Kiosk and POS Printers Information
Types of Printers
There are several basic printer technologies. Line printers contain a chain of characters or pins that print an entire line at time. They are very fast, but produce low-quality print. Dot matrix printers produce characters and illustrations by striking pins against an ink ribbon to print closely spaced dots in the appropriate shape. They can print multi-page forms, but are relatively slow compared to other types of kiosk and POS printers. Line matrix printers use the same technology as dot matrix printers, but are much faster and designed for greater workloads. Ink jet printers spray ink through a nozzle onto the page. Direct thermal printers use heat to set text and graphics on non-curling, smudge-proof paper. Thermal transfer printers use a combination of heat and pressure to transfer resin-based ink from tiny ribbons directly onto the paper. Laser printers use a laser beam to produce an image on a drum that is rolled through a reservoir of toner. The charged portions of the drum pick up the toner and transfer it to the paper through a combination of heat and pressure. LCD and LED printers are similar to laser printers, but use liquid crystal displays (LCD) and light emitting diodes (LEDs), respectively.
Kiosk and POS printers vary in terms of media dimensions and features.
Printing width is the width of the characters produced by the printer, not the width of the paper on which the characters are printed. Media roll outside diameter and maximum media width are important paper roll dimensions. Typically, both measurements are expressed in inches. Because kiosks are usually left unattended, kiosk printers hold a larger paper supply than POS printers. Many kiosk printers also include status monitoring features to alert personnel who service the kiosk that the paper supply is low or a problem has occurred. These alerts can be simple, audible beeps or messages sent via the Internet. Paper rolls for kiosk printers are usually eight to ten inches in diameter. Paper rolls for POS printers are only three inches in diameter. Some kiosk and POS printers include application software or integral user controls such as a touch pad or buttons for power, on-line, menu, store, form feed, reset, up and down functions. Others include a cutter to separate media from continuous forms or rolls. Devices that provide color printing is more expensive, but commonly available.
There are several mounting styles for kiosk and POS printers. Panel-mounted devices fit a depression within a panel so that they are flush or nearly flush with the panel. Rack-mounted devices fit in racks and often include hardware such as rail guides, flanges, or tabs. Stand-alone printers are benchtop or floor-standing units with a full casing or cabinet and an integral interface. Kiosk and POS printers that are portable and/or handheld are also available.