Non-Impact Printer

What Does Non-Impact Printer Mean?

Printers are categorized according to whether or not the image printed is formed by striking an ink ribbon against the paper. Impact printers have physical contact; non-impact printers (NIPs) do not. Non-impact printers are now most common, as they are faster and quieter than impact printers. Non-impact printers form characters and images without direct physical contact between the printing mechanism and the paper. For example, inkjet printers spray tiny drops of ink onto the page, while laser printers have a cylindrical drum that rolls electrically charged ink onto the paper.

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Techopedia Explains Non-Impact Printer

Non-impact printers use a cartridge filled with toner or liquid ink, which allows them to produce fine-quality images quickly and quietly. The printer cartridges are easily recyclable, resulting in environmental benefits as well.

Types of non-impact printers include the laser printer, which creates images with dots. Laser printers are one of the most popular types, as they produce sharp, crisp images and also provide resolution from 300 dpi to 1200 dpi. They are not only fast, but also quiet.

Inkjet printers also form images with tiny dots; they simply spray small charged droplets of ink from four nozzles through holes in a matrix at high speed onto paper. It consists of a print cartridge filled with liquid ink and small nozzles in the form of a matrix. However, inkjet printers they are slower than laser printers. An advancement on inkjet technology is the bubble-jet printer, which uses a type of small heating element which pushes specially formulated ink through print heads with 128 miniature nozzles.

With thermal printers, output characters are formed by a special heating element placed with special heat-sensitive waxy paper, forming darkened dots when the element reaches a critical temperature. Thermal printers are usually quite expensive as compared to other non-impact printers, but produce extremely high quality printouts.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.