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Whats The Difference Between Thermal Transfer Labels & Direct Thermal Barcode Labels?

Posted by BK on 16th May 2020

Difference Between Thermal Transfer & Direct Thermal Labels

Businesses in Canada often use thermal transfer label printers to print a wide range of labels, tags, and barcodes for manufacturing, food service, logistics, warehousing, retail, shipping, healthcare, asset identification, and other applications. Argon Technology has a large supply of thermal transfer labels for these and many other applications.

Thermal Printing Basics

Before selecting thermal transfer labels, it’s important to understand how thermal printer technology works. There are two basic types of thermal label printers : direct thermal and thermal transfer.

Both use heated printheads to produce an image on a substrate. However, thermal transfer printers require the use of coated thermal transfer ribbons while direct thermal printers do not. With thermal transfer printers, the ribbon has a wax, resin, or wax-resin coating containing ink that is released when heat is applied and transferred onto the substrate. With direct thermal printers, the labels are heat-sensitive and react when heat is applied.

Thus, if you have a thermal transfer printer, you will need to use a thermal transfer ribbon. If you have a direct thermal printer, you will need to use direct thermal labels . If you have a thermal label printer that supports both direct thermal and thermal transfer label printing, you can print labels with or without a ribbon depending on your needs.

Advantages of Thermal Transfer Printing

Depending on the ribbon type used, thermal transfer printers can produce everything from cost-effective general purpose labels using paper thermal transfer labels and wax ribbons to extremely durable, water-, oil-, and chemical-resistant labels using synthetic thermal transfer labels and resin ribbons. We have a large selection of thermal transfer ribbons compatible with the leading thermal transfer printers on the market.

In contrast, direct thermal labels have a shorter lifespan as thermal labels tend to degrade over time. They are ideal for label applications with a short lifespan like shipping labels, food service labels, and special event labels. If you need to print a longer lasting label, thermal transfer printing is a great choice.

Thermal Transfer Labels

Argon Technology has thermal transfer labels compatible with a wide range of desktop and industrial thermal transfer printers commonly used in Canada. Our labels come in label rolls in various configurations:

-Industrial thermal transfer labels — These thermal transfer labels are available on 3-inch cores and have an outside diameter of 8 inches.

-Desktop thermal transfer labels — These thermal transfer labels are available on 1-inch cores and have an outside diameter of 4 or 5 inches. 4-inch OD label rolls will fit most desktop thermal transfer printers. Some desktop thermal transfer printers will accept the larger 5-inch rolls.

In addition to the different label roll sizes, we have thermal transfer labels in various widths, shapes, and sizes as well as different label materials and colors:

-Paper thermal transfer labels and tags

-Synthetic thermal transfer labels (polypropylene, vinyl, polyester

-UL certified thermal transfer labels

-Floodcoated thermal transfer labels

Not sure which type of thermal transfer label is best for your application? We can help by sending you free thermal transfer label samples upon request.