Printers That Use Ribbon Cartridges – How Do They Work?

Printers That Use Ribbon Cartridges – How Do They Work?

We do not often see printers that make use of ribbon cartridges nowadays. Most printers utilized in homes and offices are often inkjets and deskjets that employ liquid ink cartridges rather than printer ribbons. Printer ribbons are certainly reminiscent of the time when dot matrix printers were still in vogue. They also remind us of the time when computers were not yet available for mass usage and that people had to rely on typewriters with their smudgy ribbon cartridges.

Nonetheless, there are still some computer users out there who still own and operate dot matrix printers, which run using printer ribbons. In many ways, dot matrix printers are much more economical in printing out draft documents or documents where print quality is not an issue rather than deskjet printers or inkjet printers. Printer ribbons are pretty cheap for most part.

Ever wondered how dot matrix printers work? Dot matrix printers got their name from the tiny dots that make up their printed output. These dots are created by the pins on the printer head, which strike the paper through a strip of ink-soaked cloth. Essentially, this strip of ink-soaked paper is precisely what a printer ribbon is.

How are these dot matrices formed depends on the communication between the printer and the computer. In addition, because these printers make use of dot matrices, they give their users a measure of flexibility when it comes to printing letters of different sizes and different fonts. For a time, dot matrix printers and printer ribbons were printing standards, before they were displaced by the deskjet printers and the inkjet printers.

But even if the dot matrix printer is a thing of the past, never mind the fact that some computer users do still cling to them, there are special-use printers that work more efficiently with printer ribbons and ribbon printer cartridges. This type of printer includes printers that also double as fax machines, point-of-sale checkout printers, and other similar devices. More often than not, this type of printer uses thermal transfer printing technology. There are colored ribbon cartridges for thermal printers, but the more commonly used ones are black.

In thermal transfer printing, ribbon cartridges are used, and these ribbon cartridges contain ink that resembles the consistency of crayon or wax. During the printing process, heat-sensitive paper is inserted into the machine and then squeezed between the printer’s thermal head and platen roller. The paper comes into contact with the ink in the ribbon cartridge with the use of a spring on the printer head itself.

Heat is essential to the thermal transfer printing process, and thus, when heat is applied onto the paper and the ink, the ink in the ribbon cartridge melts and sticks to the paper. Thus is how thermal transfer printing works.

Some computer users still use dot matrix printers and their printer ribbons even though they are already a thing of the past. Printers that use ribbon cartridges for thermal printing are often for specialized printing purposes. That is how these printers work.

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This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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