Direct Thermal Labels
This method is recommended when labels are required for a short-term use such as a shipping label or receipt. Being a popular choice thanks to their low maintenance characteristics and bulk capabilities, both large and small thermal labels can be produced quickly to increase production capabilities.
By applying heat to the thermal print head, the direct thermal media is activated to turn the label dark in the areas of the design where you want to be printed to replicate your design. The heat-sensitive material turns the label dark which means that only black can be printed with this method.
With no ribbon needed in direct thermal printing, the simplicity of this method creates an image directly on the material for rapid results. Please note that these labels are not scratch-resistant and can start to lose their contrast when exposed to bright lights or extreme heat, making them less clear to read.
Thermal Transfer Labels
Thermal transfer labels create a glossy, crisp finish which unlike direct thermal labels, can withstand extreme temperatures, UV exposure and chemicals for long lasting results. The high quality finish of thermal transfer labels makes them a great choice for uses including inventory ID, certification labels, laboratory specimens and outdoor applications to name just a few. Once setup, pre-printed thermal transfer labels can be batch produced with virtually no waste to create a collection of high-quality labels.
The process of thermal transfer labels involves melting wax or resin-based “ink” which comes in the form of a ribbon and a solid state. It is applied in a very thin layer onto a backing of polyester film which is drawn through the printer between the label and the printhead, a range of miniscule heating pins each of which represents a single pixel. When sent to print, signals are sent to the selected pins which causes them to heat and cool at a fast pace against the ink ribbon whilst melting and transferring ink off of its backing film and onto the blank label surface.
Both large and small thermal transfer labels can be produced using this technique, creating high quality transfers for maximum readability. Alongside the long lifespan, thermal transfer labels can also be printed onto a range of different materials to best suit your usage needs.
The Benefits of Thermal Labels
- Keep costs low
There is no need to buy expensive ink cartridges with thermal labels, saving costs on replenishing ink supplies as thermal labels are printed using heat. As well as this, thermal printers have less parts than conventional printers so there is a smaller likelihood of things going wrong and requiring maintenance.
- Speed up the process
Printing speeds are much quicker than traditional ink printing, making it an effective way to bulk print either large or small thermal labels and speed up the printing process for maximum return.
- Consistency every time
With traditional ink printing, you are often faced with smudged ink or inconsistency when the cartridge is running low. With thermal labels, the precise printing method can offer exact widths for each fine line, making this option far superior for printing barcodes as they need to be accurate and readable.
- Unbeatable durability
In comparison to traditional ink on paper labels, thermal transfer labels can’t be beaten for durability. Unlike the regular inks which can bleed easily and fade when exposed to sunlight, thermal labels are great for withstanding light exposure and facing destructive elements.