How much do you know about thermal printers?

What is a thermal printer?

Thermal printers have been around us since the 1970s. If you are of a certain age you will remember the printers that came with the ZX Spectrum or Atari home computers or the original office fax machines with that silver roll of paper – they were thermal printers.

Much has changed since those early days but the basics are still the same… Heat reactive paper still sits between a platen roller and a thermal print head. The thermal head consists of a closely spaced line of resistive elements, or “dots”, that heat up when a voltage is applied. A small electric motor drives a rubber roller to feed the paper through the printer and, by turning each “dot” ON and OFF very quickly, anything can be printed on the paper in a matrix of tiny squares. They are tiny too, usually about 8 dots per millimetre, so logos and graphics can be printed as well as text.

LTPD247 printer

As processing speeds increased and electric motors became more accurate, the paper also developed to keep up. The reaction time of the paper (changing from white to black) increased dramatically. Print speeds are now in the region of 350mm per second, rather than being specified in “pages per minute”.

At BVM we supply all kinds of thermal printers that end up in medical instruments, control panels, ticket machines, trucks, diagnostic equipment and more.

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Thermal printers are extremely reliable because there are very few moving parts and they only have one consumable…. the paper…. there is no ink to replace, no ink cartridges, no toner, no ribbon and each print is the same quality.

Who uses them?

BVM can help you with printer mechanisms, panel printers, kiosk printers, in-vehicle printers and mobile printers.  If you have a device or application that would benefit from having a print facility, give the team at BVM a call.

BVM Design and Manufacturing Services: The manufacturer behind the solutions you know

When a standard embedded design won’t suffice for what you need, you can always turn to BVM for help and use our custom design and manufacturing services.