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There are two dominant methods of thermal printing available on the market. If you are considering doing label printing projects, you will want to know about these systems and how each works. Let us look at direct thermal printing and thermal transfer printing.
Direct thermal printing involves the use of heated printhead. The printhead produces thermal labels by burning images into specially treated paper or label stock. This system does not require the use of a ribbon. It allows for inexpensive and quick production of thermal labels. However, the labels remain sensitive to light and heat and often have a relatively short life span making them primarily valuable for labelling projects like shipping or dating soon to expire products. Thermal transfer printing is another fine way to produce thermal labels. In essence, it is similar to direct transfer. Instead of using special paper, however, regular paper is used and the print head contacts a special ribbon to create the thermal transfer of an image. This method produces labels that are more permanent but may cost a bit more to implement. By understanding the difference between the two primary means of producing thermal labels, you should be well positioned to make a wise decision when choosing a printing method. Both of these thermal methods have advantages and disadvantages. Both options boast many supporters and are in widespread use. In the end, the best choice will be the one that best meets your own unique needs for thermal labels. If you are not concerned about longevity and are focused on price, you will reach a different conclusion than if you are willing to pay more for the sake of label longevity.
If you are relying upon direct thermal printing to create labels, there are a few things you should know in order to improve the quality of your experience. Let us take a look at the chief limitation posed by direct thermal labels and what you can do to overcome that problem. Direct thermal printing happens when a heated printhead contacts specially treated paper, burning an image into the paper. The thermal labels are often very clear and easy to read, but may be less than satisfactory when detailed logos are involved. The problem is that the special paper used for the thermal labels remains susceptible to sunlight and heat after printing. A label can darken so much that it can longer be clearly read if it is overexposed. The lifespan of any label is tough to predict. So, how can you effectively use a label that can be difficult to rely upon? The answer, in the case of direct thermal labels, is in using the equipment for specialized functions that have a limited lifespan. For instance, thermal labels are great for hospital visitor labels or mailing labels. Both of these items are necessary and the thermal machine can handle them easily. Both items are also only in use for a relatively short period of time. Even if the label in question is nearing fading, these strategies could be effective. You will want to make sure you are only using direct thermal labels for tasks that can be completed in short order. Using the labels for projects like archiving or potentially long-term warehouse storage does not make sense. The best move is to find ways to use digital thermal labels in time-sensitive situations. You will appreciate the efficiency and quick printing without being upset by the inherent limitations of the technology.
Direct thermal labels are made when a specially heated printhead is applied to specially treated label stock. The result is an image, just as one would desire. However, the direct thermal labels have some real weaknesses. Let us look at the problem with direct thermal labels and why it comes about. Remember, thermal labels are “drawn” onto paper that has been treated with a special substance. This chemical treatment remains susceptible to heat and light. It cannot discern between a thermal print head and a match head or the sunlight. As such, thermal labels made using this technology often darken to the point that text or barcodes become unreadable. That obviously rules out direct thermal printing as a means of permanently labelling items or archiving them. However, the labels are capable of lasting long enough to withstand many common usages. For instance, one can use direct thermal labels for shipping. Shipping labels are usually no longer necessary only a day or two after their creation. Their temporary nature makes them a fine match for digital thermal output. There are other good examples. Tickets printed soon before a show, register receipts that can be logged and then forgotten and visitation wristbands are all examples of projects that do not need to last too long that can be effectively managed while using direct thermal labels. Every time one prints a direct thermal label, a countdown starts. The label will only be useable for a relatively short period. The labeller needs to use his thermal labels for short lifespan jobs. The technology is poorly suited for other labelling needs.
One can successfully use thermal printing techniques to create workable barcode labels. Whether one chooses a ribboned strategy or a direct thermal method, it is possible to create easy-to-read, entirely legible barcodes using thermal labels. This is important because bar code production is an essential part of many business’ labelling needs, and is an area where it would be nice to post cost-savings. Thermal printing strategies are among the cheapest possible ways to produce quality output, making them a natural selection for barcoding projects. Thermal labels featuring barcodes are an inexpensive way of handing an unavoidable task. Manufacturers have recognized this. They are producing relatively inexpensive thermal printers that can fit on the corner of a desk and are primarily built with printing barcodes in mind. These devices produce quality thermal labels quickly and inexpensively. Of course, some thermal printing has limitations. Thermal labels made using direct thermal printing, for instance, tend to darken over time. However, the limitations of the technique are outweighed by the advantages of using thermal labels for barcode functions. If you need to print bar codes and are looking for the most financially feasible way of handling the job, you may want to look at dedicated thermal printers that generate cheap, quick thermal labels perfect for barcode needs. There are many ways to handle barcodes. One of the best is by relying upon thermal printing technology. Thermal labels are a great way of getting barcode chores resolved speedily and functionally. Though the method may not be “perfect,” any downside is minimal when one considers the various advantages.
If you are new to labelling concerns, the idea of thermal printing and thermal labels may confuse you. You will hear one person talk about how he loves the fact that thermal labels do not require the use of any print ribbon. You will then hear another person say she can get so many rolls of labels out of a single print ribbon that she cannot believe it. You will see people selling thermal printing solutions for general-purpose needs and then you see others warning against using thermal printers for anything other than temporary labels. There is a great deal of confusion surrounding thermal labels for those new to the field. Who is telling the truth? Who has it right? The answer, surprisingly, is everybody. That is because thermal printing is a large tent that houses to different techniques. Both use heat as a system of producing image transfer for thermal labels, but beyond that similarity, they are really fairly different. Thermal transfer involves the application of a heated print head to a special ribbon. The result is an image on the papers or thermal labels in the printer. It does require a ribbon and makes a great general-purpose printing solution. Direct transfer, on the other hand, involved direct application of the heated print head to a specially treated paper. The image is then burned in to the paper. These systems do not use ribbons, but the labels often do not last long as the special paper and stock used for the thermal labels tends to darken when exposed to sun or heat. Thermal labels can be a tricky subject. Knowing the difference between thermal transfer label printing and direct thermal label printing should help better position you to make good decisions about your thermal label needs.
Thermal labels are those labels produced using thermal print methods. Thermal printing has long been a favourite due to its speed and low cost. There are basically two means by which one can produce thermal labels. Let us look at both systems. Before we begin, however, it may make some sense to discuss the ways in which the two systems are similar. Both use a thermal print head. That head applies heat to the surface that will be labelled. With thermal transfer printing, a heated ribbon is used. The result is a very solid and long lasting image that can be applied to a variety of different products and surfaces. With direct thermal printing, no ribbon is used. Instead, the label upon which the printing is to occur is specially treated with a substance. This system can produce a clean image, but light and heat sensitivity often create problems and the life of the resulting label may be cut short. Either system can produce great-looking thermal labels. However, direct thermal printing, due to its reliance on the treated paper and its susceptibility, is usually only used in situations where permanence is not a factor and the labelled product will not be exposed to extreme conditions. Thermal printing is an interesting process that uses a special print head and either a treated ribbon or a special kind of paper. These systems have long been used because of the clear images they produce and the relatively low cost associated with creating thermal labels. If you are looking for a label production strategy, thermal labels may be just what you need. If long term quality will take a backseat to speed and savings, take the time to investigate thermal labels.
If you are going to use direct thermal labels, it is important to understand both the strengths and weaknesses of the direct thermal printing process. Whereas many printing methods are good for general purpose labelling, the thermal process has some unique advantages and some important limitations that tend to define its most effective role. Direct thermal printing produces thermal labels by applying a superheated printhead to specially treated paper or label stock. The paper reacts to the heat by blackening. This blackening from the print head takes over the traditional role of ink in the labelling process. The burning forms the label’s image. There are two problems worth mentioning with respect to direct thermal printing. First, the labels themselves tend to have a short lifespan. Thermal labels are susceptible to sunlight and brightness. The chemicals that allowed the printhead to create a burn will react with other heat sources, resulting in over-darkened thermal labels. Additionally, the overall print quality of direct thermal systems is somewhat limited. Higher end systems may give you a greater level of clarity, but the average direct thermal printer will turn out thermal labels that contain legible barcodes but that might struggle with imagery that is more detailed. To its advantage, the thermal system of printing does a fine job of producing readable labels fast and inexpensively. Those two traits have kept thermal labels alive. Additionally, it is possible to compensate for the short lifespan of thermal labels by using them in non-prolonged situations. Using a thermal system to produce shipping labels, for instance, makes a great deal of sense. Direct thermal printing and the resultant thermal labels are a good way of handling some tasks, as long as one is familiar with (and able to work around) the method’s inherent limitations.