Regardless of how good a printer you have – and zebra printers are great – without good upkeep, they’ll eventually break down. However, keeping your printer on its toes doesn’t have to be an expensive task. Here we’ll take a look at some cost-effective and common-sense steps you can take to ensure the longevity of your printer so that your business can keep producing business cards, receipts, labels, and more like clockwork.
1. Keep the Media Sensor Clean:
The media sensor, or often referred to as the label sensor, is responsible for recognizing the label that is currently being printed and then cutting it at the right location. To ensure optimal performance, this sensor is carefully positioned to detect the position of that label as it passes through the printer. Over time dust can build up on the media sensor and prevent it from fully recognizing the label. This, in turn, can slow the printing process or cause the printer to try and cut the label off too soon. The printhead also needs to move the label to the sensor; if the printer head is not moving, then it’s a clear sign that the sensor is covered.
The best way to clean the Media Sensor is to take careful hold of the top of the sensor and carefully place it facing upwards on clean paper. Brush any dust off with a slightly moistened cloth, and then carefully wipe the moisture with a dry cloth. You should be able to see if the sensor is working properly by testing it against a clean piece of paper.
Once the media sensor has been cleaned, the printer needs to be reset so that it recognizes that the name sensor has been cleaned.
2. Keep Print Heads Clean:
One of the easiest ways to make a printer last longer is to ensure that its print heads are kept clean. The print head is the part of the printer responsible for putting ink on the paper so that text and pictures are able to be printed. Over time the print head can become clogged with dried ink. Therefore it’s a good idea to try and clean the print heads at least once a week. This will ensure that they are able to work to their full potential and reduce the likelihood that they will run dry, leaving ink on the page.
3. Only Use Quality Label Paper:
It should come as no surprise that using low-quality label printing can cause problems with the longevity of your printer. Poor quality label paper may look the part, but it can cause issues with print quality as the label paper is not able to hold the ink as well as good quality paper. Also, some types of cheap paper can leave ink on the printhead, which can put pressure on the cartridges leading to print quality problems.
4. Keep An Eye For Error Alerts:
When a printer uses a problem cartridge (also known as an empty cartridge, out of ink, missing toner), an error alert might appear. This message should be taken seriously, and the printer should be checked immediately as the messages are designed to warn users of potential issues that might affect print quality. For example, if a cartridge is low on ink, it might be able to produce some text, but not the color. Therefore if the printer goes through the process of printing off a report with low ink levels, there is every chance that it will fail to print the color portion of the report correctly. In this case, a replacement cartridge needs to be purchased, and the printer thoroughly checked to make sure that it is working correctly.
5. Quality Ribbons Are Must:
When replacing ribbon cartridges, it’s important to use ink ribbons that are of the highest quality and not to buy cheap, third party, non branded ribbons. Cheap ribbons will attract dust and moisture and can leave you with the red runny end, whilst lower quality ribbons might not hold the ink and give you failed print jobs. All of these things could potentially lead to poor print quality and, if ignored for long enough, your printer will stop working. It’s always good to get the best quality ribbons that your budget can allow.
It is no fun to see your printer break-down at an inconvenient time, but sometimes that is the reality. However, you can take a proactive role towards the longevity of your printer by ensuring that it is maintained, that the media sensor is cleaned regularly, and that the print heads are kept clean. It is also important that you use only quality label paper in order that your printer is not prone to issues such as the printer head getting clogged with dried ink. Keeping your printer well maintained is a no-nonsense way of preventing printer failure when you need it most and is something that every business owner should be doing.