Pin Me

The Advantages of the Floating Print Head in Near Edge Printing

written by: John Garger•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 9/9/2010

Traditional high-quality printing methods use some form of thermal transfer to transfer images from the screen to paper. Near Edge Printing promises several advantages to this tradition.

  • slide 1 of 2

    Traditional printing methods such as laser and inkjet suffer from several limitations that may be eliminated by the newest innovation in printing technology. There are four distinct advantages to this new technology called Near Edge Printing. It turns out that a process that allows more of the paper to be used when printing contributes significantly to several advantages Near Edge Printing has over the traditional methods.

    Laser printers rely on static electricity to draw an image onto a drum which attracts toner onto its electrically charged areas. The drum is then rolled over a piece of paper with a higher static charge than the drum to attract the toner onto the paper. After passing through some heat rollers, the toner is permanently bound to the paper. This process can be quite messy and cumbersome because both toner and drum assemblies must be replaced resulting in a higher Total Cost of Ownership for the user. Also, the minimum margins for laser printers are usually somewhere in the one-fifth to one-quarter of an inch range. This results in a waste of space, especially for people in the desktop publishing and print media industries,

    Inkjet printing uses inks to transfer images to paper. The main problem with inkjets is the price of the ink which is the main source of cost to its user. Some inkjet printer companies charge such a high price for ink cartridges that the price per printed page greatly limits the owner’s use of the printer. This is especially true for inkjet printers that use a multi-color cartridge which must be discarded once one of the colors is used up no matter how much of the other colors remain in reserve.

    Near Edge Printers have four main advantages over other traditional print methods, The first, of course, is the ability to print nearly to the edge of a piece of paper which allows a user to take full advantage of the paper’s real estate. These printers use what’s called a Floating Print Head which allows the element to literally float over the paper rather than print directly on it. In additional, the Floating Print Head is not limited to orthogonal (or right angle) positioning over the paper. It can pivot in a variety of directions allowing it to get closer to the edge of the paper.

    The second advantage of Near Edge Printing is the longer life of the print head, reducing the Total Cost of Ownership for its owner. Since the element only comes in close proximity to the paper, wear and tear on the print head is greatly reduced. In addition, the print head has time to cool between the near-contact with the paper reducing thermal wear on the print head.

    The third advantage is a direct result of the previous two advantages. Since the print head barely comes into contact with the paper and since the print head is subject to less wear, the print quality from a Near Edge Printer is significantly higher than from either a thermal transfer or inkjet technology printer.

    The final advantage is derived from the fact that the print head comes into close proximity to the paper while barely touching it. This process means that a variety of media thickness can be used with the printer without adjustment or the need for multiple paper trays set aside for special purposes. A Near Edge Printer can accommodate different paper thicknesses without specifying either with the printer’s software or with the printer itself that unconventional paper is to be used in subsequent printing.

    Unfortunately, the four advantages of a Near Edge Printer do come with one disadvantage. The up-front cost of the printer is higher than with a comparable laser printer. However, the lower Total Cost of Ownership and the ability to print nearly to the edge of the paper makes the printer an obvious choice for professional and small-business applications with a need or desire for these features.

  • slide 2 of 2