or the ribbon damaging the label material? Wrong label and ribbon pairings can be frustrating and the costs soon build up if the issue goes unnoticed or you’re not sure how to resolve it. Do your labels peel away from your products after application? Do the labels turn black, losing all print after a while? It’s important to make sure you’re are getting the correct label material for your application, using a DT label for long term barcoding will cause major problems and can take months before the problem presents. If you have any of the issues I have mentioned above or just want a second opinion on your label or ribbons requirements our label specialists are happy to help.


How important is software?

Short answer, it’s crucial. You probably already know how much time you can save creating label templates to quickly access your label set-up and design, but did you know you can use label software to access more detailed settings within your printer. Thermal printers can have the darkness or heat settings adjusted to work better with different grade of thermal ribbons, most of our customers from novice users to skilled printer operators find it much easier to adjust within specialised label software. Heat settings, label alignment and speed adjustments can greatly improve the quality of your labels but how about reducing label error rates and label design time? A good example of how label software can help with this is a food ingredients labels, it's vital that no allergens are missed but can take hours to carefully ensure each ingredient is listed. There are software solutions from packages like BarTender, that can auto populate the labels for you pulling the information from your database, this eliminates human error in the data and take seconds. If you would like a free trial of BarTender or NiceLabel, or just some advice please let us know. We also have a team of remote and field-based software engineers to offer bespoke packages and in-depth training.


Do your staff know how to use and care for the printer?

Have you ever broken a clip on your printer because you didn’t open the case correctly? Ever wasted a full roll of thermal ribbon and labels because they were loaded the wrong way? Don’t worry we’ve all done but it but it can be frustrating in addition to being costly as user damage is not covered by manufacturer warranties or maintenance contracts. It pays to make sure your operators are knowledgeable on the printer they are using. They don’t have to be professionals, that’s why you have us, but ensuring they know how to load media correctly, clean the printhead, set label designs up correctly etc. If you or your staff are unsure on any aspect of using your printer, let us know. We have a free of charge technical helpline (0844 335 1980) to help with basic printer problems. If you would like the manual for a printer, we can probably find it for you and they are great for trouble shooting simple issues. We also offer training packages and system set-ups for more complex applications. If you’re having problems with your label printer, we are here to support you.


Bonus Tip!

A little-known industry secret is that we want your printer to last you as long as possible. Yes, really! The less down-time you experience from hardware and software issues the more time your spending printing labels and we love labels, supplying you high quality labels quickly and at a great price is the core of our business. Our printer experts are fully trained on the latest features and products to ensure you get the right printer for your needs first time. Our technical and software support team are available both remotely and on-site to help with any problems and of course our label specialists are always happy to talk about anything from new materials for your industry to lowest cost label options.


If you would like to speak to one of our specialist teams you can call or email us on 0800 085 8850 /