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All You Need to Know About Thermal Printing of Labels

If you have decided to print your own labels for your business at your office, you are probably aware that there are several options you can complete the printing process. You can use standard sheets of paper and labels on sheets and print them in any inkjet or laser printer, or you can choose thermal labels. Thermal labels can be found as direct thermal and thermal transfer. For the thermal transfer labels, you are going to need a thermal printer and thermal ribbons. The second option prompts a long life of the printed labels and even though it is the more expensive solution, people are putting their trust in it. Here is a closer look at the thermal printing process.

Thermal Labels

As I mentioned above, there are two types of thermal labels: direct thermal and thermal transfer. The direct thermal labels don’t require a thermal ribbon for printing as they are heat activated. However, they are recommended for short-term use as they are not expected to last over a year. Their most common use is for mailing parcels, small parcel delivery, retail and food industry where the labels are not exposed to heat or light.

Thermal transfer labels require thermal transfer ribbons for printing. The ribbons are wax carbon which transfers onto the label when the heat is applied from the printer. This type of printing produces long-lasting results so they are used for printing barcodes and product information.

When it comes to the ribbons, you should know that there are three types: wax, wax resin and resin ribbons. The wax ribbons are used for printing general text and barcodes and use on coated and uncoated paper label stocks. They are recommended for short-term labelling but are still scratch resistant. The wax-resin, on the other hand, are made with higher quality than the wax ribbons and are perfect for durable printing barcodes. Also, they have better resistant properties.

Finally, the resin thermal ribbons are best to use on synthetic labels in harsh environments where the temperature is extreme and there are chemicals, moisture and abrasion. They are used for long-distance transportation because the printed information is guaranteed not to scratch off.

When choosing the type of thermal ribbons, you need to pay attention to whether they are suitable for all the printers. Also, you must check on which side the thermal transfer ribbon needs to be wound in the printer, whether it is the carbon side out or carbon side in.

In the end, before making any decisions about the way you want to print your labels, make sure the way you choose suits your business needs. Thermal printing is always the better solution because it provides longevity. Keep in mind, though, that is still the more expensive solution, especially the thermal transfer printing because you need a thermal transfer ribbon for the printing process. Hence, the extra costs that you need to pay. However, it pays off in the long run as it will produce premium quality labels that will be the face of your business.


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Written by Mia Jones

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