So you think you know about printers? You can tell the difference between an inkjet and a laser printer, and you might even be able to change the inks on some of them. Well partner, while you might think that you’re an expert on all things printer, we’re here to tell you that there’s more than 2 players in the printer game. At Archway Business Solutions, we are the sheriffs of printers and photocopiers, and we challenge you to a knowledge shoot-out. In other words, we’re going to tell you all about the different types of printers out there and what they do. Let’s start off with the easy ones.
Inkjet printers are one of the most popular and common forms of printer, and can be found almost anywhere. These printers work by spraying tiny dots of ink onto the paper to create the image you’ve selected for printing, using a combination of different coloured inks to produce photo-realistic images. Graphic designers love inkjet printers because the colour output tends to be the highest quality out there, but they are slow and tend to cost a lot more than laser printers.
Like all things in life, the best printers often involve lasers. Laser printers use the same basic technology as photocopiers (another speciality of ours) and often produce crisp images quickly and quietly. They work by charging a piece of paper with the digital images selected for printing. They do still use a form of ink (which is called toner), which only sticks to the paper where the electronic charge is present. The ink is then melted to the paper using a hot fusing wire.
A daisy-wheel printer is properly old-fashioned, and works on the same principle as a ball headed typewriter. The daisy-wheel is a disk made of plastic or metal, which has numbers and characters printed on it in 3D so that they stand out from the barrel. To print a character, the printer rotates the disk until the right letter is facing the paper, and then presses it down. You don’t see many of these beauties around anymore, and certainly not in your average office.
A dot-matrix printer is another mechanical marvel, that isn’t seen around much anymore. This type of printer produces characters and images by striking pins against an ink ribbon to print closely spaced dots in the right patterns. They are expensive, slow and generally don’t produce the best quality of print in the world. BUT they can be useful for some people, particularly because they can print to multi-page forms (or carbon copies), which laser and inkjet printers can’t.
LCD & LED
LCD and LED printers are very similar to laser printers, in the sense that they create the print image on a drum before transferring it to the paper. But instead of using a laser to do this, they use liquid crystals or light-emitting diodes – which lets’ face it, just isn’t as cool as lasers.
Line printers are little Tasmanian devils, perfect for anyone who needs lots of pages of text VERY fast. This high-speed printer is capable of printing an entire line in one go, instead of by individual letters, which means it can print 3,000 lines per minute. They can’t print images or graphics at all, and they can be quite noisy, but for businesses that demand high speed printing they are a good little companion.
Now unless you’ve been living in a cave, you will have seen a thermal printer. Not necessarily because they’re fancy and flash, but because they’re everywhere. Every time you are handed a receipt from a shop, it has been printed using a thermal printer. Compact and portable, a thermal printer can work in one of 2 ways. For older models, heat sensitive paper is placed on a roll inside the machine, and the heat built up in the machine reacts with it, transferring the image to the sheet. For newer ones, they use ribbon printer cartridges and a waxy substance. As the paper is fed through the rollers, a heater element melts the wax substance onto the paper in the image pattern.
And there you have it – now you know your printers! At Archway Business Solutions we are always on the lookout for ways to educate you about the world’s most exciting invention- printers. Well, they’re exciting to us anyway. Our experts can help you understand what you need from a printer and match you up with the right products. We can even provide, install and maintain them for you as well. For more information, get in touch with the Archway team today.