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A4 Thermal Printer

A Microplex A4 thermal printer (8 inch print width) saves time and money by providing a high quality and decodable print of complex bar codes..

Microplex offers you a product range of A4 thermal printers with a printing width of 8 inches. Here you have the choice to find the perfect thermal printer for your application.

logiJET T8-3SOLID T8SOLID 45ETlogiJET TC8
Industrial MidrangeHigh-SpeedHigh-VolumeIndustrial Two Colour

Why 8 inch print width for A5 barcode labels?

When the label size is A5 (210mm x 148.5mm) this can also be printed with a 6 inch wide printer but this must be printed narrow way i.e. 148.5 mm edge. This is possible without problems for many applications; however, when bar codes are printed and the printing direction of these barcodes is defined by the definition of the labels, a 6 inch printer can cause various problems when printing these. An example of this showing clearly the problem: The VDA label. The VDA label is used in the automotive sector, it is in the format A5 (210x148.5 mm) and has been defined by the Association of the Automotive Industry and looks as follows:

On this print pattern of a Microplex 8 inch thermal printer with the label being delivered wide way out of the printer it can be seen that the barcodes are arranged in the correct direction i.e. “picket fence” format. This is the sensible way to print this label because of the better print quality, the life of the print head and the readability of the bar codes as averse to printing in “ladder” format which is in effect against the print direction.

Your benefits with a Microplex 8 inch / A4 thermal printer:

  • If your label design is in the narrow way format: with Microplex no problem, the printers have a configurable, automatic image rotation, so that the existing data can be printed in wide way format.

     

  • If your data is currently designed for a 203 dpi printer: no problem thanks to the intelligent scaling of the print resolution, you can keep your 203 dpi data unchanged and it will print in 300dpi on a Microplex 8 inch printer. This allows all existing applications to be printed without extensive customisation. At the same time, you are prepared for all possible future requirements with the modern printing solutions from Microplex.
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Does the printing direction matter? Yes it does!

This is due to the technology of thermal printing, a thermal printer prints using a print head. This print head has a number of heating elements distributed over the entire possible printing width. Each heating element represents a pixel (dot). If a pixel of a character or a graphic is to be produced on a thermal printer, this heating element is heated. Through this heating, either a dot on thermo sensitive paper (thermal direct printing) or a dot is transferred to the label (thermal transfer printing) with the aid of a thermal transfer film. Although these heating elements are very small, they nevertheless require a certain time to heat up and to cool again after the printing of the pixel. During this time, the label moves forward in the direction of paper travel under the printhead and is further discoloured..

Theoretically, a printed pixel is exactly round in practice it runs slightly in the paper direction as the following graphic illustrates:

When printing bar codes, this property causes the edges in the paper travel direction to become more or less frayed. If a barcode is printed with its bars in the paper feed direction, only the lower ends of the individual bars are slightly blurred. This is irrelevant as far as the size is concerned and decodabilty.

However, if a barcode is printed transversely to the direction of travel, each bar is frayed on one side over its entire length. Since these infractions are located in the gaps between the individual bar code lines, this has a very great influence on the size of the code and hence directly affects the quality of the decode. In the worst case, when such a bar code is no longer decodable, the consequences can range from a slowdown in through put due to key entry or a complete rework to fulfil the customer’s actual requirements. This must be borne in mind as the on costs could be decisive.

The figure shows the same barcode twice on the same label only the printing direction is rotated by 90 °. Here it is easy to see that the bar code is altered in its ratio by the so called "ladder print", i.e. the bars transversely to the direction of travel.

This means that the bars become wider and the gaps become narrower. This changes the quality and legibility of the barcodes only by the direction.

The smaller the bar code is that needs to be printed, the more the effect will be, as the following figure clearly shows:

 

These barcodes were printed with a width of approx. 12mm..

This effect can be alleviated by reduced print speed or larger barcodes, but all of these measures are at the expense of performance. With Microplex A4 thermal printers, you can also print small barcodes with the right orientation and maximum performance and quality.

How is the life of the print heads affected?

Each thermal printhead has a limited life. As a rule, this is about 50,000 meters at thermal transfer printing. This applies to "normal" application. Each time a heating element is switched on and off, the service life is reduced. The barcode example shows a barcode with 30 bars. When the printing direction is correct, i.e. the bars are oriented in the direction of paper travel, each heating element involved is switched on and off once for this bar code. In between, it remains active and prints a continuous line.

The optimal alignment of the bar codes during printing results in a significantly better utilisation of the maximum possible life of the print heads and thus lowers the printing costs.

More labels at the same printing speed

A further aspect is the print throughput. At the same printing speed, the difference between the print of an A5 label in the wide way format versus the narrow way format is over 40%

When you are printing 100 A5 labels with a 6 inch wide printer, you will produce about 140 labels at the same speed with an 8 inch wide printer over the same time period.

On the other hand, this means that a label printed on an 8 inch wide printer is 40% faster. This is a tremendous performance enhancement in "just-in-time" applications, which has a positive impact on your overall application.

This assumes, of course, that the controller in the printer that is being used is capable of processing the print data accordingly as quick. With a Microplex A4 thermal printer, this is also the case for complex data. Microplex thermal printers support most printer emulations in the thermal market. This makes it possible to select the optimum printer language for the highest performance for every application.

Overwiew Emulations
Thermal Printer Laser Printer Matrix Printer More Emulations
ZPL II PCL5 IGP/VGL CUPS Raster
EPL2 IGP/PGL EPSON FX-80 µ-Postscript
Datamax XES ANSI Genicom HPGL
TEC Prescribe CODE-V TIFF
IER-Command Kodescript+ MT-600  
UBI FingerPrint AGFA RENO IBM ProPrinter Diabolo 630
LDC LN03+   Lineprinter
Labelpoint Bull-MP690   HP DesignJet
ETIMARK MP-1220      

Future-proof through firmware updates

With a Microplex A4 thermal printer, you are already equipped for tomorrow's applications. The Microplex Controller not only provides the highest performance when processing your print data, it can also be updated at any time by means of a firmware update.

With the Microplex A4 thermal printers a variety of optimisations can be realised in the workflow. Together with Microplex certified label material and colour ribbons, you always print your labels reliably and in the best possible quality.

Look at the benefits of the Microplex A4 Thermal printer:

  • Fast
  • Printing in top quality
  • Highest throughput, optimally short printing times
  • Consistent printing speed even with complex, variable data
  • Future proof through firmware updates