The MRP Solution is not only a supplier of new and high quality used parts for printers, PCs, and other IT hardware, we are also a supplier of technical support to all of out customers.
In an effort to make support more accessible and easier to find, we have occasionally posted videos of common service procedures. Today we are proud to announce a new series of videos focusing on the Zebra ZT400 series of printers. The first video is a replacement procedure for the power supply of the printer. The videos to follow over the coming weeks will include common replacement and calibration procedures.
Please check the video out HERE, and be sure to like and comment on the video, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see all the latest updates to the series!
Here are a few tips for taking care of cell phones, game systems, and other handheld devices.
Always keep the dust covers closed. Most handheld devices have an IP rating, which indicates dust & waterproof status. The higher the number the higher the protection against dust and water getting in. Some have a separate dust cover/protective case. That rating doesn’t matter if the cover is not used. This can void the warranty. Use a case. It may not offer 100% protection, but some protection is better than none.
Do not abuse the device.
Some devices cost over $1000 dollars even though they may not look like
it. While these are portable devices, that doesn’t mean they can withstand being
dropped onto a hard surface, or tossed around. The better you treat the device,
the longer it will last without needing service.
Keep the devices clean. Even though the device may be in a
case, if there is something on the screen, it can cause the device to misregister
a touch, which can cause problems. Remember to apply cleaning solution to the
cloth or paper towel, and never directly to the screen.
If your device does become damaged or no longer functions the way it should, MRP offers repair services on a wide variety of different handheld device types and brands. Please contact us at (708) 597-4222 for a quote. We are authorized service centers for Bluebird and Point Mobile.
One of the many handheld devices we service is the Bluebird EF500. Below are the specifications and some of the configurations. There are also ruggedized versions that are not listed here.
Type: Rugged PDA /
Standard Warranty: 1
year warranty against manufacturer defects
Extended Warranty /
Service contracts: Possible
For full warranty options please contact your sales
x 77,5 x 16,5 mm
grams (330 grams with Extended battery)
SIM Slot: 2
SAM Slot: 1
SD Card Slot: Expandable
with Micro SD card (Up to 32GB)
SD card slot / Micro USB 2.0
Standard Battery: 3.200
Extended Battery: 6.400
Hot swappable: Yes
Screen Resolution: 1280
x 720 HD WXGA
touch (Wet and Glove touch supported)
As a small business, you may have started with only a few employees and everything you did was manageable. You probably handled service calls and inventory on your own with little to no issues. But as your business grows, and you hire additional personnel, managing the everyday tasks can suddenly become complicated. You may have many field service techs, a few inventory clerks, several office administrators, etc. You’re likely to find everyone has their own way of performing the same task, and that can often become a problem.
John may receive 10 purchase orders and process them individually, receiving one and immediately moving the parts to stock. But Bill may receive 10 purchases orders and not put any parts away until the end of the day. If you look in your inventory how do you know where to find the parts? In their stock locations or on Bill’s desk? Now is the time to establish documented processes for your everyday tasks to ensure consistency.
Established processes can ensure that every employee performs a given task in the same manner, following the same steps, and achieving the same result. They will improve accuracy and efficiency and overall can streamline your business operations.
The first step is to identify the tasks that require an established process. Obviously, there are many things you do every day that don’t require a process. It won’t make any difference if you turn on your computer and then hang up your coat while the person next to you hangs up their coat and then turns on their computer. However, if you’re both scheduling service calls, both of you should be following the same steps to ensure accuracy. As a rule of thumb, a process should be established if more than one person performs the same task or if a task affects more than one person or department. For example, you would want a process for your field service techs to follow when performing and documenting service calls to ensure a customer always has a consistent service. You’d also want a process for your lone inventory tech to follow when receiving products, as the status of inventory affects the sales department as well as the accounting department. Every business will have different processes to document.
Once you’ve identified your tasks that require established processes it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to business. Start with a quick overview of what the task is attempting to accomplish. Are you receiving inventory, performing a service call, filing documents? Let’s say we’re having a tech perform a service call. What are the general steps that need to be performed? The tech may have to review their calls for the day to establish an efficient route, contact the customer to establish a time to arrive, gather documentation for the equipment to be worked on, and possibly request maintenance parts from inventory. Once on site they’ll need to discuss the problem with the customer, test and diagnose the equipment being serviced, order parts, schedule a return visit, and log the work they performed either on paper or in their service program. Write these down as your primary steps to be further analyzed. Review them and if needed, rearrange the order of steps always keeping efficiency and accuracy in mind.
Next, you’ll need to look at the primary steps and break them down further into secondary steps. Let’s use the example of the first step being the tech must review their calls to establish an efficient route. Can this be broken down further? Are there additional factors that affect the establishment of an efficient route? Does a customer have restricted business hours? Is the customer in a critical situation where they need to be serviced first? Write down the individual steps and determine their priority. A customer with a critical situation would take precedence over a customer who closes in the afternoon. If there’s not a critical call then perhaps the first call would be the one furthest from the techs starting location, working their way back towards home as the day progresses. Write down these secondary steps and if needed, rearrange their order. Repeat this process for every primary step until they’ve all been broken down into secondary steps.
You should now have your basic process written out in a somewhat orderly rough draft. Review the process and at each step ask yourself:
• Is this the most efficient way to perform this step?
• Is any other person or department affected by this step?
• Does performing this step at this time cause additional steps or questions?
After you’ve gone over everything it’s time to put it to the initial test. Perform the task following the steps you’ve written out. Watch for problem areas where perhaps there’s an inefficiency or a misstep. You may find you need to add steps, remove steps, or change the order of steps. Every time you make a change, rewrite the process and test it from the beginning again. Continue to test and change the process until you’re certain you’ve made it as efficient and accurate as possible with the minimal chance of error.
At this point, you’ll want to officially document the process. There are multiple ways to do this using numbered steps in a document or a spreadsheet, or you can create a flowchart to document the process. The flowchart is my personal favorite. They’re logical in that you move from one block to another. Your path through the flowchart can change by asking a question but will always move forward to some type of solution. Variables can take you to a different flowchart to perform a separate task and then return you to the original flowchart to complete the process. Whichever method you choose, document your entire process and then move it to field testing.
Gather the necessary personnel to discuss the new process. Emphasize the importance of having established procedures and ask them for feedback and suggestions on how the process can be improved. You’ll have some employees that will make great suggestions and some not so great suggestions. It’s important they follow the process as documented to help in identifying problem areas. Review any suggestions they present and decide if it makes sense to implement. You most likely will not be able to make everyone happy and utilize all their suggestions. Some people will have to change the way they do things. The bottom line is to establish a procedure that is efficient and will work for everyone.
Once you’ve finished refining the process it’s time to create the final established process document. Meet with the necessary personnel again to review the document. Identify every step and explain why the process is being done this way. Make sure every person gets their own copy and if needed have them sign for it.
You’ll need to follow up for a few weeks to monitor the process and confirm the process is being followed by everyone correctly. If possible, document the effect the process has on your business in general. Are you more efficient? Do your employees have more time on their schedule?
Established documented processes can take the complication out of daily business tasks.
While most simple print jobs are handled by commodity inkjet printers, or
small office/workgroup laser printers, there still exists a need for a heavy
duty impact printer in situations which require one or more of the following:
Multi part forms
High duty cycle
If you have a multipart form, without impact, nothing will make it past
the first layer of the form. Most inkjet and laser printers are too costly to
run hundreds or thousands of pages through a day, and are not built for that
kind of 24/7 activity. They also tend to fail in industrial environments like
factories, docks, warehouses, etc.
If any of these are a concern, impact printing is cheaper, more durable,
has a higher duty cycle, and longer lifespan. If you are interested in a
desktop form factor solution for your impact printer needs, check out the
Printek FP-5000 series printers.
5000 Series Printers
The PRINTEK® FormsPro
5000 series printrs gives you unmatched reliability and the best in multipart
forms printing. Capable of handling heavy workloads, and a host of standard and
optional connectivity choices, along with exceptional print speeds, the
FormsPro 5000 delivers mission critical printing that keeps your print jobs on
time and on budget.
The FormsPro 5000
delivers print solutions in the harshest of environments and gives users an
easy to navigate control panel which make it perfect in industrial settings.
All this makes printing less labor intense without sacrificing performance.
5000 Series printers can solve your toughest printing problems.
With the FormsPro Series you’ll print with greater legibility
and unsurpassed reliability.
The FormsPro 5000 Series Features:
Fast draft speeds up to 900 CPS, which can print a typical
1,000-character document in less than 5 seconds.
Zero Tear for no wasted forms.
FP5000 has a single set of tractors, while the FP5002 is set up
with 2-tractors providing for loading of 2 different forms.
Auto-Gap feature adjusts the print head according to form
Store up to 8 different forms layouts on the printer.
Easy forms loading with straight-up paper path eliminates the
problem of forms buckling and jamming
FormsPro 5000 has a “Heavy Forms” setting to provide for
increased readability on thick forms and multi-part forms.
up to 360 x 360 dpi
HSQ: 12 x 8 half space matrix at 12.0 cpi
NLQ: 24 x 18 half space matrix at 10.0 cpi
LQ: 24 x 36 half space matrix at 10.0 cpi
24 needle (12 needle parallel array)
HS Draft, Draft, Courier, Roman, Sans Serif, Prestige, Script,
5, 6, 7.5, 8.6, 10, 12, 15, 17.1, 20 characters per inch
13.6 inches (136 Columns @ 10 cpi)
2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12 lpi
3 to 16.5 inches width, 3 to 22 inch length
Paper Loading & Forms
Front loading, Rear Loading (5002 Model only)
Front 1 to 5 copies
Rear: 1 to 3 copies (5002 Model) 0.025″ max thickness
Auto-switching Voltage: 100 – 250 VAC
Frequency: 50 to 60 Hz
60 Watt printing: 18 Watt Power Save
Parallel Bi-Directional, Ethernet 10/100 Mbit
Epson LQ-2550, Epson LQ-2180, Epson FX, IBM Proprinter xl24e,
IBM Proprinter xl24e+AGM, MTPL, Genicom ANSI, 23 Industrial Barcodes, or Basic
Postnet and Intelligent Mail Barcodes
There are a few common issues/repairs on the Zebra thermal
printers. The printhead and platen are both parts that wear out with use and
can be damaged by well-intentioned but uninformed end users and improper
One of the most common things to come across my bench is a platen that has been cut up by an end user removing media with a razor blade. Never use a razor blade to cut labels off of the machine. Another common issue with platens is uneven wear across the platen due to using media that is not the full width of the platen. This can lead to poor print quality due to uneven pressure across the printhead.
The easiest issue to diagnose is a cut platen, even if a cut
is small it can lead to voids in print as the cut can cause a loss of pressure
at the print line. To check for cuts on the platen remove labels from the
machine and perform a visual inspection on the platen by rotating it manually
(while the printer is turned off). If you are not sure if there is a cut or
just a mark on the platen, apply pressure with a fingertip and drag your finger
perpendicular to the mark, if it is a cut you should feel it open up under your
To determine if you have uneven wear on your platen, open
the printhead and remove the labels. Simply place a fingertip on one end of the
platen, and lightly rub your finger from left to right, and back again, if you
feel anything that feels like a ridge or bump, then odds are you have uneven
wear on your platen.
It is also possible for your platen to wear out from use
without a ridge or obvious physical signs of wear. If you find yourself
adjusting the toggle pressure on the printhead, or turning your darkness up, it
may indicate that the platen is worn down.
If any of these conditions are met in your printer, it is necessary to replace the platen, as the printhead may be damaged, and print quality will be affected. For instructions on replacing the platen, please check out the video we have on our YouTube channel.
Printheads and print quality issues are also a common issue
on thermal printers. It is common for a user to buy a printer that has a wider
print area than the media the user needs. When this happens, it is possible for
the edge of the narrower media to cause wear on the printhead. It is also
common for wear to occur when the printhead toggle pressure is too high, or
there is damage to the platen.
The first step in diagnosing this is to clean the printhead.
Simply take a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, and wipe from
left to right until the paper towel stops picking up ink from the printhead.
Cleaning the printhead may solve minor print quality issues. The most obvious
signs of wear are dead dots on the printhead, but often there are visual signs
of wear as well, such as wear spots in the conformal coating of the print
element. These visual cues can be obscured by ink buildup on the printhead, so
be sure to clean it with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol before the
inspection. Also, be sure to clean the printhead any time you swap out the
ribbon or media, and any time you make contact with the print line of the
printhead, as oils on the skin can reduce printhead life.
If you have dead dots or wear on your printhead, they can be replaced, however, a trained technician is recommended for this job, as the printhead may require mechanical alignment/adjustments to ensure proper print quality.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact MRP for more details.
The global thermal print market reached a total of $35.51 billion value at end-user level sales in 2018. The market is now forecast to expand at a rate of 5.0% compound annual growth rate through to 2023 – yielding a total market value of $45.39 billion in that year. The future success of thermal print will rely on new opportunities and market potential in a few key applications:
Together, there three
segments account for over $22.5 Billion (retail
prices), 63% of the worldwide market, and will
account for the majority of value growth across 2018-2023.
The retail industry is
the largest end user of thermal printing technology. Specialist point-of-sale
(POS) printers, designed for delivery of transaction receipts, mostly to
consumers are common. Receipt paper is direct thermal media. The industry uses
both manned check-out, and increasingly, automated self-check-out systems, with
built in receipt printers.
E-commerce trade is
disrupting retail, diminishing some traditional markets, such as POS receipts,
as transactions move to an online world with electronic payment. In response,
leading physical retailers, such as Walmart, Kohl’s, and Sainsbury’s, are
developing their own e-commerce systems. These rely heavily on thermal print
solutions. Customer orders are tracked using thermally printed barcode labels
throughout the retailers own logistics chains, and thermally printed bin tags
for customer store pickup systems were introduced in 2017, as a way to compete
with the likes of Amazon. Also, demand for card printing continues to grow as
stores develop more loyalty card systems for customers, and multi-retailer gift
New developments in
direct thermal media with greater outdoor capability will enter the space over
the next few years. This creates a more flexible mobile situation as thermal
printers are typically smaller than a portable inkjet printer. More kiosk type
printers will be placed in the future, particularly in the aisles rather than
check-outs, to provide more customer engagement opportunities
The transportation and
logistics industry (e.g. airlines, distribution, mail, package and freight
delivery, railways, etc.), represent the fastest growing application for
thermal printing. This industry was one of the early adopters of barcode
technology for functions like airline baggage tracking, and shipping packages
with delivery giants UPS, DHL, TNT and FedEx.
Printer placement in
delivery services is close to saturation in developed markets, but there is a
major upsurge in the use of mobile printers for labelling and re-labelling,
delivery notes for consumers, and delivery information. The use of postal
services for last-mile delivery in North America and other regions is creating
some new printer placements and label usages.
Forecasted changes in
this sector include the increased use of security features in transportation ticketing
to reduce fraud, a reduction in the need for near-infrared readable direct
thermal for package delivery; smart labels for trucking of
temperature-sensitive foods and pharmaceuticals; and increased use of QR and 2D
codes for more trace data.
Manufacturing is the
second largest market for thermal printers and associated supplies, with
combined revenues of $7.55 billion in 2018. This is divided between $1.7
billion in printers and $5.85 billion in supplies. Thermal printing is used in
factory settings for industries as diverse as beverages, aerospace, and
represent 64.2% of the total printer demand in 2018; and are standard fixtures in
European, Japanese, and North American factories. Most of the growth in this
segment in 2018-2023 will be in Asia-Pacific, which is becoming the global
manufacturing center, where the use of barcode applications is only partially
The manufacturing industry is moving to mobile work forces in many areas like warehousing, inventory control, and parts picking. This has seen a tremendous increase in the placement of mobile printers, which can be either belt mounted on production personnel, or truck mounted on pallet trucks such as the Printek and TSC line. In all cases, it is usually a complete system (printer, scanner, microcomputer or smart device), which is wirelessly linked to the host system for data exchange.
The increasing use of 2D barcode labels for traceability of critical parts in the automobile industry that require high temperature durability is also an ideal fit for thermal transfer printing. One of the leading manufacturers in this area is Printronix Auto ID. Technologies that will grow in this segment will come from direct laser imaging, which will remove the need for a pressure-sensitive adhesive on the label, and new systems from Ricoh that can create rewritable bin tag labels for machine parts.
Have you ever had to replace a drive belt on a print engine?
Did you need as many tools as a car repair shop? Well, put your rolling toolbox away, and take
a look the new ZE500 print engine from Zebra!
print engines were designed to keep mission-critical print-and-apply
applications operating with no interruptions. Built with the customer in mind
and leveraging customer research, the design focuses on ease of use,
integration, and servicing. The ZE500 series takes an innovative approach to
OEM print engines where ease of service is key to the design philosophy.
costs money. Loss of productivity, late shipments, and ruined job scheduling
are just a few of the issues that come up when print engines go offline. The
ZE500 mechanical design simplifies and shortens maintenance and consumable
replacement time – dramatically reducing downtime in your mission-critical
print-and-apply application. A quick-change modular drive system and wide-open
printhead makes cleaning and replacement simple, and reduces printer repair
mission critical print-and-apply applications need to operate, uninterrupted,
24/7. Sealed front panel buttons and electronics enclosure that are dust
resistant, robust, fan-less construction which prevents debris from being drawn
into the print engine, and an all metal construction ensures optimal long term
performance, even in harsh conditions. The ZE500 is optimal for production
lines, warehouses, shipping docks, and more. With the ability to print in
nearly any orientation, adapting it to your operations is simplified as well.
For more information
please call us at 708-597-4222, and check out the full list of features and
Resolution: 203 dpi (8 dots per mm); 300 dpi (12 dots per mm)
ZebraNet 10/100 Print Server (Internal)
Rotatable front panel display (0,180)
16MB SDRAM memory, 64MB Flash Memory
Embedded ZebraLink WebView™and Alert features
Real Time Clock
Applicator interface – provides status and control signals for applicators
Communications via serial RS-232, IEEE 1284 bidirectional parallel interface with auto detect, and USB 2.0 port
Full function graphic front panel and large multilingual back-lit LCD display with user programmable password protection
Thin film print head with E3 Element Energy Equalizer
Dual media sensors, transmissive and reflective, selectable through software or front panel
ZPL or ZPL II programming language, selectable through software or front panel
XML-Enabled Printing – allows XML communications from today’s enterprise systems for barcode label printing
32 bit 133 MHz RISC processor
Zebra printer driver for Windows 7, XP, Vista, 2008, and 2003 operating systems
Advanced media counters
ZebraNet 10/100 External Print Server. Class B digital device, approved for residential, commercial, or light industrial environment use only. Degradation in performance could occur if used in a heavy industrial environment.
ZebraNet b/g PrintServer- supports advanced wireless securities through an internal integrated radio card.
Additional fonts available
Deported display (HDMI Cable up to 2 Meters in length).
WGL4 through Swiss 721
Firmware Support for Downloadable TrueType Fonts
ZebraLink™ Solutions- Software
ZebraDesigner™ Pro – An intuitive, easy-to-use software program for creating complex label designs (option)
ZebraDesigner™ Offers basic features for simple label design
ZebraDesigner™ for XML – Easy-to-use label design software that enables printing on XML enabled printers
ZebraNet™ Bridge Enterprise – Centrally manage Zebra printers from a single PC screen anywhere on your global network.
ZebraDesigner™ Driver – A powerful printer driver compatible with Windows/XP/2003/2008/Vista/Windows 7
Zebra Setup Utility – an easy to use, Wizard driven printer configuration tool.
ZBI 2.0™ an optional, powerful programming language that lets printers run stand-alone applications, connect to peripherals, & much more.
ZBI-Developer™ programming utility makes it dramatically easier for programmers to create and test complex ZBI 2.0™ programs and distribute them to the printer.
ZebraLink™ Solutions- Networking
ZebraNet® 10/100 PrintServer (external)
ZebraLink™ Solutions- Firmware
ZPL II – Universal language for Zebra printers. Simplifies label formatting and enables format compatibility with existing systems that run Zebra printers.
XML-Enabled printing – direct connect integration for bar code label printing, eliminates license fees and print server hardware and lowers customization and programming costs.
Web View – Connect and control Zebra bar code printer’s via the printer’s Web interface using a common Web browser.
Alert – Printers equipped with ZebraNet™ print servers provide alerts via any email-enabled, wired, or wireless device to minimize downtime.
Bar Code Symbologies
Bar code ratios: 2:1, 7:3, 5:2, and 3:1
Linear bar codes: Code 11, Code 39, Code 93, Code 128 with subsets A/B/C and UCC Case Codes, ISBT-128, UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN-8, EAN-13, UPC and EAN 2-or 5-digit extensions, Plessey, Postnet, Standard 2-of-5, Industrial 2-of-5, Interleaved 2-of-5, Logmars, MSI, Codabar and Planet Code
2-dimensional bar codes: Codablock, PDF417, Code 49, DataMatrix, MaxiCode, QR Code, TLC 39, MicroPDF, RSS-14 (and composite), Aztec
High-speed serial interfaces: RS-232C with DB9F connector – RS-232C with DB9F connector – Configurable baud rate (300-115,200), parity, data and stop bits – Software(XON/XOFF) or hardware(DTR/DSR) handshake protocols
ZebraNet 10/100 Print Server
ZebraNet b/g Print Server (optional)
Applicator interface with DB15F connector +5V I/O and +24V to +28V I/O versions available