How often should I clean the printhead on a Thermal Barcode Printer?

Posted by Gerry Poe

barcode printer maintenance




Frequent cleaning of a thermal barcode printer’s printhead is one of the best ways to extend its lifespan. While there are many variables that affect the printhead lifespan, such as printhead pressure, heat settings, thickness of the media, even the type of labels being printed, regular cleaning is the single most important action one can take to keep a printhead going.

So, how often should the printhead be cleaned? A good rule of thumb is to clean the printhead after every roll of labels when using direct thermal media and after every ribbon when using thermal transfer media. If the printer is operating in an especially dirty or dusty environment, a more aggressive cleaning schedule may be called for, such as at the beginning of a new shift or every morning.

Below is an example of cleaning the printhead on a Zebra Xi series. It is a very similar procedure for all thermal barcode printers. The printer’s user guide should also include cleaning details.

This quick video, for Zebra printers, helps shows how cleaning is done:

A potentially costly failure, barcode printers are used heavily in all kinds ot industries, from distributuion, manufactiring and retail. Almost all products can and perhaps should be barcode labeled. Barcoding enhances transaction speed, accuracy and reduces ccosts associated with production, shipping, receiving, RMA/returns, material movements; stock-takes and cycle counting.

Barcode prtinters can be anything from laser printed forms, product labels, shipping documents, warehouse stocking location labeling (multiple-bins) to container and procucts at every level of sales and consumption.

When you go to any store, even the smallest item has a barcode tag. Barcodes prevent mis-matching product and helps greatly with inventory management automation.

Barcode printers and the labels they generate payback in automation, mobility, cost containment, returns on inventments and ease of enterprise task management.

Barcode printers benefit your distribution and production processes:

  • Inventory Control - Movements
  • Shipping and Manifest - Documentation
  • Picking Tickets / lists
  • Purchase Order Receiving
  • Wireless Warehouse Management
  • UPS/FedEx/USPS – LTL/Best Way Integration
  • Inter-plant Transactions
  • Cycle / Advanced Counting - Stock-Take-Selection
  • Warehouse Management Methodologies
  • Warehouse Management – Barcode – Labels - Scanning

These questions are but a few in the Complete Enterprise (ERP) Self Assessment which includes over 300 questions. You can download the complete ERP self assessment here:

Download the Checklist: The Complete Enterprise  (ERP) Self Assessment 

Tags: Barcode Printers

Please share!


How to Choose
Enterprise Software

Download eBook: How to Choose Your Enterprise Accounting Software System 

Recent Posts

Enterprise Assessment:

complimentary enterprise analysis