ZT 400 Series -- Loading the Ribbon and Resolving Ribbon Issues (With Video)
Article ID: 02960848
This solution discusses resolving symptoms related to the following:
ZT400 Printers experiencing ribbon related problems or errors.
The printer can be used for a wide variety of printing applications. Printing can be done with and without ribbon and for each method the printer (and driver/software) must be properly configured. The most common term used when ribbon is required is ”Thermal Transfer” while “Direct Thermal” refers to applications that do not use ribbon. For non-ribbon applications a heat sensitive label must be used referred to as Direct Thermal labels.
The ribbon used in the printer consists of a wax or resin based ink on a plastic film called the carrier that is rolled onto a cardboard core. The width of the roll varies based on the width of the labels and should always be slightly wider. This provides protection for the printhead to prevent wear. On Zebra printers the ink is on the outside of the ribbon roll (see note) and this is the surface that should be facing the labels so ink transfer is accomplished. Read More>>
Common Issues and Resolutions
Load the ribbon following the diagram that is printed on the inside wall of the supplies compartment. This will ensure the ribbon sensor detects the presence of ribbon correctly. Improper loading can cause false ribbon out errors and also lead to wrinkling.
How it works
There are two spindles, Ribbon Supply and Ribbon Take-up, that guide the ribbon during printing. The actual movement of ribbon is controlled by the printhead pressure at the print line. Back tension is applied from the Ribbon Supply spindle to help prevent wrinkle and take up slack during backfeed operation. Printhead pressure moves the ribbon keeping it synchronized with the labels and the Ribbon Take-up spindle removes the ribbon from the labels and rewinds the spent ribbon.
The printer uses a combination of an optical sensor and reflector plate (the silver plate under the print mech you load the labels under) to detect the ribbon as it blocks the ribbon sensor light path. The ribbon sensor is used in Thermal Transfer applications to detect the state of the ribbon and will provide a Ribbon Out condition when the ribbon reaches the end of the roll or is not installed. A clear ribbon trailer allows the light to reach the reflector plate or the ribbon has a reflective chrome trailer that acts as a light reflector for the ribbon sensor. For Direct Thermal applications (where ribbon is not required) the sensor will warn if ribbon is detected by displaying a Ribbon In warning on the LCD Display (or yellow flashing supplies light ZT220). To avoid ribbon errors proper loading and configuration of the printer and driver/software is required.
+ Product Codes
- All Surface RFID Label Solution
- ZT400 Series Industrial Printers
- ZT400 Series RFID Printers
- ZT410 Industrial Printer
- ZT410 RFID Industrial Printer
- ZT420 Industrial Printer
- ZT420 RFID Industrial Printer