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Is Ribbon Wrinkle Making You Frustrated? Here Are Easy Steps To Fix It.

Timmy Thermal TMHow to fix ribbon wrinkle on a thermal label printer. 6 easy steps.
by Timmy Thermal

We get a lot of questions about ribbon wrinkle — what are the causes, and what can be done to fix it? In most cases the ribbon wrinkle is going to need a qualified technician to go ahead and take a look at the printer because it is almost always going to be a mechanical adjustment to correct the problem.

Below are 6 tips to check for and that are potential causes of ribbon wrinkle:

Tip 1: Check the media guide. Every printer has one. It keeps your media from walking back and forth out of the media path. If your media ever walk out of the path it will pull the ribbon with it which will cause a ribbon wrinkle.

Tip 2: Look at ribbon to see how nice and even it is all the way across it. If one side or the other is loose when the other is nice and tight, that would be a dead giveaway that you are going to have a ribbon wrinkle and that a mechanical adjustment that needs to be made to correct it.

Tip 3: Another idea of what could cause ribbon wrinkle is the printhead alignment which needs to be performed by a qualified thermal technician.

Tip 4: Another tip you could do as a user is check the printhead pressure. The two purple knobs on top of the print head are the pressure adjustments. Most printers have them and you will just need to simply check on your printer to see exactly how to make that adjustment. Making that adjustment will even out the pressure all the way across the printhead and hopefully prevent ribbon wrinkle.

Tip 5: Another item you can check is the spindle tension. One common misconception about the thermal printers is that the ribbon take-up spindle is what pulls the ribbon through the printer, but that is not what happens. The ribbon sticks, so to speak, to the media and as the media feeds through the printer that is what pulls the ribbon through. Your ribbon take-up spindle is simply just to take up the used ribbon so that doesn’t roll out onto the floor. So if your ribbon supply is too tight or your ribbon take-up is too tight they will cause a number of problems. They will also cause problems other than ribbon wrinkle including dragging the ribbon which will give you poor edge definition and a grey print all across your label.

Tip 6: Beware of printer abuse. Don’t carry the printer by the take-up spindle. We see one common thing which is end users picking up their printer and carrying it by the spindles. If you carry your printer by the spindles what will happen is that it will bend the frame and also bend the spindle inside the take-up spindle or the supply spindle, whichever one you happen to be carrying it by. When it bends like that it is always going to cause a ribbon wrinkle because now instead of turning nice and round you get this oblong wobble effect with your spindles.

In order to maintain high quality printing and to extend the life of your printer, it’s important to follow OEM recommendations. Proper preventative maintenance will help you extend the life of all your components and reduce the cost of all your maintenance.

For more information on printer maintenance and to learn more about your options for all your printer, labeling and barcode scanning needs, call us as (800) 643-2664 and immediately talk to one of our friendly representatives; or chat us up on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn!

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