Generic Replacement Ribbon Woes
Found a "cheaper" alternative to original Craden ribbons? Beware!
Our experience shows that almost all "generic" ribbons will cause our printer to malfunction. The generic ribbon sticks to the ribbon guide mechanism and drags on the ribbon shield causing ribbon advance issues, poor print quality, smearing, carriage stalls, and premature printhead failure.
Craden developed DP8 & DP9 ribbons with a specific fabric and ink combination to run properly in the printer. The ink has a surface tension matched to the machine and is applied to the ribbon in a specific amount that will not foul the printer mechanism with ink.
Almost all black ribbon inks have amounts of carbon black expressed as "percent solids". Carbon black is extremely abrasive and can shorten printhead pin life dramatically. It actually wears the printhead pin to a nub. Within the use of 3 - 4 high solid content ribbons, print quality deteriorates and ribbon life is reduced to a fraction of expected use. This is exemplified by ribbon shredding or seeing a buildup of ribbon "lint" (looks like pieces of a black cotton ball) inside the printer. At this point, the only corrective action is to replace a printhead. It is imperative that the correct "solid content ink be used to prolong printhead life. There are also printer warranty issues here.
Printhead pins at 100X magnification abraded by high solid content ribbon ink after 4 ribbons are consumed. Print quality is poor and ribbon life is reduced by 90%.
Normal printhead pins at 100X magnification.
The good news is, printers with a "ribbon advance" issue or a smearing print problem can be remedied on-site by replacing the generic ribbon with one supplied by Craden. The ribbon shield should be inspected for ink build-up and cleaned with alcohol if necessary.
Price reductions on Craden ribbons can be realized when buying in quantity. The savings in buying slightly cheaper ribbons is irrelevant when print performance is compromised and increased maintenance costs appear. Let the buyer beware!