White Paper

Maximizing Your Operation With High Ribbon Capacity Printers

Source: SATO America

By Nathan Wheeler, Product Manager, SATO America, Inc.

Many consumers are unaware of the variety of label and ribbon roll sizes for thermal printers.The maximum label and ribbon capacities are important specs when selecting a printer. This white paper will identify the benefits of thermal printers engineered to handle larger rolls, including the financial and operational efficiencies.

How much variation is there when it comes to roll capacity?

Thermal printers come in a wide variety of sizes, from portable printers small enough to wear on your belt to industrial tabletop printers almost too heavy and big to carry alone. The proper size printer for an application often depends on the volume of media being printed. As a general rule, the larger the printer the larger the price tag, but the cost benefits of choosing a smaller printer can be offset by sacrifices in efficiencies. It’s important to choose a printer that adequately meets your needs without paying for unnecessary capabilities.

Thermal ribbons can range anywhere in length from less than 100 feet to over 3,000 feet, but most printer groups standardize on a common outer diameter of the rolls. Most of the newer desktop printers typically use 5" diameter label rolls and ribbons anywhere from 244' (74 m) to 984' (300 m) in length, and tabletop printers typically use 8” diameter label rolls and ribbons from 984' (300 m) to 1,476' (450 m) in length. Labels are much thicker than ribbon, so the footage allowed on a ribbon roll is much greater. As a general rule of thumb, the roll of labels needs to be replaced about twice as often as the ribbon roll.

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