You invested in barcode label printers to increase accuracy and improve productivity, so you want to do everything in your power to ensure they are operating at peak performance as much of the time as possible. But just like any other piece of operating equipment like forklifts or production machinery, your barcode label printers need maintenance in order to ensure proper performance. Here are a few things to consider regarding care and maintenance of label printers.
Follow the Manufacturer’s Recommendations
The manufacturer of your printer recommends settings for darkness and pressure settings, along with print volume and operating conditions. Your reseller will help you select a printer that works with your requirements and your environment, to ensure that volume and operating conditions are ideal for the device.
Be sure not to exceed the print head pressure and speed settings, because that will shorten the life of your printer. Sometimes people adjust these settings to compensate for inferior quality label stock, but this is not a good idea either, because you will place additional stress on the printhead which can lead to other, more complex problems down the road.
When lower-quality labels are used, it can result in blurry or streaked labels that are hard to read. To compensate for this, users will increase darkness and pressure settings on the printer which slows down the operation, causes excessive wear on the printhead and may be cause for more frequent replacement of the label printer printhead or the printer itself, resulting in more downtime.
Use Quality Label Stock
Speaking of label stock, users frequently assume all label stock is the same, but in reality, it is not. There are hundreds of different variations in the marketplace, but your solution provider can help you make the right choice based on:
- The items you are labeling
- The material from which these items are made
- The environment (indoor, outdoor, excessive heat or cold, etc.)
- The life of the product being labeled (how long does it need to be labeled)
These factors impact the overall performance and life of the label you choose. The decision on which type of label material you need to use, and the quality of the manufacturing process for these labels are very important considerations.
It’s always best to buy your label stock from the manufacturer or to use their recommended brands if you want good quality, long-lasting labels. Using inferior quality labels because they are less expensive will ultimately cost you more in printer repairs and re-labeling efforts. Even more important, using inferior labels can lead to process or order errors, unhappy customers, non-compliance fees, and more.
Keep the Printhead Clean
The printhead picks up dust and residue from labels as well as the operating environment. You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about cleaning frequency. If you’re in a very dirty environment, you might even want to clean your printhead more often. And be careful not to use sharp objects to remove ribbons or rollers or labels from the printer, since you can easily damage the printhead.
Use Certified OEM Parts for Spares
All machinery requires replacement parts occasionally, and your Barcode Label Printers are no exception. The printhead will need periodic replacement, and it is critical that you use only printheads certified by the manufacturer. Uncertified parts may cause mechanical problems down the road, which can shorten the lifespan of your printer. You will minimize downtime and improve productivity by using a certified printhead, which will give you better performance and clearer, more readable labels.
Add a Maintenance or Support Plan
Many manufacturers and certified solution providers offer maintenance and support plans at a reasonable cost. These plans usually cover replacing printheads at recommended intervals, and you can be sure you are getting certified parts. These plans often pay for themselves in increased productivity and reduced downtime in a short period of time.
Looking for advice on the best maintenance plan for your Barcode Label Printers? Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, and we’ll provide you with recommendations that include time-saving solutions to boost productivity and increase profitability.