|One of the first printing methods developed, dot matrix printing uses tiny round hammers to pound ink from a coated fabric ribbon onto a substrate - typically paper, which must be pin fed into the printer. Normally dot matrix printers use one or two column dot hammers - the more dot hammers on the print head, the higher the resolution.
Dot matrix printers are readily accessible and very inexpensive - most typically used to type forms, checks, and other documents that require carbon copies. Since the pressure applied by the print head to transfer the ink ribbon to the paper helps create a carbon copy, the dot matrix process is extremely useful for record keeping. Due to multi-pass, ribbons for dot matrix printers are relatively inexpensive.
Primary drawbacks include low print quality, limited graphic print capability, very slow print speeds, noisy operation, and a lack of resistance to chemicals. For bar code printing, especially, a defined image is crucial. The edge definition of dot matrix images is rarely clean or linear - greatly compromising the integrity of the bar code. Dot matrix printing's poor image quality, combined with its low printing speed and inability to resist chemical solvents, severely inhibit its performance - serious concerns which can greatly increase costs to manufacturers.