There are two different types of thermal labels, Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer. The main difference between the two is:
Thermal Transfer labels
It needs a ribbon to imprint the barcode and information on the label. A printer capable of printing Thermal Transfer labels is required.
Direct Thermal Labels
It DOESN’T NEED a ribbon to print on the labels. These labels use the heat in the printer to activate the label to imprint the barcode and information on the label. Similar to EFTPOS receipts, they will fade over time.
Listed below is information displaying the difference, environments and requirements for the Thermal Transfer and Direct Thermal label types.
1. How it works
Direct thermal materials have a chemical layer applied to a paper or synthetic base that is activated by heat.
When the label is printed through a direct thermal printer, the small elements on the printer heat up and activate parts of the chemical layer to create the image required.
The labels are printed through a thermal transfer printer where, at the point of the print head, a layer of ribbon is placed on top of the label.
The print head elements heat up and cause the carbon pigment that is on the ribbon to transfer to the label, creating the required image.
Simple to use; a ribbon is not required as it images directly onto the label.
Used in most printers.
Greater productivity due to no ribbon changeovers.
Clear and consistent images for good readability and scan ability.
Suitable for both 1D and 2D barcodes.
Paper and synthetic material options available.
The quality, stability and durability of the image is suitable for most common requirements.
Excellent print definition for text, images and barcodes.
Ideal for small characters and line work.
Suitable for both 1D and 2D barcodes.
Wide variety of paper and synthetic materials available including clear, pearl, metalised, and fluorescent.
Coloured ribbons available for branding and promotional uses.
Better resistance to heat, moisture and chemicals.
Stable and durable images that are long-lasting.
Higher speed printing.
Longer print head life.
Can fade over time (6-12 months).
Overexposure to heat or UV light discolours the material, making the print harder to read.
Limited abrasion resistance.
Not all printers are thermal transfer compatible.
Ribbons must be kept in stock are an additional cost; a ribbon saver can reduce the amount of ribbon used.
Requires additional setup time and ribbon change-overs.
Ribbons can wrinkle and compromise print quality.
- Not Required
A ribbon is required; these are available in a range of different sizes, colours and grades. The common grades are:
Resin - typically used for industrial and chemical applications, where durability under extreme environmental conditions are required. Wax Resin - suitable for general purpose printing, with good scuff, element and chemical resistance. Wax - typically used in short shelf life applications, where there is low abrasion and low chemical exposure.
"I have worked with Trish at Barcode Logic for nearly 20 years. As an MYOB partner specialising in retail I originally reached out to Trish to seek assistance with her RMStock product that linked directly to MYOB point of sale software Retail Manager. During this time Trish has always been helpful and available to all my clients to remote in and fix various issues. Nothing is too much trouble and all queries are answered quickly and efficiently."
Mark MitchellMYOB Certified Consultant
"I have had the absolute pleasure and privilege working with Trish from Barcode Logic. Trish and her team have been helping our business community formulating solutions for many of clients of 2 Peas Pty Ltd for over a decade.
Trish is personable, energetic and professional and always strives for excellence. She has a sound knowledge of her software and offerings and is well versed in the retail industry and all aspects of inventory based businesses."
Pam MadytianosMYOB Certified Consultant
"I have been recommending and
selling Barcode Solutions from Barcode Logic for over 15 years
now. The Barcode Logic Support team have excellent product
knowledge, are always available, friendly and willing to assist.
The RMStock solutions enables the user to interface with Retail
Manager, in a logical manner and I find it very quick to
demonstrate and train clients in their use. My clients using
RMStock Scanners are saving valuable time and effort when it
comes to stocktake, ordering and receiving goods."
Beth Henwood Retail Manager Professional
"Cavallo IT Services has proudly partnered with Barcode Logic since 2015. During this time, we have developed a successful traceability and quality assurance software, now being used in agricultural settings across the country. The program’s success is a testimony to the partnership we have built, this would not have been achievable without Barcode Logic technical expertise. They are reliable, trustworthy, and only ever a phone call away.
We would highly recommend Trish and the team at Barcode Logic.
Joe & Anna CavalloCavallo IT Services
“Your number one resource for barcode hardware, software solutions, labels and ribbons”.