Thermal printing technology has become widespread across the globe for printing labels, tags and tickets due to its ease, speed and efficient output.
Thermal printing technology has become widespread across the globe for printing labels, tags and tickets due to its ease, speed and efficient output. These labels and tags can be the vital link in getting your product to your customer, promoting your brand, identifying your assets, or labelling for compliance. Today there are many different types and grades of labels and label materials available, and each can offer a different benefit. However if the label or label material is wrong for the application, the label can either fail to perform or conversely, offer poor value if 'over-spec'ed, so a comprehensive understanding of how and where the label is used is essential to determine the right label for the job. This introductory guide explains thermal printing technology and explores some operational and lifespan factors that should be considered in determining the ideal material or your label or tag.
Thermal Printer Overview
Thermal printing is a digital printing technology where a thermal printhead uses heat to apply a mark or print to a surface. There are two different thermal printing methods: thermal direct and thermal transfer.
Thermal direct printing uses a heat sensitive label paper, which blackens when it passes through the thermal printhead, creating the printed image. The thermal direct method does not use any ribbon or toner, making it a fast and easy option for high volume printing. Since thermal direct labels react to heat, they are also sensitive to sunlight which can cause labels to blacken with prolonged exposure. Also, the thermal image may fade after a significant period of time. Direct thermal printing is ideal for applications such as carton and pallet barcoding; labelling items stored away from sunlight and heat; labelling short-life or high turnover items, or in cold environment applications such as meat packing and perishable goods. Often a smooth top-coat is added to the label material which aids in resisting moisture and scuffing whilst also protecting the print and your printhead.
insignia's direct thermal labels are produced using premium quality, top-coated thermal paper. Both insignia's 'standard' and 'economy' label ranges feature a general purpose permanent, rubber based adhesive with superior tack and adhesion.
Thermal transfer printing uses a heat sensitive carbon ribbon which 'melts' the ink onto the label material as it passes through the thermal printhead. Thermal transfer technology creates a permanent, crisp print, and is ideally suited for long-life product labelling, and for products stored outdoors or in direct sunlight.
insignia's thermal transfer labels are produced with an ultra-smooth coating that creates a permanent scratch-resistant bond with thermal ribbon, and can reduce printhead wear, extending printhead life.