What is the Difference Between Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Labels?

Northern Label Systems, specialists in supplying high-quality labels explain the differences between Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Labels.
By: Piranha
Thermal Transfer Label Printer
Thermal Transfer Label Printer
PRESTON, U.K. - March 11, 2021 - PRLog -- Northern Label Systems, which are specialists in supplying high-quality labels explain the differences between Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Labels.

Thermal Transfer printing uses an ink ribbon to transfer the printed image from the heated printhead of the label printer onto the surface of the label while Direct Thermal printing transfers the image directly onto a heat-sensitive material.

Direct Thermal label printing does not require a label printer that uses an ink ribbon, therefore making it a cheaper label printer.  Direct Thermal label printing also requires the label printer's printhead to be in direct contact with the label itself. If you are printing high volumes of labels you will find that the printhead wears out quicker than one used for Thermal Transfer label printing.
These printed labels will also be different in terms of quality. Direct Thermal label printing is usually only used for labels that will have a short shelf life such as shipping labels, packaging labels (https://www.northern-label-systems.co.uk/printed-labels/p...), and best before dates. This is because the heat-resistant labels used generally fade in daylight over a few weeks or months depending on the level of UV light. Even when the labels are in an indoor office environment the label will generally start to fade after 12-14 months.

Direct Thermal Labels (https://www.northern-label-systems.co.uk/labels-by-type/d...) with a 'Topcoat' are available to ensure more resistance to UV light, though this means an increase in label price. Most Direct Thermal labels are the uncoated type and are used for short-term labeling solutions.

Thermal Transfer label (https://www.northern-label-systems.co.uk/labels-by-type/thermal-transfer-labels) printing uses the same method of printing for example heated elements heating up and cooling down very quickly on a thermal printhead. However, with thermal transfer label printing an ink ribbon is used to transfer the printed image onto standard paper labels or synthetic labels. The result is a printed label that will not fade in sunlight and will generally be readable for many years. Because an ink ribbon is used this acts as a 'buffer' between the printhead and the label itself leading to increased printhead life.

Northern Label Systems was founded in 2003 by Simon Brown who started working in the label industry in 1988 when he was a field service engineer for Toshiba which involved the on-site repair of label printers (https://www.northern-label-systems.co.uk/other-products/label-printers) in the southeast of England.

They supply label printers by Zebra Technologies (https://www.northern-label-systems.co.uk/labels-by-printer/zebra), Citizen, and Toshiba TEC, as well as self-adhesive labels

Email: info@northern-label-systems.co.uk


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