The line of Datamax-O’Neil label printers include stationary printers such as ticket printers, RFID printers/encoders, compact desktop printers, and industrial bar code printers. Portable label printers are also available which include forklift printers, thermal receipt printers, ultra-rugged receipt printers, and multi-part dot matrix printers. While each of the Datamax-O’Neil printers has a distinctive function, without proper care and maintenance these printers will fail to do their job successfully resulting in frustration, poorly printed labels and higher maintenance costs.
This article will concentrate on the cleaning of desktop printers although many of the techniques described below can be used on the portable thermal label printers as well. Cleaning any standard Datamax desktop printer will require a set of cleaning supplies. Keep a kit filled with isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs, lint-free cloths, and compressed air. These are the only supplies that should be needed to clean any of the Datamax desktop label printers.
Before you start cleaning you will need to be able to identify the various parts of your printer. The most important parts are the print-head, platen roller, and media sensor. The media sensor is the mechanisms that detects if the label and ribbon is in place as they roll simultaneously through the printer. The print-head, via heat exchange, prints the image directly on the media or ribbon which transfers ink to the media. The platen roller advances the media as it prints. Check your manual to give you a visual for each of these parts.
Before you clean anything on a Datamax printer, turn the power to ‘off’ and unplug the printer. Never clean a printer that is hot to the touch to avoid getting burned. Keep in mind that alcohol is flammable, so never use it around open flame. Also never use a sharp object, such as a knife or toothpick, to clean the print-head, media sensor, or platen roller.
Clean the print-head and platen roller after 3 rolls of labels or one roll of ribbon has run through the machine. As you open the printer to replace either the labels or ribbon, take advantage of this by cleaning the print-head and platen roller before adding the new media to the printer. To clean the print-head, dip a cotton swab into alcohol. Shake away any excess liquid. Wipe the cotton swab across the print-head to remove any build-up from the ribbon. For cleaning the platen roller, moisten a lint-free cloth with alcohol. Swipe the cloth back and forth across the length of the platen roller, rotating the roller as you wipe. Allow the print-head and platen roller to dry completely before replacing the media. inkjet printer manufacturers
In order to clean the media sensor, or the ‘eye’ of the print-head, use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to wipe it clean. This should be done at least once a month, or if you see visible buildup of residue. Each time you replace a roll of labels or ribbons, inspect the interior space to ensure there are no scraps of paper or pieces of ribbon that are loose in the printer. Clean the interior of the label printer using compressed air to remove label and ribbon debris, as well as dust, at least once a month or as needed. For the exterior of the printer, wipe it down using a cloth soaked in alcohol to remove dirt and dust. You should clean the exterior at least once a month.