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Printing Devices

Thermal Printheads

What is a Thermal Printhead

What is a Thermal Printhead

What is a Thermal Printhead

A thermal printhead is a key device used for the printing part of thermal type image output equipment.

The thermal printing method is used for label prints and receipts at retail stores, logistics, food barcode labels, ID cards, air and railway tickets, X-ray films, and food date printing.
A thermal printhead has multiple heating elements (heaters) lined up in a row on a heat storage layer (glaze). It is a device that prints by transferring heat generated when electric current flows through the heater to the printing media (thermal paper or ink ribbon).

Product Characteristics

  • Heater size is formed at the level of several tens of μm
  • Heater temperature rises to several hundred degrees celsius momentarily
  • ON/OFF of the heater can be controlled in the order of µsec
  • Lined up multiple heaters can heat selectively
Heater appearance of 300dpi

Types of Thermal Printing Method

Thermal printing method is classified into 3 types; direct-thermal, melt thermal-transfer, and dye-diffusion thermal-transfer.
Direct-Thermal A method of printing on special paper that changes color when heated, such as thermal paper.

Main applications
POS receipts, train tickets, logistics labels
Thermal-Transfer A method of transferring ink to image receiving paper by heating that ink ribbon (film with ink on one side) and image receiving paper transport while keeping close contact.

Main applications
Date codes, display labels, logistics labels
Basic mechanism is the same as the thermal transfer method.
A method in which only the ink in the ink layer is transferred and the transfer amount can be controlled according to the amount of heat.

Main applications
Seals, ID cards, photo printing

Thermal Printing Mechanism 

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Thermal Printhead Structure

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Handling Precautions

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Descriptions of Terms

Dot Density

Describes heater density.
Mainly showed;
Dots per 1mm. [dot/mm]
Dots per 1inch. [dot/inch = dpi]

Dot Pitch

Describes the distance between each dot. The reciprocal of the dot density.
EX) Dot density 8dot/mm = 1/8 = Dot pitch 0.125mm

Heater Size

Describes the main scanning direction × sub-scanning direction.

For more details such as resistance value, applied energy,
drive method, etc., please download and check.

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