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Extend the Life of Your Zebra Printer

By aisltd, Wednesday, 13th November 2019 | 0 comments
Filed under: Publications.

Protecting your investments is key if you want them to last as long as possible. In today’s post, our experts provide 5 tips that you can use to extend the life of your Zebra printer.

The model we are discussing is the Zebra thermal barcode label printer. When used in conjunction with a barcode system, this barcode label printer helps to improve productivity for managing inventory or tracking assets. It is used in a number of industries including healthcare, education, warehouses, and retail outlets.

These Zebra printers may have a higher cost up front, but they pay for themselves because of their low maintenance costs. Below our AIS Ltd experts reveal 5 secrets that you can use to extend the life of your barcode label printer.

5 Zebra Printer Tips

Regular Cleaning: This might seem obvious, but a lot of companies don’t take the time necessary to properly clean label printers. Some don’t want to mess with it, while others are just too busy. This is wrong, and cleaning your Zebra printer should be part of your working routine. To ensure that your printer runs at its best, it is important to clean the print head and platen roller every time a new ribbon is inserted. If you are printing in direct thermal mode it should be cleaned after ever two rolls of labels. If your Zebra thermal printer operates in a dusty environment you might have to clean the print head daily. In addition to this, you will need to keep dust away from the print sensors as they can damage or block them causing them to fail. Blow on the sensors or wipe them with a small brush.

Keep The Silver Plate: The silver plate that sits under the print head is not part of the packing materials and this should be retained. It is actually an essential part and it steadies the barcode labels when they are being printed. The silver plate has an angled spot that is designed to provide proper reflection for the ribbon sensor. False paper out and ribbon out error messages are frequent in label printers that don’t have the silver plate.

Print Head Protection: The print head is the most important part of your Zebra thermal printer and it is vital that you take care of it. In direct thermal printers heat is generated which is then transferred onto heat-sensitive labels and tags so there is no need for ribbons, toner, or ink. The printer head also generates heat that transfers ink onto labels by melting the wax of resin on the ribbon when using thermal transfer printers. Replacing the print head can be expensive and by following these tips you’ll ensure you keep them functional for a lot longer.

  • Don’t change the darkness settings on the print head as these are preset and changing them can shorten the life of the print head as well as decrease the quality of your labels. If adjustments are required, use the printer menu settings.
  • Use the right barcode labels and ribbons. Choosing the wrong components can reduce print quality and cause printer malfunction.
  • Only use replacement parts and print heads that adhere to the manufacturer specification. There are generic print heads available and while these might be cheaper, they can shorten the life of your Zebra printer.

Keep media guides close to label edges: Your Zebra printer has media guides that are there to prevent jams and costly misprints. If you set your guides too loose, the labels will move and you’ll have errors. Make sure to position your barcode labels as close to the edge of your Zebra printer media guides.

Never use sharp objects to remove labels from the platen roller: If you do this you can accidentally cut the ribbon on the platen roller and then your labels won’t print properly. It is also important not to use sharp objects to remove ribbons from the spindle either. If you have trouble removing labels from spindles we recommend cutting the glue off a new roll and then wrapping the ribbon around the spindle three or four times to secure it. This lets the ribbon slide off easily when it’s used.

We hope you’ve found our tips helpful. Not only will they extend the life of your Zebra printer, they will also save you a lot of money and minimise the need for repairs too. If you need help choosing a barcode label printer, be sure to check the range of Zebra printers on our website.



Automatic Identification Systems Ltd


Automatic Identification Systems Ltd
Unit 35 Eastgate Drive,
Little Island, Cork,  
T45 C925, Ireland

Phone: +353 (0)21 2355540


AIS Automation Ltd
Unit 6, Centenary Business Park
Coes Road Industrial Estate
Dundalk A91 HF95, Ireland

Phone: +353 (0)42 935992


AIS Vision Systems S.L
Carrer de Can Camps, 10
08202 Sabadell,
Barcelona, Spain

Phone: +34 931 003 035


AIS-Scanology B.V. 
Laan de Wijze 20,
5835 DS Beugen
The Netherlands

Phone: +31 (0)485-561616

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