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Thermal Labels

printer.gif (7096 bytes) Thermal labels come in two basic varieties

Thermal Direct
Thermal Transfer

As their names imply, the difference is how a printer creates the image (data) on the label.


Thermal Direct

Image is directly created on the label as it is contacted by the printers printhead.
The printhead produces heat which causes an imaging  reaction on the label material
Special label material must be used in order to have the imaging reaction.
Labels are subject to degradation due to exposure to other heat and light sources.
Friction caused between the printhead and label material causes reduced printhead life.
Thermal Transfer Image is transferred onto the label via ribbon media.
The ribbon is contacted by the printers printhead, causing it to melt onto the label.
Care should be given when selecting the ribbon media. Ribbons are designed to work for various uses and materials. An improper match could lead to printhead damage and poor quality.

Most thermal printers may use either label type. Therefore, selection between varieties should be based on the following criteria.

Thermal Direct Label longevity is not an issue. This is important as degradation can often occur rapidly causing poor readability.
Ribbon replacement causes time bottlenecks.
Thermal Transfer High quality and long life expectations are necessary.
Extending printhead life as friction is reduced by the ribbon media, which is actually much smoother than the face of a label.

Although the cost for thermal direct labels is much higher, costing models suggest that the overall costs are actually quite close once ribbons and printhead replacement are factored in.

Custom Labels

Stock Thermal Transfer Labels

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