What does Direct Thermal mean?
All thermal printing uses heat in the printing process, Direct Thermal is a method of printing, it involves the printer applying heat to heat sensitive labels to create the image straight onto the label without the need for a ribbon.
Direct Thermal printers don’t require ribbons, but must use Direct Thermal Labels.
Printed Direct Thermal Labels are more sensitive to heat, light & abrasion, this reduces the life of the printed material as over time it may fade.
Direct Thermal Labels are best used for indoor applications and things like address labels where the print doesn’t have to last forever, various label colours are available. Direct Thermal printing is generally cheaper than Thermal Transfer as there is no ribbon.
What does Thermal Transfer mean?
Thermal Transfer is a different method of printing and this is only supported by printers that have Thermal Transfer as an option.
Thermal Transfer printing uses heat to transfer the ink from the ribbon onto the label material.
Printed Thermal Transfer Labels are more robust and longer lasting, it is possible to use different materials for the labels and ribbon to achieve different results, from paper labels for boxes through to full waterproof pallet labels.
It is important to use the right combination of labels & ribbons.
What is a thermal printhead?
Every thermal printer has a thermal printhead, the print head is a heat element fitted to the printer that the labels (and ribbon on a thermal transfer printer) pass by. The printhead heats up and transfers the print to the label, a faulty printhead will cause poor print quality which in turn can make barcodes unreadable.
Regular maintenance can prolong printhead life.
What is resolution?
All printers and printheads will have a resolution value stated in dots per inch (dpi). The common resolutions are 203dpi, 300dpi, 400dpi & 600dpi.
A higher resolution results in a crisper and denser printed character, also certain barcode symbologies require a higher print resolution to be readable by a barcode scanner.
Some manufacturers display the resolution as a dot value, i.e. 8 Dot = 203dpi, 12Dot = 300dpi.
When replacing a printhead it is important to select the correct resolution for your printer.
What is an interface?
Every printer has at least one, sometimes several interfaces, the interface is the type of communications cable the printer uses to connect to the computer.
Common interfaces are USB, Parallel (LPT1), RS232 (Serial/COM1). For connecting to a network, a network adaptor may be required, both wired (10/100 Ethernet) and wireless network adaptors are available for many printers.
What ribbon type?
Ribbons are used for Thermal Transfer printing, and are available in different materials and different colours, generally Wax, Wax/Resin & Resin. It is crucial that the correct ribbon is used for the type of labels being printed.
Wax ribbons are generally used with paper labels and are usually more economical.
Wax/Resin ribbons are used with semi-gloss materials and are more robust and resistant to scratching.
Resin ribbons are used with most types of plastic based labels such as polyproperlene, polyester & vinyl, these are highly scratchproof and can be chemical & waterproof.
Can I get coloured labels?
Yes, we can supply labels in almost any colour and material.
Can I get different colour ribbons?
Yes, we have a range of different coloured ribbons available on request.