Glossary of Terms & Definitions

CD-R - A CD-R (Compact Disc-Recordable) is a variation of the Compact Disc digital audio disc invented by Philips and Sony. The CD-R retains all the abilities of the CD standard but adds the functionality of being able to store either music or data.

CD-RW - Compact Disc ReWritable (CD-RW) is a rewritable optical disc format. Known as CD-Erasable (CD-E) during its development, CD-RW was introduced in 1997.

Dot Matrix Printer - A dot matrix printer or impact matrix printer refers to a type of computer printer with a print head that runs back and forth on the page and prints by impact, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper, much like a typewriter. Unlike a typewriter or daisy wheel printer, letters are drawn out of a dot matrix, and thus, varied fonts and arbitrary graphics can be produced. Because the printing involves mechanical pressure, these printers can create carbon copies and carbonless copies. In today's market, dot matrix printers are commonly used and referred to as a receipt printer or POS printer.

Driver - A driver is a program that controls a device such as printers. A driver acts like a translator between the device and programs that use the device. Each device has its own set of specialized commands that only its driver knows. In contrast, most programs access devices by using generic commands. The driver, therefore, accepts generic commands from a program and then translates them into specialized commands for the device.

Duty Cycle - In print and copy terminology, duty cycle refers to the number of copies or prints that the device can reliably produce on a monthly basis. Exceeding the duty cycle number on a regular basis can lead to equipment malfunctions and breakdowns over time.

Fax - (short for facsimile - from Latin "fac simile", "make similar", i.e. "make a copy" - or telefacsimile) is a telecommunications technology used to transfer copies of documents, especially using affordable devices operating over the telephone network. The words telecopy and telefax are also used as synonyms.

Fax machine - A fax machine is essentially an image scanner, a modem, and a computer printer combined into a highly specialized package. The scanner converts the content of a physical document into a digital image, the modem sends the image data over a phone line, and the printer at the other end makes a duplicate of the original document.

Fax machines with additional electronic features can connect to computers, can be used to scan documents into a computer, and to print documents from the computer. Such high-end devices are called multifunction printers and cost more than fax machines.

Floppy Disk - A floppy disk is a data storage device that is composed of a disk of thin, flexible ("floppy") magnetic storage medium encased in a square or rectangular plastic shell. Floppy disks are read and written by a floppy disk drive or FDD, the latter initialism not to be confused with "fixed disk drive", which is an old IBM term for a hard disk drive.

External USB-based floppy disk drives are available for computers without floppy drives, and they work on any machine that supports USB.

Fuser - A fuser is the part of a laser printer that melts the toner onto the medium. It consists of a hot roller and a back-up roller. After toner is transferred onto the paper, the fuser applies heat and pressure to ensure that the toner stays on the paper permanently, which is why paper is warm when it comes out of a laser printer.

Glossy Paper - Printing paper with a smooth shiny surface finish to give maximum detail and tonal range.

Ink - An ink is a liquid containing various pigments and/or dyes used for coloring a surface to render an image or text.

LTO - Linear Tape-Open (or LTO) is a computer storage magnetic tape technology developed as an open alternative to the proprietary Digital Linear Tape (DLT). The technology was developed and initiated by Seagate, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM. The standard form-factor of LTO technology goes by the name "Ultrium".

Pigmented Inks - Pigmented inks contain agents that ensure adhesion of the pigment to the surface and prevent it from being removed by mechanical abrasion. These materials are typically referred to as resins (in solvent-based inks) or binding agents (in water-based inks). Pigmented inks are advantageous when printing on paper because the pigment stays on the surface of the paper. This is desirable because more ink on the surface of the paper means less ink needs to be used to create the same intensity of color.

Printhead - A printhead is the device in an inkjet printer which sprays droplets of ink onto a sheet of paper. Most desktop inkjet printers use cartridges that come with the print head attached; a few printers have separate print heads next to which the ink cartridge is inserted.

Dye-Based Inks - Dye-based inks are generally much stronger and can produce more color of a given density per unit of mass then other inks. However, they can be more susceptible to fading, especially when exposed to ultraviolet radiation as in sunlight.

Inkjet Printer - Inkjet printers are a type of printer that works by spraying ionized ink at a sheet of paper. Magnetized plates in the ink's path direct the ink onto the paper in the desired shapes. Inkjet printers are the most common type of computer printer. They are usually inexpensive, quiet, reasonably fast, and many models can produce high quality output. They are a popular choice for home users and small businesses. In the worldwide consumer market, four manufacturers account for the majority of inkjet printer sales: Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Epson, and Lexmark. Technology

Label Printer - A label printer is a computer peripheral that prints on self-adhesive label material and sometimes card-stock. Label printers are different from ordinary printers because they need to have special feed mechanisms to handle rolled stock, or tear sheet (fanfold) stock.

Label printers have a wide variety of applications, including supply chain management, retail price marking, shipping labels, blood and laboratory specimen marking, and fixed assets management.

There are five types of label printers:

  1. Desktop label printers are designed for light to medium duty use with a roll of stock up to 4". They are quiet and inexpensive.
  2. Commercial label printers can typically hold a larger roll of stock (up to 8") and are geared for medium volume printing.
  3. Industrial label printers are designed for heavy duty, continuous operation in warehouses, distribution centers and factories.
  4. RFID label printers are specialized label printers that print and encode at the same time on RFID tags enclosed in paper or printable synthetic materials. RFID tags need to have printed information for backwards compatibility with barcode systems, and so humans can identify the tag.
  5. Label printer applicators are designed to automate the labeling process. These systems are common in manufacturing and warehousing facilities that require cases and pallets to be labeled for shipping.

Laser printer - A laser printer is a common type of computer printer that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper. Like photocopiers, laser printers employ a xerographic printing process but differ from analog photocopiers in that the image is produced by the direct scanning of a laser beam across the printer's photoreceptor.

Line Printer - The line printer is a form of high speed impact printer in which a line of type is printed at a time. A fast line printer can print as many as 3,000 lines per minute. It is usually both faster and less expensive (in total ownership) than laser printers. In printing box labels, medium volume accounting and other large business applications, line printers remain in use. Multi-part paper forms (carbon copies) are sometimes useful when exact copies are needed for legal accountability or other reasons. The disadvantages of line printers are that they cannot print graphics, and the print quality is low.

Mac Printer - Most inkjet, laser, photo and all-in-one printers on the market today work with Mac OS X. Please check with the specifications of your printer to find out about specific Mac compatibility. You may need to install printer drivers specifically created for Mac OS X. manufacturers.

Maintenance Kits - Maintenance kits contain parts that should be replaced when your printer reaches its maintenance interval, or when print defects or paper jams start occurring that are caused by worn rollers, separation pads, or fusers. The maintenance interval is the number of pages after which a maintenance kit should be installed. This is only an approximation and each manufacturer contains different parts in their maintenance kits.

Matte Paper - Matte is a term used to describe a non reflective, non-textured surface.

Monochrome Printer - A monochrome printer can only produce an image consisting of one color, usually black. A monochrome printer may also be able to produce graduations of tone of that color, such as a grey-scale.

Multifunction Printer - A multifunction printer is a single device that serves several functions, including printing. Typically, multifunction printers can act as a printer, a scanner, a fax machine and a photocopier.

Plotter - A device that draws pictures on paper based on commands from a computer. Plotters differ from printers in that they draw lines using a pen. As a result, they can produce continuous lines, whereas printers can only simulate lines by printing a closely spaced series of dots. Multicolor plotters use different-colored pens to draw different colors. In general, plotters are considerably more expensive than printers. They are used in engineering applications where precision is mandatory.

Printer Ribbon - An inked strip of cloth used for making an impression, as in a typewriter. Examples, thermal printer ribbons, dot matrix printer ribbons, point of sale printer ribbons, etc.

RAM - Random access memory (RAM) is a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes. RAM is the most common type of memory found in computers and other devices, such as printers.

SDRAM - Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory (SDRAM) is a type of RAM that can run at much greater speed, and much lower latency, than conventional memory.

Storage Media - Also known as media storage or computer storage. Computer storage, computer memory, and often casually memory refer to computer components, devices and recording media that retain data for some interval of time. Computer storage provides one of the core functions of the modern computer, that of information retention.

Thermal printer - A thermal printer uses heat to transfer an impression onto paper. There are thermal wax transfer printers which adhere a wax-based ink onto paper. More commonly there are direct thermal printers which print the image by burning dots onto coated paper when the paper pases ofer the heating elements. This printer is mostly used for point of sale systems.

Toner - Toner is a dry powdery substance used in laser printers and photocopiers which forms the text and images on the printed paper. In its early form it was simply carbon powder. In order to improve the quality of the printout the individual carbon particles were blended in a polymer. The polymer particles can be melted by the heat of the fuser, causing it to bind to the fibers in the paper. The exact polymer varies by manufacturer but might be a Styrene Acrylate Copolymer or a Polyester Resin. Typically, you can print thousands of pages with a single cartridge.

UV Ink - UV inks consist mainly of acrylic monomers with an initiator package. After printing, the ink has to be cured by a high dose of UV-light. The advantage of UV-curable inks is that they "dry" as soon as they are cured, they can be printed on a wide range of uncoated substrates and make a very robust image.

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