Types of printers and their characteristics

Find here a guide to types of printers and their characteristics . Let’s first understand that a printer is an external output device that takes data from a computer and outputs results in the form of graphics/text on paper. The printed output medium is generally called a hard copy because it is in a relatively permanent form.

There are two main types of printers: impact printers and non-impact printers. From there, we can see that there are several types of printer, whose characteristics we will detail below:

  1. impact printers
    • dot matrix printers
    • daisy wheel printers
    • linear printers
    • drum printer
    • chain printers
    • web printers
  2. Impactless Printers
    • ink jet printers
    • solid ink printers
    • laser printers
    • LED printers
    • bar printer
    • dye sublimation printers
    • thermal printers
    • autochromic thermal printers

* Impact Printers *

An impact printer has an upgrade version of the typewriter. Print characters or images by striking an ink ribbon with a hammer, leaving an image on paper or any medium. These types of printers generally create some noise due to contact between the printer hammer and the media. Example: Dot Matrix Printers, Daisy Printer, Drum Printer, String Printer, Line Printer.

dot matrix printers

The dot matrix printer uses print heads that contain from 9 to 24 pins. These pins produce patterns of dots on the paper to form the individual characters. A 24-pin dot matrix printer produces more dots than a 9-pin dot matrix printer, resulting in much better quality and clearer characters. The general rule is: the more pins, the clearer the letters will be on the paper. The pins hit the ribbon individually as the print mechanism moves across the print line in both directions, ie left to right, then right to left, and so on. The user can produce color output with a dot matrix printer (the user will swap out the black ribbon with a ribbon that has color stripes).

Daisy Wheel Printers

To get the quality of the type found on typewriters, a daisy chain impact printer can be used. It is called a daisy printer because the printing mechanism looks like a daisy; at the end of each “Petal” is a fully formed character that produces continuous line impression. A hammer strikes a “petal” containing a character against the tape, and the character prints on the paper. Its speed is slow, usually 25 to 55 characters per second.

Linear Printers

In businesses where a huge amount of material is printed, character printers at once are too slow; therefore, these users need line printers at the same time. Line printers, or line printers at a time, use a special mechanism that can print an entire line at a time; They can typically print in the range of 1,200 to 6,000 lines per minute. Drum, chain and belt printers are in-line printers.

drum printer

A drum printer consists of a solid cylindrical drum that has embossed characters in bands on its surface. The number of print positions on the drum is equal to the number available on the page. This number generally varies between 80 and 132 print positions. The drum rotates at a fast speed. For each possible print position there is a print hammer located behind the paper. These hammers strike the paper, along the ink ribbon, against the appropriate character on the drum as it passes. One revolution of the drum is required to print each line. This means that all the characters on the line are not printed at exactly the same time, but the time required to print the entire line is fast enough to call them line printers.

chain printers

A string printer uses a string of printed characters wrapped around two pulleys. Like the drum printer, there is a hammer for each printing position. Circuitry within the printer detects when the correct character appears at the desired print location on the page. The hammer then strikes the page, pressing the paper against a ribbon and the character located in the desired print position. An impression of the character remains on the page. The chain continues to rotate until all required print positions on the line have been filled. Then the page moves up to print the next line. Chain printer speeds range from 400 to 2,500 characters per minute.

web printers

A belt printer works similarly to a chain printer, except it uses a belt instead of a chain and has fewer hammers. The band printer has a steel band divided into five sections of 48 characters each. The hammers in a web printer are mounted on a cartridge that moves across the paper to the appropriate positions. The characters are rotated in place and hit by the hammers. Font styles can be easily changed by replacing a band or chain.

* Non-Impact Printers *

Non-impact printers are faster and quieter than impact printers because they interact directly with the media. Non-impact printers form characters and images without direct physical contact between the printer and the media. Non-impact printers don’t use a flashy device to produce characters on paper; And because these printers don’t hit the paper, they’re much quieter. The following are some unaffected printers.

Inkjet printers

Inkjet printers work in the same way as dot matrix printers in the form of images or characters with small dots. However, dots are made up of tiny droplets of ink. Inkjet printers form characters on paper by spraying ink from tiny nozzles through an electric field that organizes the charged ink particles into characters at a rate of about 250 characters per second. The ink absorbs into the paper and dries instantly. Various colors of ink can also be used.

solid ink printers

Solid ink printers contain wax-like ink sticks. Solid wax ink melts and becomes a liquid before it enters the printhead tubing. Solid ink is formulated from a non-toxic, crayon-like, resin-based polymer. Solid ink sticks are safe to handle and cannot spill, spill, or stain your clothing. Rigorous manufacturing ensures colors are consistent. Regularly cyan, magenta, yellow and black solid ink sticks are clearly numbered and specially shaped so they fall into the correct slots for easy loading. Due to the cartridge-free design of solid ink sticks, their packaging is small enough to easily fit in your desk drawer.

laser printers

A laser printer works like a photocopier. Laser printers produce images on paper by directing a laser beam at a mirror that bounces the beam off a drum. The drum has a special coating to which toner (an ink powder) adheres. Using patterns of tiny dots, a laser beam transmits information from the computer to a positively charged drum to neutralize itself. From all the areas of the drum that are neutralized, the toner comes off. As the paper rolls around the drum, the toner is transferred to the paper which prints the letters or other graphics on the paper. A hot roller bonds the toner to the paper. The speed of laser printers is high and they print quietly without producing much noise.

LED printers

Like a laser printer, LED printers do not cause impact, but use a light-emitting diode instead of a laser in the print head. LED printers were initially developed by Casio and work by focusing light across the entire length of the drum, creating areas that are less charged, which attracts toner. The printer then transfers the toner from the drum to the paper and applies intense heat to fuse the toner to the paper. Advantages of having an LED printer compared to a conventional laser printer including increased efficiency and reliability. LED printers have no moving parts in the print head, making them inherently more durable over time.

bar printers

The characters are molded on a steel bar that moves from left to right at high speed, oscillating in front of the line to be written. The character set is repeated several times (usually three). When the molds of the characters to be printed are positioned in front of the positions in which they have to remain on the paper, some hammers are fired behind it, thus printing the line.

dye sublimation printers

Dye sublimation printers have a long roll of clear film that resembles sheets of red, blue, yellow, and gray cellophane glued end to end. Included in this film are solid dyes that correspond to the four basic colors used in printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). The printhead uses a heating element that varies in temperature, depending on how much of a particular color needs to be applied. The dyes vaporize and penetrate the glossy surface of the paper before they return to solid form. The printer makes a full pass over the paper for each of the basic colors, gradually building up the image.

thermal wax printers

Thermal wax printers are kind of a hybrid of solid ink and dye-sublimation technologies. They use a ribbon with alternating CMYK color bands. The ribbon passes in front of a print head that has a series of small heated pins. The pins cause the wax to melt and adhere to the paper, where it hardens in place.

Autochromic thermal printers

Autochromic thermal printers have the color on the paper rather than in the printer. There are three layers (cyan, magenta, and yellow) in the paper, and each layer is activated by applying a specific amount of heat. The printhead has a heating element that can vary in temperature. The print head passes over the paper three times, providing the right temperature for each color layer as needed.

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