Direct Thermal Vs Thermal Transfer Printing
Direct thermal printing uses label cloth with a warmth touchy coating. When heated by way of the print head of your printer, the thermal coating turns black to create the photograph/text required.
Thermal transfer printing makes use of a thermal transfer ribbon (i.E. An ink ribbon also called a carbon ribbon). The print head heats the ribbon and ink is deposited onto the label fabric to create the photo/text required.
Some small desktop printers consisting of the Zebra GC420d are direct thermal only, however maximum thermal printers will operate in thermal switch or direct thermal mode. The price of consumables is similar for the two techniques of printing. Direct thermal labels are commonly a little extra luxurious, however whilst you upload the value of thermal transfer labels and ribbons collectively, the expenses are comparable.
The blessings and drawbacks of the two strategies of printing are as follows:
Direct Thermal Printing
Advantages of Direct Thermal Printing:
• Simpler for the operator to load the media (you handiest ought to load the roll of labels).
• It can be less difficult to achieve an awesome print great at some point of the preliminary setup (you do no longer want to suit the ribbon type to the label material).
• Environmentally better as you do no longer should cast off used ink ribbons (commonly you may handiest use thermal ribbons once).
Disadvantages of Direct Thermal Printing:
• The print will fade in time, especially if uncovered to direct daylight.
• The label material will discolour in time, especially if exposed to direct daylight.
• The label fabric is prone to marking if rubbed or scuffed.
• Cannot be used in high temperature packages (commonly exact to 50°C), as the labels will fast flip black.
• There is a limited variety of direct thermal label materials, in comparison to thermal transfer (even though it is feasible to reap direct thermal card tag material and some artificial materials which include polypropylene).
• Direct thermal labels will motive more wear to the print head as compared to thermal switch printing. You can therefore assume the replace the print head greater often with direct thermal printing if you are printing high volumes of labels.
The hassle of print fading and the label fabric marking when scuffed are reduced when the use of top lined direct thermal labels. Top coated direct thermal labels are extra luxurious, but additionally provide restrained resistance to moisture and water damage. If direct thermal labels are for use in a freezer (with a freezer adhesive), it’s far recommended to use top covered label cloth.
Thermal Transfer Printing
Advantages of Thermal Transfer Printing:
• Thermal transfer printing produces a permanent print, which has incredible resistance to fading, even when subjected to direct sunlight.
• The durability of thermal switch print can be determined by means of the selection of ribbon kind. The maximum famous (and lowest cost) grade is wax, which has restricted smudge resistance. The next grade up is wax/resin, which has good smudge resistance, but constrained scratch resistance. The top grade is resin, that is scratch and waterproof and proof against many chemicals (see the ribbon specification for records on which chemicals a particular ribbon is proof against).
• There are a miles wider desire of label substances available for thermal switch printing as compared to direct thermal. The preference of label materials varies from uncoated and covered papers and card via to fabric and a wide range of artificial materials, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester and polyimide. The preference of adhesives is likewise extra with thermal switch labels, in particular for extremely low temperature programs (-196°C) and very excessive temperatures (+ 575°C).
• There are a great variety of coloured ribbons to be had for thermal switch printing.
• Thermal ribbons have a silicon coating on the print head facet to shield the print head towards excessive put on.
Disadvantages of Thermal Transfer Printing:
• Thermal switch printing takes a touch greater time to load the media in comparison to direct thermal printing.
• You want to take care that the grade of ribbon suits the label fabric you’re the usage of. If you are the use of surprisingly coarse, uncoated paper labels, a wax ribbon will provide a higher print quality (the gentle wax will flow into the difficult cloth). However in case you use a wax ribbon on a covered synthetic material, it’ll rub off very without problems. Here a resin ribbon will be the favored desire.
• On some lower grade ribbons, the print head will need cleaning extra frequently as there may be building up of ink.
• You want to put off the used ribbons, that is much less environmentally pleasant as compared to thermal printing.
When starting a new task with thermal transfer printing, it is always recommended to ask your provider for a pattern ribbon to make sure you have a terrific in shape between the ribbon and label cloth.