A line printer that uses a metal band, or loop, of type characters as its printing mechanism. The band contains a fixed set of embossed characters that can only be changed by replacing the band. The band spins horizontally around a set of hammers, one for each print column. When the required character in the band has revolved to the selected print column, the hammer pushes the paper into the ribbon and against the embossed image of the letter, digit or symbol.
Band printers can print up to approximately 2,000 lpm and can exist in very harsh industrial environments, although they are mostly used in datacenters. Band printers and line matrix printers are the two surviving line printer technologies.
Band Printer Vs. Band Printing
A band printer is not to be confused with "band printing," which is a method for sending output to the printer. See band printing
Band Printer Mechanism
When the required character in the band has revolved to the selected print column, the hammer pushes the paper into the ribbon and against the embossed image of the letter or digit.
Dataproducts FP Series
The FP 2000A band printer prints 2,000 lines per minute and has a built-in vacuum cleaning system. (Image courtesy of Hitachi Koki Imaging Solutions, Inc.)
IBM Line Printer
This 6252 band printer prints 1,200 lines per minute (lpm). Additional models offer speeds up to 2,200 lpm. IBM has a large share of the band printer market, since band printers are typically attached to mainframes. (Image courtesy of IBM.)