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April 28, 2023

5 Thermal Print Management Challenges to Ditch Today

In today's fast-paced world, where efficiency and accuracy are key, thermal printing is the go-to option for printing labels, barcodes, receipts, and other materials in a variety of industries. But that doesn’t mean that thermal printing comes without challenges.  

What is Thermal Printing? 

Thermal printing is a type of printing that uses heat to create imagery such as barcode labels, receipts, hospital wristbands, and much more. Because it utilizes heat instead of ink, thermal printing only comes in black and white, which provides several benefits: 

  1. Less maintenance
  2. No ink needed 
  3. Clear and long-lasting images
  4. Better operating costs

An industry leader in thermal printing is Zebra Technologies. Zebra states that their mission is to help organizations be more efficient, effective, and empowered. Anyone working in healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, retail, or hospitality has likely heard of Zebra. This is a testament to the technology company’s widespread ecosystem of custom enterprise solutions.  

5 Management Challenges of Thermal Printers

Although thermal printing only comes in black and white, management of thermal printing is not as black and white as it seems. Some challenges include: 

  1. Driver Management – Correct printer drivers need to be installed on the correct machines in order for print jobs to be completed. This is often a tedious task for admins that consumes a disproportionate amount of their time.  
  2. Compatibility Issues - Some specialty printers require specific features to be available in order to print properly and accurately. 
  3. Incorrect Alignment - If the label is not correctly aligned with the printer, the text or images may not print in the correct position.
  4. File Format Compatibility - Thermal printers may not be compatible with all file formats, which can require additional software or conversions to prepare files for printing.
  5. Security Operations Approval - Larger organizations may require approval for driver updates, which can take weeks depending on internal processes and the size and scope of the printing environment.

How Print Management Helps Resolve Thermal Printing Challenges 

When complexity is added to your printing needs, print management becomes even more essential. Thermal printing requires precision and efficiency, and there’s no better way to achieve these results than employing a print management solution like Tricerat’s ScrewDrivers® to ensure labels are readable, accurate, properly aligned, and printed correctly every time.  

ScrewDrivers addresses the above challenges with its universal virtual print driver, native print features, and centralized management. Label and barcode printing is traditionally difficult for universal and virtual drivers to handle due to unique paper sizes, margins, fonts, and other unique capabilities. Tricerat has applied engineering resources over the years to make ScrewDrivers the most accurate virtual print driver, able to handle the wide array of thermal printing devices and barcode fonts. Environments leveraging a third-party solution with dedication to maintaining this driver for new models, applications, and operating systems gives administrators peace of mind and users excellent print capability.  

ScrewDrivers assists with print queue management and print job management, ensuring that labels and barcodes are printed in the correct order while avoiding printer spooling issues. By using ScrewDrivers to centralize your printing environment, you can reduce time and hassle spent on managing your print environment and also reduce printer spooling and mapping times to under 2 seconds. With this kind of flexibility in your printing environment, you can focus on the strategic needs of your organization. 

We mentioned Zebra printers earlier, and they are a perfect example to display the need for print management of thermal printers. Zebra has dozens of thermal printers on the market at any given time, that require frequent driver and firmware updates. Many large organizations in healthcare, retail, and manufacturing, have purchased hundreds or thousands of different Zebra thermal printers over many years, amassing an army of printers that all require different drivers and firmware. A situation like this will quickly become untenable and incredibly difficult to manage without the centralization of print management software.  

Overall, print management software can help streamline your thermal printing process, reduce the likelihood of printing problems, and increase efficiency in your overall printing environment. And for good measure, Tricerat is a member of Zebra’s PartnerConnect program, which means ScrewDrivers is fully compatible with the industry leader in label and barcode printing.   

To learn more about how we can help alleviate some of these challenges, contact us today! 

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