5 Vital Things You Need to Know About Thermal Labels
The description "Thermal Labels" leads to many questions when ask for by a customer purchasing the product. To prevent errors in ordering and customer returns when purchasing thermal labels, this article outlines the common types of thermal labels and the issues that can arise by purchasing the incorrect label.
1. Direct Thermal Coated Labels
Thermal labels come in many different forms. Direct thermal labels can be coated labels that are affected by heat to make the image on the label appear. There is a coating on the label to protect the label from fading over time, but the label will eventually fade and is not for permanent label use.
2. Direct Thermal Uncoated Labels
Uncoated direct thermal labels are the least expensive direct thermal label method of printing. These labels are also the most sensitive to fading and can be marked up very easily by bumping and scratching. Direct thermal labels are used in non permanent label applications.
3. Standard Thermal Transfer Labels
Thermal transfer labels are labels that receive the image from heat transferring wax or resin from a ribbon onto the thermal label directly. You must use a ribbon with these labels and the image is more permanent because it is in wax or resin or a combination of both transferred onto the label itself.
4. Direct Thermal Labels
Overall, direct thermal labels do not use ribbon. These labels are used for temporarily marking product. An example of use is for shipping labels, where the labels only need to be read for a temporary period. The image is made on the label from the print head directly creating heat on the label. The label reacts to heat. Because the label reacts to heat to make the image, it will also react to sunlight, hot warehouses, and the label is sensitive to scratches and can get marked if bumped.
5. Thermal Transfer Labels
The more permanent thermal transfer label is meant for use for labels that will be read for many months or years. Common uses are for product labels, barcode labels, location labels, and asset labels. Thermal transfer labels use a label material that does not react to heat. The image is made from the print head heating wax from a ribbon and transferring it to the label. Because of this, the image is more permanent and the label will not fade or mark up over time.
So, by understanding the differences in thermal labels, customers can prevent the common mistake of ordering a thermal transfer label for a printer that does not use ribbon. When this happens, the customer will try to print on the label and the label will just come out blank. The reason? Thermal transfer labels must use a ribbon! The customer should have bought the Direct Thermal Labels.