KYOCERA develops world’s fastest thermal printhead for card printers

05 March 2010

KYOCERA Corporation announced that it has successfully developed the new KLE Series thermal printhead for desktop card printers used to print onto rigid materials such as ID cards and credit cards. The new printhead is capable of 300-dpi, full-color, high-resolution printing at 50mm per second — the industry’s highest speed*1 for this type of printhead. The company started mass production March 1, 2010.

Enhancements to the KLE Series printhead structure using KYOCERA’s design technology have increased the print speed beyond that of its predecessor - which was already the industry’s frontrunner in print speed. The new printhead employs KYOCERA’s proprietary double partial glaze (DPG) structure in the real edge head*2. The DPG structure uses the convex shape of the heat-storage glaze layer to increase thermal efficiency for printing, thus achieving a speed about 1.5 times that of the company’s conventional real-edge printhead. This series also achieves a high-resolution print quality by using a split structure for the heater.

KYOCERA, which holds the top market share in the printhead industry, expands its lineup with this new product to meet customers’ wide range of needs and to realize the high-speed and high-resolution print quality required in the desktop card printer market.

Product Overview

ModelKLE Series Thermal Printhead
Dimensions66×31×9mm (WxDxH)
Production locationsFront-end process in Kagoshima Hayato, Factory (Japan)
Back-end process in Nagano Okaya, Factory (Japan)
Mass production scheduleFull-scale mass production starts from March 1, 2010
Production target3,000 units/month with target of 10,000 units/month after one year

*1 The KLE Series is the industry’s fastest thermal printhead for desktop card printers (based on Kyocera’s research as of February 9, 2010).
*2 Real edge printheads place the heating element on the edge of the substrate to enable printing without bending the media. Real edge printheads are mainly used for rigid materials such as plastic cards.

For more details about the KYOCERA KLE Series Thermal Printhead:


Headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, the KYOCERA Corporation is one of the world's leading manufacturers of fine ceramic components for the technology industry. The strategically important divisions in the KYOCERA Group, which comprises more than 200 subsidiaries (April 1st, 2009), are information and communications technologies, products to increase the quality of life, and environmentally friendly products. The technology group is also one of the largest producers of solar energy systems worldwide.

With a workforce of about 60.000 employees, KYOCERA posted net sales of approximately €8.68 billion in fiscal year 2008/2009. The products marketed by the company in Europe include laser printers, digital copying systems, microelectronic components, fineceramic products and complete solar systems. The corporation has two independent companies in the Federal Republic of Germany: the KYOCERA Fineceramics GmbH in Neuss and Esslingen and the KYOCERA Mita Deutschland GmbH in Meerbusch.

The company also takes a lively interest in cultural affairs. The Kyoto Prize, one of the most prominent international awards, is presented each year by the Inamori Foundation, once established by KYOCERA founder Dr. Kazuo Inamori, to individuals and groups worldwide for their outstanding human achievement (converted at present €370.000 per prize category).