Printers in a POS system are the main output devices and usually have one or two independent cash register ports attached. Such a printer and cash register will share a single port with a PC and leaves other PC ports free for other peripheral devices of the POS system. Traditional electronic cash registers with printers have given way to specialized printers and accessories for point-of-sale functions like labeling and coding products, printing receipts, and printing identity cards. There are many manufacturers in the market who give printers with different features to suit unique needs of vendors.
Printers can be classified according to the printing technology used, their connection compatibility, and the unique features provided by the manufacturers. Dot-matrix, thermal printers, and laser printers are the most common types of printers used in most POS systems. Laser and thermal printers are very quick, but it is the dot-matrix printer that is used by small scale retailers and restaurant owners, due to its low pricing and maintenance costs. For clear printing that is essential for barcodes and labels, the best solution are direct thermal printers and thermal transfer printers with auto cutters. PC and printer compatibility is essential for smooth functioning of the POS system. Computers and printers can be connected directly through a parallel port in both the devices, or they can be connected directly through a serial interface. Some PCs allow printer connection through USB cables or RJ11 adapters as well.
You should be looking at the specific needs of your outlet before choosing a printer with different features like barcode formats, auto cutters, check and credit card receipts, and product labels. Getting the right printer with the right combination of technology, features, and cost-effective system-compatibility will play a part in smooth running of your business.
The two most popular types of printer technology are inkjet and laser. Whether you buy online or walk into a store, immediately you’ll notice a difference in price. Laser printers are usually more than inkjet printers, sometimes several times as much. In an office environment, you can easily pay $1,000 for a laser printer. In a home office, you can easily pay $100 for an inkjet, even less. However, not all laser printers are that expensive, and not all inkjet printers are that cheap. I’m going to tell you the things to look for that will help you decide what you need.
If speed is your chief concern, the laser printer will win hands down, every time. There are laser printers that can handle in excess of 34ppm (Pages Per Minute) and 22-24 is pretty much the minimum in today’s world. That’s not to say that inkjet’s aren’t plenty fast, some can approach 30ppm in draft mode. I’ve found most people don’t actually use draft mode though, so you’re going to get more like 5-10ppm in normal operation.
Something often over looked is, how will you plug in? I have seen people that don’t even know what a USB port is, go out and buy a printer that only has USB support. They return home and end up making a call to find out that their computer doesn’t have a USB port. There’s nothing wrong with printers that only support USB, but make sure your computer supports what the printer supports. Also, don’t get a super short cable, pay attention to where you’ll be locating your new printer, and get a cable plenty long enough.
Inkjet printers drop droplets of ink onto printer paper to produce text and images. The drops of ink are actually smaller than the width of a strand of hair, so don’t expect to actually see individual droplets on your printouts. It’s not like the older dot matrix, which produced much larger drops of ink.
There are several major printer technologies- the two largest categories being impact and non-impact. As you probably guessed, impact printers work by actually touching the paper to produce text and images. Dot matrix printers fall in this category. Non impact printers never actually touch the paper. Both inkjet and laser printers fall into this category.
So what makes an inkjet printer work? There are several key components found in all inkjet printers that make them tick. The most important and fragile piece of any printer is the print head. It contains the ink-emitting nozzles. The ink cartridges hold the actual ink that is fed into the head. The stepper motor powers the print head, propelling it back and forth across the paper. A stabilizer bar ensures that that the movements of the print head are controlled and precise.
Paper is fed into the printer via a feeder. The paper is pulled inside the printer by several rollers. Of course, none of these components would function without power. Most printers use standard power supply. Your computer talks to the printer through interface ports, most commonly, the USB port.