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Direct Thermal Labels

Posted by BK on 1st Jun 2020

Direct Thermal Labels

Direct thermal label technology offers organizations throughout Canada a convenient and cost-effective way to print barcodes and labels. With direct thermal label printers, there’s no need to use a ribbon or any inks whatsoever, which eliminates an added cost as well as the operational step of managing, removing, and replacing ribbons or ink cartridges.

Direct thermal label technology works by using a heated thermal printhead and blank direct thermal labels. Ordinary labels will not work as they won’t react to heat the way direct thermal labels do. Direct thermal labels are heat sensitive. When the contact with the heated printhead occurs, a dark image appears on the label.

Direct Thermal vs Thermal Transfer Label Printing

Direct thermal label printers are closely related to thermal transfer label printers. In fact, many thermal label printers can be used in either mode. Thermal transfer label printers require the use of an ink-coated ribbon, which releases the ink onto a label when the heated printhead comes in contact with it. The ink partially bonds with thermal transfer labels, making them more durable and longer lasting than direct thermal labels. Thermal transfer-printed labels offer greater scratch, water, and oil resistance than direct thermal labels.

Because they are heat sensitive, direct thermal labels fade over time. Their images aren’t as dark, nor as crisp, as thermal transfer labels.

These differences lend themselves to different label printing applications. In general, direct thermal labels are used for short-term labeling applications, like shipping and logistics labels, where longevity is not required. With many ribbon types available, thermal transfer labels can be used for anything from general purpose paper labels to synthetic GHS BS5609 chemical labels.

Direct Thermal Labels for Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Label Printers

Note that the label media used with thermal transfer printing is not heat sensitive, and thus will not work in direct thermal label printers. In contrast, you can use direct thermal labels in both direct thermal and thermal transfer label printers.