Desktop Impact Printing With the FP5000

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
  • Continuous operation
  • Industrial operation

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.

Printek FP5000

FormsPro 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.

The FormsPro 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 thickness.
  • 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.

Print Modes
  • 900 cps
  • 640 cps
  • 180 cps
  • up to 360 x 360 dpi
Character Matrix
  • 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
Print Head    

   24 needle (12 needle parallel array)

Character Sets
  • HS Draft, Draft, Courier, Roman, Sans Serif, Prestige, Script, OCR-A/B
Character Spacing
  • 5, 6, 7.5, 8.6, 10, 12, 15, 17.1, 20 characters per inch
Line Length
  • 13.6 inches (136 Columns @ 10 cpi)
Line Spacing
  • 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12 lpi
Paper Width
  • 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
Power Requirements
  • Auto-switching Voltage: 100 – 250 VAC
  • Frequency: 50 to 60 Hz
  • 60 Watt printing: 18 Watt Power Save
Standard Interfaces
  • Parallel Bi-Directional, Ethernet 10/100 Mbit
Software Controls
  • 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
Physical Specifications
  • 24.5 x 17 x 11
  • 19 kg
Reliability
  • MTBF – 12,500 hours
  • Print Head Life: 750 million characters
  • Warranty: 1 year Return to Depot

Zebra Thermal Printer Print Quality Troubleshooting

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 maintenance.

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 fingertip.

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.

Wear mark on a thermal printhead.

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.

RETAIL, TRANSPORTATION, AND MANUFACTURING ARE KEY TO THERMAL PRINT’S HOT FUTURE


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:

  • Retail
  • Transport
  • Manufacturing

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.

Retail

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 cards.

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

Transport

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

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 consumer electronics.

Barcode printers 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 saturated.

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.

Zebra ZE500 Series Print Engine

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!

ZE500 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.

Downtime 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 time.

Your 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 options below.

www.themrpsolution.com

Standard Features

  • Available in right and left hand configurations
  • 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

Optional Features

  • 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).
  • UNICODE
  • 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® b/g/PrintServer
  • 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

Communications Specifications

  • USB 2.0 port
  • High-speed bidirectional parallel interface, IEEE 1284:Compatibility mode, EPC, Nibble mode.
  • 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

Operating temperature:

  • Thermal Transfer: 40° to 104°F (5° to 40°C)
  • Direct Thermal: 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)