Monday, December 5, 2022

What Two Types Of Thermal Printer Exist

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Use A Thermal Transfer Printer For:

Printers Explained – Laser, Inkjet, Thermal, & Dot Matrix
  • Durable signs and labels: Thermal transfer printers can print signs and labels that stand up to extreme environments and meet OSHA and NFPA requirements, including arc flash labels, marine signage, safety signs, and more.
  • Specialized visual communication: Print magnetized shelving labels, wire wraps, low-light visual communication, and more for applications unique to your facility’s needs.
  • Floor marking: Boost efficiency and safety with custom floor marking signs, which can be modified to create pathways, cordon off areas, and alert pedestrians to forklift traffic.

Types Of Thermal Printers

Broadly categorizing, thermal printers are mainly classified into 2 categories- Direct thermal and Thermal transfer. The direct thermal printer or thermal auto chrome uses a chemically treated thermo chromic paper for printing purposes. On application of heat, thermo chromic paper changes colour and permanent ink marks are left on the surface of the paper. While printing, paper slowly rolls on rollers across the internal heating elements. Areas which get heated starts changing colours to form text or images based on the input.

On the other hand, in case of thermal transfer printing machines, ink is generally held on a thin ribbon. The used ink is wax-like in texture and consistency and when heated, it melts and slowly gets transferred onto the printing paper. Heating elements are quite similar in shape, design and features for both these types of printers.

Next, coming to the common applications of the thermal transfer printer, generally they are used for printing labels like barcodes, clothing tags etc. Thermal transfer printing machines are highly preferred mostly because off their high speed, accuracy and high …… levels of perfection. Moreover, durability of the images printed using such printers are remarkably higher which adds to its tally of offerings. Furthermore, label printers come handy for printing labels for multiple purposes using numerous varieties of ink depending on individual preferences and the surface and type of material on which its being printed.

Which Thermal Printers Can Print Color

If you need a thermal printer that prints color, you have five options. They are Thermal Transfer printers, Zebra IQ color printers, ZINK printers, Dye-Sublimation Printers, and Retransfer Thermal Printers. However, the use cases of these different printer types vary not all of them can print full colors. Some of them still have color limitations.

Keep reading for a more detailed explanation of the five types of thermal printers that can print color. As you read on, we will explain the color printing capabilities and limitations of each type. You will also gain insight into how they work and why they can print colors without ink.

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Which Printer Is Right For Your Businesses

When it comes to finding the right printer for your business, it will largely depend on your needs. What we suggest is that you write down what kind of labels you will be printing, how many labels and or documents youll be printing per day and the desired shelf life of your label.

From there, simply contact our friendly customer support team. We are constantly working around the clock and answering any questions potential customers may have. All we ask is for a little background information on your needs and well be able to find the perfect printer for your business.

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What Are The Disadvantages Of A Thermal Printer

Introduction to Printers

For all the good that comes with using thermal printers, they arent without disadvantages and drawbacks. Here are a few complications that may arise from using thermal printers.

  • Cost: The specialty materials used in the thermal printing process are considerably more expensive than their inkjet counterparts even the most basic thermal printer may cost hundreds of dollars.
  • Color choice: Thermal printers print fewer colors, and the high heat limits wax and resin choices both factors limit color and application options. Despite these disadvantages, Graphic Products offers a Custom Label Service, which allows employers to design unique labels with up to four spot colors.

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Color Printing With Dye

Dye-sublimation printers create high-quality photo-grade labels. They are a special type of thermal transfer printer that transfers colored dye pigments to synthetic fiber from a ribbon. The ribbon usually contains YMCKO panels in series, which corresponds to yellow, magenta, and cyan heat-sensitive respectively. The K panel corresponds to black color while the O panel is clear. The printer combines these dyes in varying amounts to create any color you desire to print.

The dyes in the YMC panels can be applied in varying amounts to vary color tone and intensity. But the K and O panels follow the all-or-none principle. The printer cannot vary the amount of dye pigments applied from these panels. To apply the different panels, the thermal printhead of a dye-sublimation printer uses hundreds of heating elements per inch to transfer dye to the print media.

Unlike the regular thermal transfer printers, the dyes are not just transferred to the surface of the print media. In dye-sublimation printing, the dyes diffuse into the print media and form a chemical bond with its molecules. The printer vaporizes the dyes, which then permeate the media and form bonds with its molecules.

How Long Does A Thermal Printer Last

A thermal printer typically lasts for about ten years before the printhead will need replacement. And the printhead is the only part that wears out in thermal printers. The printer itself would last for many decades.

The lifespan of your thermal printers printhead depends on how well you take care of the printer and the volume of work you are doing with it. So make sure to take good care of the printer and do not overwork it beyond the manufacturers intended capacity. Also, make sure to service the printer from time to time.

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How Does A Thermal Printer Work

For many years, thermal printers have been widely used in the e-Commerce industry to accomplish various printing on paper and other printable materials.

Over the years, thermal printers have gained a positive reputation owing to their efficiency, affordable costs, speed, and superior-quality prints. Today, they are the most sought-after solutions in almost all the areas where printing needs arise. e.g., in banking sectors, airports, healthcare industries, retail shops, groceries, entertainment industries, etc.

As their popularity gains momentum, more and more individuals get inclined towards purchasing them. Whereas such a move is recommendable, its vital to understand how does a thermal printer work before purchasing.

Today, our post will focus on answering the question how does a thermal printer work, its pros plus cons, and why its a great option to consider.


How Does A Thermal Printer Work

Should You Still Buy A Thermal Printer

Direct Thermal vs. Thermal Transfer Printing

Thermal printers are specially designed to create simple labels at a cost-effective rate. And they are the best at what they were designed to do. They print impeccable point of sale receipts, simple logos, basic information cards, and barcodes. You can use special thermal printers to produce on-demand pictures, ID badges, and customized CD/DVDs, among other things. If these are the things you need a printer to handle, you should buy a thermal printer.

The distinct advantages of thermal printers are as follows:

  • They are cheap to buy and maintain.
  • They are easy and simple to use.
  • Thermal printers work silently and help maintain a serene work environment.
  • They last longer because you dont have to move or change their parts often.

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How Do I Get Started With Thermal Label Printing

Think of these three things when getting started with thermal printing: software, hardware, and technical support. You need a good software program for making labels. Hardware requirements include a computer , a good thermal printer, and connecting cables. Then, you might need technical support for the setup.

Software, hardware, and expert support are the three basic things you need to set up your thermal printer. You need them for both light and heavy-duty printing. You need them, regardless of the size of your printer. As part of the hardware requirement, dont forget to get label rolls, as well as thermal ribbons for your thermal transfer printer.

Wireless Thermal Printers In Business And Home Offices

Thermal printers use heat to produce an image on thermal printing paper. A wireless printer receives print jobs via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.

How does a thermal printer work?

Rather than relying on ink or toner, a thermal printer uses the application of intense heat on specially designed thermal paper to create an image. Black-and-white thermal printers are more common.

The wireless feature enables printing from computers, mobile devices, and wearable technology. Enabling both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi print options extends the square-footage reach of the printer. It eliminates the need to run cables to connect devices to the printer, while Bluetooth lets you print over short distances. Use wireless LAN 802.11b or 802.11g to securely protect data. Secure your Wi-Fi connection using virtual private network software.

What are the most common business applications of these devices?

Use these printers for quick, single color printing of simple lines or text. The airline, banking, entertainment, grocery, healthcare, and retail industries use thermal printers to create bar codes, labels, receipts, and tickets. These models provide operation that is nearly noiseless.

What types of wireless thermal printers are there?

You will find the following kinds of printers:

  • Standard full-page

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Infrared Thermal Paper Vs Visible Light Thermal Paper

Save Money with Visible Light

Now everyone wants to save money, right? Hope Ive got your attention

How long have you been using barcodes? More years than you can remember? If so, then youve definitely seen barcodes go from simple vertical bars to all sorts of shapes and sizes. Like barcodes, the label industry has seen a lot of changes in printing technologies, label materials and barcode scanning.

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, quiet, efficient thermal label printing equipment began to replace the noisy drum and hammer of old impact printers. At the same time, more and more barcode scanners were being developed, but back then, they often had very specific engineering that limited their scanning range and the types of barcodes they could read. Those were the days when we talked about visible light and infrared scanners rather than laser, CCD or image readers.

Those two types of scanners still exist today, defined by the wavelength of their light sources:

Visible light scanners work up around 660nanometers . They are popular because you can actually see their red light and quickly align your scanner to a barcode. Another advantage of visible light scanners is that they can read barcodes printed in colorsnot just blackparticularly ones in the blue to green range that look black to the scanner. Lastly, barcodes can be printed with non-carbon based inks such as flexographic water-based formulas.

Color Printing With Thermal Transfer Printers

Hardware printer

Heat builds-up on the printheads of thermal transfer printers. The hot printhead then applies heat to ribbon cartridges, which usually contain wax, resin, or both. The ribbons ink pigment melts under heat and sticks to the paper to create a color print. Since thermal transfer printers can only accept one ribbon at a time, it doesnt print specific colors, according to the graphic. Instead, the color of the ribbon applies to the entire label.

If you have a black ribbon in your printer, the imprint would be black. If you need a color imprint, you would have to remove the black ribbon and replace it with a colored ribbon, according to the imprint color you desire to have. Blue imprints, for instance, would require a blue ribbon.

Of all thermal printer types capable of color printing, thermal transfer printers seem to have the greatest color limitation. But then, it is the most widely used of them all. The printing technique is very simple and cheaper than other thermal printing techniques capable of color printing. Just make sure to choose the right color ribbon for your printing application. For more on how to select the right ribbon, you can jump to this section

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Color Printing With Zebra Iq Color Printers

Zebra IQ color printers create black color and a few additional colors by varying the heat temperature it applies to different areas of the label. These printers are a type of direct thermal printers, but they use specially printed papers called Zebra IQ Color paper Labels. These papers contain nine ink pigments , which can be activated by different heat levels.

The temperature applied by the printer at different points on the paper will determine the color pigments that will be activated. This, in turn, determines the colors that will show on the paper. But then, these printers can only use 4 different temperatures per time. So you have to select 4 colors out of the 8 it offers before you start printing.

Video Zebra Technologies IQ Color Video Demo

Watch this video where Zebra Technologies show us how to print multiple colors on demand using any Zebra thermal printer. This demo showcases their patented IQ color thermal printing technology, which allows you to select 4 colors from a list of 8 colors for your labels.

The Five Types Of Thermal Printers That Can Print Color

The table below shows a summary of these different thermal printers and their color printing capabilities.

Thermal Transfer Printers Thermal Transfer printers can print color if you use a color ribbon in them. They can only print one color per time, depending on the color of the ribbon you put in the printer.
Zebra IQ Color Printers Zebra IQ color printers have a multi-color system that allows them to print in black and a few other colors. They can print black and 8 other colors. But you can only choose up to four colors per time.
ZINK Printers ZINK printers use a special direct thermal technology that allows them to print multiple colors on specially treated ZINK papers. They are full-color thermal printers that can create photo-grade images. But they can only print on ZINK papers
Dye-Sublimation Printers Dye-sublimation printers print multiple colors to create colorful images on labels using a special thermal transfer technique. They are full-color thermal printers that can create photo-grade images. But they are mostly used to print on synthetic fabric, such as PVC cards and polyester.
Retransfer Thermal Printers Retransfer thermal printers use the thermal mechanism to print on clear films before transferring the images, using heat and pressure, onto the print media. They also print full colors. But like dye-sublimation printers, they are mostly used on synthetic fabric. Whats more, the laminate bonds thermally to the surface of the print media.

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How Does A Thermal Label Printer Work

As mentioned, there are two types of thermal printing – direct thermal and thermal transfer. Direct thermal printing uses a special thermochromic-coated paper, while the thermal transfer printing uses a heat-sensitive ribbon and is generally the go-to option for extra durability. Thermal transfer printers contain a printhead made of tiny heated pins – one for each pixel – which is controlled by a microprocessor. This determines which pins are needed to form a specific image. The pins use heat to melt and transfer wax or resin-based ink from the ribbon onto a blank surface, whether its paper, plastic, or another material.

There are three main types of thermal transfer inks – wax, wax-resin, and pure resin. Each come with their own particular characteristics, and its worth being aware of the differences. Wax is long-lasting, but labels printed this way need to stay dry and are sensitive to oils, chemicals, and abrasives. Next is wax-resin, which is more durable than wax alone and is often used for more precise images. Finally, theres pure resin, which is the hardest wearing of all. Pure resin labels are waterproof, sunlight resistant, and offer greater protection against chemicals and oils. Unlike wax and wax-resin, it cant be used on paper, but it is designed to fuse onto vinyl, polyester, polypropylene, and other materials, to make highly durable labels and signs for sectors such as the automotive, marine, aircraft, transport and engineering industries.

What Are The Differences Between A Direct Thermal Printer And A Transfer Thermal Printer

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As we mentioned earlier, there are 2 types of thermal printers. The big difference between the two of them is how the ink and ribbons are applied.

For thermal transfer printers, they use a specific colored ink ribbon which is heated up and then works to transfer your design to the label. Thermal printers are commonly used for labels that need to survive in harsh elements and potential chemical exposures.

Direct thermal printing is a little different than thermal transfer printing. The obvious reason is that direct thermal printing does not require ribbons. Instead, they use a certain kind of label that has a special dye in it. This dye is called leuco dye, and it is clear when you purchase it, but when your direct thermal printer applies heat to it, the dye turns black and forms your design.

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Thermal Printers Use Heat Rather Than Ink To Produce Labels And Signage On Paper Tape Ribbon Or Other Materials There Are Two Types Of Thermal Printing Direct Thermal And Thermal Transfer

Thermal printing is a process which produces a printed image by selectively heating thermal paper when the paper passes the thermal print head. The heat-sensitive papers coating turns black in the areas where it is heated, thus producing the required image.

Thermal transfer printing, on the other hand, uses a heated ribbon to produce durable, long-lasting images. This process is known for creating highly durable and smear-resistant prints. As a result, thermal printers have become a popular choice for producing long-lasting labels and easily scannable barcodes, as well as till receipts, tickets, wristbands, vouchers, name badges, and much more.

Labels and signs are everywhere you look in our day-to-day and professional lives. From homes to offices, shops, warehouses, and other facilities, thermal labels are a must-have across a wide range of business sectors, including transport and logistics, retail, healthcare and food traceability. Whats more, with the coronavirus pandemic bringing a whole new set of challenges when it comes to the safe and effective running of the workplace, its never been more important to have quick access to labels that help keep everyone informed. If you need high-quality, cost-effective labels that are hard-wearing or ideal for applications with a short shelf life , then thermal printing is a great choice.

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