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KYOCERA Develops World’s Smallest Thermal Printhead for Barcode Printing

New KMS Series is approximately 40% smaller and uses 20% less power

July 13, 2016
Kyocera Corporation (President: Goro Yamaguchi) announced that it has developed the world’s smallest*1 flat-type thermal printhead for barcode printers. The new KMS Series consumes 20 percent less power*2 and is available for order this month.

The new compact printhead structure is 40 percent smaller compared with conventional products, with a design to reduce resistance loss helping to save power. Through these advantages, the new KMS Series contributes to a compact design and the improved energy efficiency of portable printers.

Photo: KMS Series Thermal Printhead

KMS Series Thermal Printhead
Product Overview
Model KMS Series Thermal Printhead
Application Portable printers for barcode printing
Production Facilities Front-end process in Kagoshima Hayato Plant (Japan)
Back-end process in Nagano Okaya Plant (Japan)
Start of Production July 2016 (upon request)
Production Target 350,000 units/year

Development Background

Demand for portable printers for barcode shipping labels has expanded as logistic facilities such as warehouses and distribution centers’ volumes have increased globally, not only in developed economies but also in emerging Asian countries. With the need for compact sizes and a reduction in power consumption — since most printers in these facilities use portable batteries — there is an increasing demand for smaller, more energy-efficient printheads for use in next generation printers.

Product Features

1. World’s smallest printhead for portable printers
In previous models, the driver IC was mounted on the ceramic substrate in the conventional structure. In the new design of the KMS Series, it is mounted on the circuit substrate. By changing the attachment method of the substrate and driver IC to wire bonding, the new product features a smaller depth of 9.9mm, reduced by approximately 40 percent from 16.3mm in conventional models. The new product yields the world’s smallest size among thin-film flat-type printheads, contributing to a smaller footprint and weight reduction of portable printers.

image: Comparison of cross-section structures
Comparison of cross-section structures

2. Contributes to energy saving
Because portable printers utilize batteries for operation, there is a need for better energy performance to reduce power consumption. By utilizing its technologies which have been cultivated over the years, Kyocera optimized the wiring layout to reduce resistance loss and improve the thermal efficiency of the heating element, thus reducing power consumption by up to 20 percent. With its enhanced thermal efficiency, the KMS Series improves the energy performance of portable printers contributing to longer battery life and higher work efficiency in label printing.

*1 World’s smallest size among flat-type thermal printheads for barcode printers. Based on research by Kyocera (as of June 1, 2016).
*2 When compared to Kyocera’s conventional thermal printheads with similar functions.