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Dot matrix printing

Dot matrix printing

  • August 15,2015.

Dot matrix printing

Dot matrix printing or impact matrix printing is a type of computer printing which uses a print head that moves back and forth, or in an up and down motion, on the page and prints by impact, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper, much like the print mechanism on a typewriter. However, unlike a typewriter or daisy wheel printer, letters are drawn out of a dot matrix, and thus, varied fonts and arbitrary graphics can be produced.

Advantages and disadvantages

Dot matrix printers, like any impact printer, can print on multi-part stationery or make carbon-copies. Impact printers have one of the lowest printing costs per page. As the ink is running out, the printout gradually fades rather than suddenly stopping partway through a job. They are able to use continuous paper rather than requiring individual sheets, making them useful for data logging. They are good, reliable workhorses ideal for use in situations where low printing cost is more important than quality. The ink ribbon also does not easily dry out, including both the ribbon stored in the casing as well as the portion that is stretched in front of the print head; this unique property allows the dot-matrix printer to be used in environments where printer duty can be rare, for instance, as with a Fire Alarm Control Panel's output.

Impact printers create noise when the pins or typeface strike the ribbon to the paper.[7] Sound-damping enclosures may have to be used in quiet environments. They can only print lower-resolution graphics, with limited color performance, limited quality, and lower speeds compared to non-impact printers. While they support fanfold paper with tractor holes well, single-sheet paper may have to be wound in and aligned by hand, which is relatively time-consuming, or a sheet feeder may be utilized which can have a lower paper feed reliability. When printing labels on release paper, they are prone to paper jams when a print wire snags the leading edge of the label while printing at its very edge. For text-only labels (e.g., mailing labels), a daisy wheel printer or band printer may offer better print quality and a lower risk of damaging the paper.

The advantages are: low purchase cost, can handle multipart forms, cheap to operate, only needs fresh ribbons, rugged, low repair cost and the ability to print on continuous paper. This makes it possible to print long banners that span across several sheets of paper.

The disadvantages are: noisy, low resolution (you can see the dots making up each character), not all can do color, color looks faded and streaky, slowness and more prone to jamming - with jams that are more difficult to clear. This is because paper is fed in using two sprockets engaging with holes in the paper. A small tear on the side of a sheet can cause a jam, with paper debris that is tedious to remove.

Dot matrix printing

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