Evolution of Dot-Matrix Printing Technology

Dot-matrix printers aren’t a thing of the past. It’s a common misconception that they no longer have any use as a point of sale printer just because thermal printers are out there.

It’s a fact that thermal printers and dot-matrix printers share quite a lot of features and advantages but when it comes down to the basics, the two are completely different and have nothing in common.

From the lack of need for specialized paper to the need of an ink ribbon to be able to print, dot-matrix printers have been commonly used for point of sale in supermarkets, banks and ATM machines alike for longer than thermal printers.

Advantages of a dot-matrix printer

Wherever thermal printers aren’t present, dot-matrix printers are being used. Their simple, yet efficient printing style, makes them one of the most used point of sale printers in history.

Just like thermal printers, they also need next to no maintenance. Paper and ink rolls are replaced just as easily. Teaching your staff the process won’t take longer than five minutes and the chances of someone messing something up are just as low.

Dot-matrix printers have been right up there along with thermal printers when it comes to market dominance. They’re able to perform most of the tasks of thermal printers and much more at the same time.

Where thermal printers depend on a specialized paper for providing the ink, most dot-matrix printers use ink ribbon rolls along with the paper rolls. Another common name for dot-matrix printers are impact printers. They’re called impact printers because of the process by which they leave their imprint on the piece of paper. This lead to the creation of a completely new kind of paper which is an innovation by itself.

Carbon-less Copy Paper or CCP for short is used by impact printers across the globe to make two copies of a receipt as soon as it comes out of the printer, one for your customer and one for yourself. A common example is the small machine that is used to swipe your credit card when you go shopping. The impact allows the imprint to be produced on another sheet of paper along with the paper which is coming in contact with the ink ribbon.

The major features that are common between them and thermal printers, along with the advantages that they hold are:

  • Both are able to work continuously for a prolonged period of time.
  • Dot-matrix printers use an ink ribbon in the same manner as the thermal printers use paper rolls.
  • Dot-matrix printers are able to use carbon-less copy paper to produce copies of paper sheets or receipts as they’re being printed. This is one of the most important task that impact printers are capable of doing.
  • Receipts produced using dot matrix technology will not fade over time, meaning that important proof of purchase documents can be retained in full without the requirements to make an additional photo-copy of the original, which does not hold good for thermal paper receipt.
  • Paper rolls come in single standardised sizes for point of sale applications, meaning mass production and bulk purchasing reduces overall costs to business.

advantages of Dot Matrix printer

Future prospects

Dot-matrix printers are still being used in quite a lot of fields which require copies of the same sheet of paper. They’re also on the list with thermal printers for being one of the few printers capable of printing on a continuous sheet of paper for a prolonged amount of time without the need for maintenance or adding more paper.

From IT security logs to research centers where a constant stream of data needs a physical shape, dot-matrix printers are used around the clock because of their reliability, efficiency and easy maintenance.

Regardless of the fact that dot-matrix printers are being replaced by the well equipped thermal printers as point of sale printers, the benefits of this technology means they’ll still retain a well deserved place in business for POS use in the foreseeable future.

Although being able to make copies on a thermal paper is a feature that’s not so far ahead of our times, it’s still going to be a while until it becomes a basic feature of the printers themselves. For the time being, regardless of their relatively loud operational noises, dot-matrix printers are going to be used simply because they offer a completely different and so far, a reliable set of abilities.

If you would like to add a few pointers of your own, enlighten us in the comments section below.

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