Problem printing?

Why is the printed image so light?


There are many possible reasons why the image is not printing dark enough. Here are a few things to check:


Energy Setting

Check your printer's energy settings. Increase the energy setting gradually until you get the desired darkness.


Speed Setting

Check to make sure the print speed is set per the ribbon's specifications. Lower the print speed to match the ribbon's specifications.



If the printed image is still too light, check the label's compatibility with the ribbon. The label must be designed for use in thermal transfer printers. If it is not a thermal transfer substrate, it will not print properly. Varnishes and flood coats radically change the surface of labels, making most unsuitable for thermal transfer printing.


Why is the printed image so dark? Why is it spreading?

The printer's energy setting is too high. Lower the setting.


Why are ladder barcodes printing so dark? Why are they spreading?

Check the print speed. Printing ladder barcodes at high speeds is very challenging for thermal transfer printing even under ideal circumstances. Some label and ribbon combinations cannot print ladder barcodes at high speeds. Check with your TTR supplier for recommendations on appropriate label/ribbon combinations for this type of printing.


Why are there voids or streaks through the printed image?

If there is a continuously printed line or streak in the direction of printing, the printhead needs to be cleaned. Follow the printer manufacturer's instructions for printhead maintenance and/or cleaning printheads.

If there is a continuous void in the direction of printing, first clean the printhead per the printer manufacturer's instructions. If this is not successful, the printhead's heating element may have burnt out. Consult the printer manufacturer about replacing printheads.


Why is the ribbon wrinkling?

It may be one or a combination of the following:

  • Ribbon is too wide for the label
    This causes one side of the ribbon to travel faster than the other. Make sure the ribbon is just a few millimeters wider than the label. 
  • Tag stock is too thick
    Adjust the printer's head tension, or consider using a thinner tag stock.
  • Printhead pressure is too tight and/or tilted
    Loosen the printer's head tension slightly. Make sure pressure is adjusted evenly across width of printhead.
  • Printhead is mounted incorrectly
    Follow the printer manufacturer's instructions on printhead installation. Make sure printhead is facing the correct direction and the printhead elements are level with ribbon and label surface.
  • Heat has caused label adhesive to ooze
    Clear any residue in print path.
  • Supply and rewind spindles are out of sync
    Adjust ribbon tension on supply and rewind spindles.
  • Too much heat
    Lower printer's energy settings.
    Poor quality backcoat

This is common for ribbons supplied by inferior TTR manufacturers.
Purchase from a trusted source - like DNP!