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Learn why Pentax PocketJet thermal printing technology is the best for true mobility:


Thermal printing is common in many transactions you use on a daily basis, such as retail receipts, airline tickets, gaming, entertainment, grocery, banking, and healthcare.

Thermal paper is chosen according to the application in which it is used. One of the advantages of Thermal is the ability to have several different "grades" which will be a combination of the weight of the paper and the print sensitivity. For example, paper used for a receipt will usually be a very low-grade, while the paper used for a document will be a high-grade paper that will last for years. The variations of grades between these two examples are considerable.

The overall advantages of thermal printing

What are important paper characteristics in a mobile application?

Pentax has a dedicated engineering staff that tests Pentax paper in all the above categories to ensure the highest quality for customer satisfaction.

The Pentax Offerings

Buying Pentax Thermal Paper Pentax paper is available through the same resellers that carry the PocketJet printer.

The best way to determine the optimum paper solution is to understand your application. Once you determine what you will print, it will be simple to decide questions such as:

* Pentax provides the flexibility to provide the right paper as well as the customer expertise to coach you in the buying process.


Question: How can I get the lowest cost-per-page?

Answer: Part of cost-per-page will be determined by the choice of paper you need for your application. Regardless of the choice of the type of Pentax paper, volume buying will ensure lower cost-per-page.

Question: What are the advantages of roll paper?

Answer: Several.

  1. Roll paper allows for "hands-free" printing.
  2. . The PocketJet printer can be set to be an "end of print" as well as an "end of page" printer. Whereas "end of page" is the usual printer setting, "end of print" allows you to print only the length of the document. Printing a short document and then being able to print a several page report will save you time and cost.
  3. . End of print settings makes it easy to print physically long documents such as polygraph forms or testing documents.
  4. . Roll paper is also available in perforated form.
  5. If you need an in-vehicle mount or a portable roll paper mount - all the major mount companies support Pentax.

Question: What are the advantages of Fan-fold paper?

Answer: It facilitates hands-free printing that looks like it has been single sheet fed.

Question: How can I minimize paper curl?

Answer: With Pentax cut sheet paper, or fan-fold paper, you will never have to worry about paper curl.

With roll paper, two things will determine if the paper curls.

  1. . Paper that has been put in a paper mount and has not been used for a long period of time may curl.
  2. A roll-mounted paper that has become loose on the roll may curl. Having the paper tightly rolled will ensure less curl.

Question: Can I use other thermal paper or do I have to use the Pentax brand?

Answer: Pentax paper is provided to guarantee the best performance and compatibility. The PocketJet printer will print on thermal paper found in office supply stores, however, when using this paper, please be aware of the following:

  1. Pentax will not guarantee print image quality. Pentax will not guarantee the print duration on the paper during storage. Some inexpensive paper can be abrasive, which will cause the printer head to wear resulting in print head failure.

Question: Can I get company letterhead or water marks on Pentax Paper? Answer: Yes, on Pentax Quality and Pentax Superior paper. Just call our technical support at 303-460-1820 for complete information on how Pentax paper can be imprinted with your letterhead, logos or other printed information.  

Mobile Print Technologies

Why Pentax has chosen direct thermal technology

The design of a truly portable printer, one that can be easily slipped into a briefcase alongside a notebook computer or handheld, requires that the device meet both expectations for portability and image quality. While a variety of printing technologies have proven their abilities in image quality, most of the common solutions do not lend themselves to portability. At best, many printer manufacturers rely on moving desktop printing technology to the "portable" printer market providing a printer that does not adapt well to changing environments or provide an easy-to-carry travelling companion.

What makes a printer "portable"? That is the question Pentax asks when designing printers to specifically meet the growing demands of mobile workers thus setting a clear criteria:

Looking at the options in printing technologies, it becomes apparent that Direct Thermal Technology meets the criteria needed in "Portable" printing.

Laser Technology

Laser printers offer crisp, high-quality print, working in a similar way to a photocopier, the difference being the light source. With a photocopier, a page is scanned with a bright light, while with a laser printer the light source is a laser. After that, the process is much the same, with the light creating an electrostatic image of the page on a charged photoreceptor, which in turn attracts toner in the shape of the electrostatic charge.

The design of laser printers is best suited for an office environment and can accommodate multiple users.

Why not portable:

* Laser printers are bulky mechanisms that requires quite a bit of power to achieve printing results

Toner required for laser print is somewhat sensitive and does not perform well with extremes of temperature and humidity in the field.

A laser printer needs to have all the information about a page in its memory before it can start printing causing a delay in printing a graphic intensive print job while producing costly additional memory requirements.

Consumables can be costly as most lasers use cartridge technology based on an organic photoconductive drum, coated in light-sensitive material. During the lifetime of the printer, the drum needs to be periodically replaced as its surface wears out and print quality deteriorates. The cartridge is the other big consumable item in a laser printer. Its lifetime depends on the quality of the toner it contains. Sometimes the toner cartridge and the drum are housed separately, but in most cases the drum is located inside the cartridge. This means that when the toner runs out, the whole drum containing the cartridge needs to be replaced, which adds considerably to the running cost of printer and produces a large amount of waste.

Ink-Jet (and Bubble Jet) Technology

Inkjet printing, like laser printing, is a non-impact method. Ink is emitted from nozzles as they pass over a variety of possible media. A print head scans the page in horizontal strips, using a motor assembly to move it from left to right and back, as another motor assembly rolls the paper in vertical steps. A strip of the image is printed, then the printer moves on, ready for the next strip.

There are several types of inkjet technology but the most common is "drop on demand" (DOD). This works by squirting small droplets of ink onto paper, through tiny nozzles. The amount of ink propelled onto the page is determined by the driver software that dictates which nozzles shoot droplets and where.

The design of inkjet printers is best suited for a desktop environment and usually accommodates one user. Why not portable:

Thermal Transfer Technology

There are two very different thermal transfer technologies in common use today. The oldest and most common is often called 'thermal wax', and the less common is known variously as 'dye diffusion or dye sublimation'. Both technologies are known as "specialist" technology - designed to perform a specific function.

The first applies an opaque material to the paper, while the second releases dye into selected areas of the paper. Thermal print heads are used in both cases to release the material to the paper. Due to resolution limitations and the fact that the imaging material is opaque, thermal wax is better used for images that contain text and solid images with the expectation that dithered or half-toned pictures will not be of high quality. Dye sublimation, however, allows the three or four color dyes to be applied in differing amounts in each dot, and meld together in the image. Even at 300dpi, dye sublimation can produce exceptional color pictures of near photographic quality. Both technologies create permanent images and the waxes and dyes do not dissolve in the presence of water.

The design of dye sublimation technology is best suited for a demanding graphics arts and photographic applications and intended for multiple users. The design of thermal wax technology is well suited to printing on transparencies.

Why not portable:

Direct Thermal

Direct thermal makes use of thermal print heads similar to those used for thermal transfer printers, but without the ribbons required for thermal transfer printing. Instead, direct thermal creates the image on the specially coated paper stock directly without the need for ink, wax or dye. The only moving parts in the design are those necessary to move the paper through the printer. There are no moving heads or ribbon feeders.

Designs using direct thermal technology can therefore be created in very small footprints. The print head, paper feed mechanism and the electronic intelligence to run the printer requires less space and weight than any of the other available technologies.

Direct thermal technology is in far more common use than most consumers realize, and has made great strides since the early days of thermal FAX printing. The vast majority of receipt printers and airline ticket printers, and many event ticket printers (including those used in theaters) are direct thermal devices.

Pentax has chosen to develop portable printer products utilizing direct thermal technology for the benefits described above. Additionally, this technology was chosen for its versatility in performing in adverse environmental conditions where other print technologies may not perform optimally. These include in-vehicle applications in climates that range from high temperature/high humidity to sub-freezing temperatures that can occur in winter conditions. A further benefit is having only one consumable, Pentax quality paper. The overall cost of ownership per page, therefore, is quite low.

Pentax also realized that consumers might be hesitant to purchase products based on direct thermal technology due to previous experiences with thermal paper that was traditionally used with early facsimile machines. With this in mind, the company entered into a program to develop high quality thermal paper for use in its portable printers. This development has resulted in the production of a thermal paper that uses a heavier base-stock (20 pound) and whiteness characteristics that are very similar to copier bond paper in wide use around the world. The combination of high quality Pentax paper and Pentax printing technology has resulted in a very portable printer solution with print output that rivals other traditional printer technologies.

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