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  1. Polypropylene vs. Polyester Labels

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    Click to ExpandPolypropylene-vsPolyester-Labels

    Labels are an essential part of packaging design and product identification that play a significant role in providing information and attracting and retaining customers’ attention. Their visual elements — color, font, graphics, and shape — are crucial in creating a memorable brand image and making a product stand out. Additionally, the type of material used to print the label affects its durability and overall appearance.

    Polypropylene and polyester are two of the most widely utilized materials in label production due to their distinct features, advantages, and versatile applications. This article will dive into their characteristics to help you choose the best labeling material for your product.

    What’s the Best Labeling Material for Your Project?

    Labels enhance a product’s aesthetic appeal and convey essential information, such as branding, product facts, and warnings. Aside from their visual impact, they are created to withstand a range of storage, temperature, and light conditions while maintaining legibility and functionality.

    Polypropylene Labels

    Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (PP) is a type of plastic film known for its moisture resistance and cost-effectiveness. It is often used for products with a short shelf life and requires protection from moisture and humidity. It is also an excellent alternative for quickly degrading materials such as food packaging.

    Another advantage of PP is its versatility. It can be used for various applications, from food packaging to labeling products in multiple industries. The film can also be printed using different techniques, allowing for the production of high-quality labels. Polypropylene material can be printed as a thermal transfer ribbon or as direct thermal printing.

    When exposed to sunshine, polypropylene has a shorter lifespan than other materials. As a result, the material can degrade rapidly, leading to fading and other problems that can severely affect the appearance of your packaging. It is also incompatible with digital printing as it can cause streaks and produce a low-quality output.

    Polyester Labels

    Also known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyester is suitable for durable applications. It is a semi-rigid, lightweight material that comes in various adhesives. Moreover, it has excellent moisture barrier properties.

    Polyester labels can last as long as 10 years due to their high durability. They can also endure temperatures as high as 300 °F and as low as -40 °F. In addition, they are resistant to various caustic and acidic agents, making them perfect for printing complicated graphics.

    One of the main drawbacks of polyester is its high cost compared to other labeling materials, such as vinyl and polypropylene. It is also not ideal for labeling objects with uneven surfaces or narrow circumferences because it tends to be stiff and rigid.

    High-Quality Custom Labels From Technicode

    Polyester is the preferred labeling material for products frequently exposed to outdoor or extreme environments. On the other hand, polypropylene is ideal for indoor use and labeling requirements that demand a stronger option than paper.

    For more than 25 years, Technicode has been providing customized label solutions for thermal transfer and direct printing! Our offerings include multiple color labels in six distinctive hues, tailored conversions, and top-quality products that meet industry standards.

    Contact us today to learn more about our products or request a quote to start your labeling project with us!

  2. A Guide to RFID Labels

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    Click to ExpandA-Guide-to-RFID-Labels

    The present dynamic of the business landscape prompts companies and individuals to constantly strive to improve their efficiency. One technology that has become increasingly popular in recent years is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) labels. They are electronic tags that can be attached to various objects, providing a means of tracking and identifying them through radio waves.

    RFID labels provide many advantages, including improved inventory precision and expedited supply chain management. However, the many available labeling options can pose a challenge when determining the most suitable one for your specific requirements. This guide will delve into these smart labels, including their functionality and the various types available.

    How RFID Labels Work

    RFID labels — or RFID tags or transponders — are small electronic devices that can be affixed to various objects, such as products, assets, or people. They feature an antenna and microchip that facilitate the transmission and reception of data via radio waves. They also serve as a mechanism for monitoring and identifying objects, enhancing inventory precision and supply chain management.

    The labels operate based on the principle of wireless communication, allowing them to function without any direct physical link to the reader device. When a reader device is near the tag, it sends a radio signal picked up by the label’s antenna. This enables the microchip to receive power and transmit a unique identifier code back to the reader.

    RFID tags are offered in various sizes to cater to different requirements. The size usually depends on the object it will be attached to and the read range necessary for the application.

    Here are the three available dimensions and their respective uses:

    • Small-sized labels are suitable for tagging items like jewelry, documents, and compact electronic components.
    • Medium-sized tags are useful for tracking items like pallets, containers, and large machinery.
    • Large-sized labels are most appropriate for tracking fast-moving objects like vehicles and athletes.

    Types of RFID Labels

    RFID tags are available in various types, each designed with specific applications and operating requirements in mind. Listed below are some of the most commonly used types of labels:

    Passive Labels

    Passive labels are the most widely used due to their affordability and suitability for high-volume applications. They operate without a battery and instead rely on the electromagnetic field generated by the reader to power their microchip. This enables them to return the unique identifier code stored on the microchip to the reader.

    Active Labels

    Active labels have an embedded battery that powers both the microchip and antenna. This allows them to transmit signals over greater distances and with improved accuracy. Although they are more costly than the passive ones, their extended read range and higher accuracy make them useful for asset-tracking applications.

    Semi-Passive Labels

    Semi-passive labels combine features of both passive and active transponders. They have a built-in battery that powers the microchip but not the antenna. This allows them to provide a longer read range than passive labels while being less costly than active tags.

    The Process of Making an RFID Label

    The label’s production involves multiple stages: design, material selection, and printing. First, the design phase determines the position of the microchip and antenna and the shape and size of the tag. After that, the material selection requires selecting the substrate, adhesive, and conductive ink used for the antenna.

    The printing process can be done using several techniques, including flexographic printing, screen printing, or digital printing. This usually depends on the design and the type of substrate being used. After printing, the RFID label is encoded with a unique identifier code that will be transmitted through radio waves.

    Technicode: Your Reliable Provider of High-Quality Label Solutions

    Since 1997, Technicode has been delivering premium label solutions for thermal transfer and direct printing! We offer a wide range of services, including high-quality labels that meet industry standards, customized conversions, and six unique color options.

    Contact us today to learn more about our services! You can also request a quote to start your labeling project with us.

  3. What Is a Thermal Shipping Label?

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    The ever-evolving logistics and shipping industry requires processes that streamline operations while ensuring that packages are labeled and easily identifiable. To remain competitive, the industry must also keep operating expenses low, which necessitates effective and economical tools, innovations, and alternatives. The thermal shipping label is a prime example.

    Thermal printing labels, also known as thermal shipping labels, are produced by utilizing thermal transfer printing technology. Heat is used to transfer ink from the ribbon to the label material, resulting in a high-quality and distinct image. The label material is typically made of a special paper that reacts to heat and changes color.

    This article will go over the fundamentals of thermal printing, including its various types and benefits.

    Types of Thermal Shipping Labels

    Direct thermal labels and thermal transfer labels are the two main types of thermal labels. Each has distinct benefits and drawbacks, and the best type for a given application is determined by the project’s specific needs.

    Direct Thermal Labels

    Labels for direct thermal printing are made of a special thermal-sensitive paper that changes color when heated. One of their primary benefits is that they do not require the use of a ribbon or ink in the printing process. This means that they are less expensive than thermal transfer labels. They are also simpler to operate and produce high-quality prints with sharp images and text.

    This label is frequently used in shipment uses, where it is subjected to light and heat during transports. Parking tickets, event passes, wristbands, name tags, and receipts are some of the other uses for direct thermal labels.

    Thermal Transfer Labels

    Thermal transfer labels are made of a thermal-sensitive material coated on a film or paper. When a printhead heats the material, ink from the ribbon transfers to the label. This results in images that are clear and long-lasting. They can also be made from various materials, such as paper, film, and synthetic materials. Further, this versatility extends to the different printing methods that can be done on these labels.

    They are ideal for applications where the label needs to be durable, such as inventory management and product identification. They can also be used in circuit board tracking and specimen labels.

    Benefits of Thermal Shipping Labels

    Direct thermal and thermal transfer labels have advantages that make them ideal for various applications. Some of their primary benefits include the following:


    Labels are frequently exposed to moisture, heat, and rough handling in a shipping environment, which can cause them to smudge, fade, or tear. This is not an issue with thermal printing labels. Thermal-sensitive materials used in direct thermal and ribbon ink in thermal transfer are resistant to water and other harsh elements. This ensures that the labels remain legible and accurate over time.


    Thermal labels are available in various sizes, materials, and adhesives, ensuring they are suitable for a wide range of packages and products. Whether you are shipping small items or large parcels, these labels apply to any packaging type. Moreover, they come with either permanent, repositionable, or removable adhesives.


    Thermal transfer printing is relatively inexpensive compared to other printing technologies, making it an attractive solution for businesses of all sizes. Furthermore, large quantities of labels can be produced at a minimal price because of the low cost of materials.

    Clear Printing Capability

    Businesses can be confident that their labels will be easily readable and accurate with clear printing capability. This helps ensure that packages are delivered to the intended recipient on time with no delays or misunderstandings.

    Choose Technicode for Exceptional Custom Labeling Services

    With over 25 years of experience, Technicode has earned a reputation as the leading provider of customized label solutions for thermal transfer and direct printing. We understand the unique needs of businesses in the logistics and shipping industries, allowing us to provide custom solutions for your product or brand.

    With Technicode, you can be sure that you are getting the best in terms of quality and affordability! Contact us today to learn more about our products and services, or request a quote now! Let us help you achieve your labeling goals and ensure that your packages are delivered quickly, accurately, and efficiently.

  4. A Guide to Pharmacy Labels

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    Pharmacy labels clearly indicate important information about the prescription medication to enhance safe drug administration. They detail vital information such as the prescribing physician, the patient’s name, dosage instructions, the name and strength of the drug, and much more. Pharmacy labels also contain information about side effects, restrictions, and proper administration.

    Pharmacy labels are essential to ensure proper patient care in hospitals, nursing homes, physician’s offices, and other healthcare facilities. Mislabeled or unlabeled medications can cause liability issues for healthcare providers. Suppliers like Technicode Inc can provide you with the direct thermal label printing capabilities to ensure your pharmacy labels are of the highest quality.

    Materials in Pharmacy Labels

    pharmacy labels

    Packaging or containers that come into contact with the product must meet strict health safety standards. But since pharmacy auxiliary labels don’t come into contact with the drug, they are not as closely regulated.

    Pharmacists and drug manufacturers can use a wide variety of materials to label the exterior of the medicine package, including holographic films, standard white paper stock, shrink sleeve labels, and more.

    Multi-layer labels are common in healthcare and pharmaceutical products because they are required to display large amounts of information. To enhance product safety, you should consider choosing coatings, adhesives, and inks with low migration characteristics, meaning the material will not transfer the substances to the drug.

    Types of Pharmacy Labels

    There are several types of pharmacy labels, each of which provides different types of information about the drug and its use. Label types include the following.

    • Storage Expiration Labels
    • USP 800 Labels
    • PIS Labels
    • Medication Instruction Labels
    • Communication Labels
    • Medication Flag Labels

    Storage Expiration Labels

    This label shows the period when the medication’s active ingredient or excipient can be expected to maintain its potency. It details the date opened and storage requirements, among other information.

    USP 800 Labels

    These labels are designed for the clinical staff so that they can handle HDs accurately and safely. The label contains information on storage, shipping, and disposal and instructs proper PPE usage.

    PIS Labels

    PIS labels provide clear images for accurate barcode or QR scanning to ensure that the product is authenticated. They also connect with the pharmacy information system (PIS), which records, manages, and stores your medical data. This data is then used for patient decision support, re-ordering, reporting, and billing.

    Medication Instruction Labels

    This type of label guides patients and clinical staff on the proper dispensing methods for the medication. They are effective in reducing medicine mix-ups and ensure there are no errors when administering the drug by clearly stating when and how to take the medicine.

    Communication Labels

    These labels primarily list the details of the medication’s dosage and the necessary safety procedures.

    Medication Flag Labels

    These labels wrap around hard-to-label packaging and vials to provide easily located instructions and alerts. For example, if a manufacturer makes a significant change to a non-prescription drug, they need to include a medication flag label on the product for six months.

    Important Design Considerations

    Due to the scientific nature of medications, many people have a difficult time reading and understanding medication labels, which can lead to medication errors. When designing your pharmacy label, it is vital to note that the design must be able to be understood by all people, especially for patients with chronic conditions and senior adults. Depending on whether you are designing over-the-counter drug labels or prescription drug labels, here are some important design considerations that you should keep in mind.

    • Prescription Label Size: Patients must be able to read the prescription label text.
    • Layout Information: A good design layout helps improve comprehension when reading the label.
    • Color and Graphics: Visuals help to emphasize the text and draw attention to important information.
    • Clear Verbiage: Ensure that phrasing is clear to avoid misleading details.

    Order Pharmacy Labels at Technicode INc.

    Unlike pharmacy packaging, which is heavily regulated, you have more freedom with your prescription labels. However, it is important to obtain high-quality labels to ensure that patients and clinical staff alike easily understand the information to avoid accidental drug misuse.

    Technicode Inc. is a leading supplier of top-quality thermal printing supplies all over the United States. We offer a wide variety of custom blank, direct thermal labels, or printed thermal transfer, with printing up to six colors. Depending on your needs, pharmacy labels can be converted into rolls, sheets, fan-folded, or piggybanks. Labels are made to work with most major brand printers such as Zebra-r, Datamax-r, Intermec-r, Sato-r, Avery-r and many more printers.

    Contact us to learn more, or request a quote today.

  5. How to Select the Right Thermal Transfer Ribbon Type

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    Thermal transfer ribbon printing is an efficient and cost-effective way to print labels on a variety of substrates. With the right label printer ribbon, these systems can print on paper, polyester, polypropylene, Tyvek, and other film substrates. However, to get the best quality prints, it’s important to match the transfer ribbon to the application. This process requires considering not only the substrate but also application requirements such as print longevity.

    The team at Technicode, Inc. is happy to help evaluate these constraints and develop a custom printing solution for your application. As a leading North American provider of barcode labeling supplies, we offer a full range of thermal transfer ribbons to meet any printing challenge.

    Why Choosing the Right Ribbon for Your Application Matters

    Thermal transfer ribbons are not completely interchangeable. A ribbon may be able to print on a suboptimal substrate, but there will likely be noticeable quality problems. For instance, incompatibility between these components can cause strange gray shading or partial ink transfer. Similarly, using a ribbon on a too-rough surface can cause pinhole gaps in the final print. Choosing the right ribbon prevents these problems and ensures a smooth, durable print.

    Thermal Transfer Ribbon Types

    Close-up of light blue thermal transfer ribbonsThermal transfer ribbons can be coated with wax, resin, or some combination of wax and resin. In general, wax ribbons are more economical, while resin ribbons offer a more durable print.

    Wax Ribbons

    Wax ribbons print dark, crisp images at a range of energy and speed settings. They offer a versatile, cost-effective option for printing on tags and both coated and uncoated papers.

    Resin-Enhanced Wax Ribbons

    Resin-enhanced wax ribbons have a unique formulation that minimizes static and creates crisper edges than pure wax ribbons. They can also be used with a wider range of substrates, including coated and uncoated paper, synthetic paper, polyethylene, and polypropylene.

    Wax / Resin Ribbons

    Wax/resin ribbons are formulated with a higher proportion of resin. This composition helps dissipate static and create cleaner prints. They are especially useful for achieving sharp quality on low-end synthetics like polypropylene, top-coated vinyl, polyethylene, and polystyrene.

    Full Resin Ribbons

    Full-resin ribbons are the most versatile, capable of printing at high speed on almost any substrate. Resin prints are also far more durable than wax prints, withstanding both mechanical and chemical damage. These tough ribbons yield excellent results on substrates as diverse as paper, tags, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyolefin, vinyl, and polyester.

    Within these broader categories, a variety of formulations are available, each with distinct benefits. Technicode’s printing experts can help you choose the best specific ribbon for your needs.

    Thermal Transfer Ribbon Applications

    Thermal transfer ribbons are typically used for retail labeling and product tracking. However, applications differ in several key ways:

    • Print volume and speed
    • Printed substrates
    • Conditions labels face after printing
      • Environmental exposures
      • Chemical exposures
      • Handling frequency

    These variables determine which transfer ribbons are most appropriate for an industry’s needs.

    General Purpose Wax Thermal Transfer Ribbons

    As described above, wax ribbons are best used for general-purpose applications such as:

    • Retail labels
    • Shipping and warehousing tags
    • Product identification

    Resin-Enhanced Wax Thermal Transfer Ribbons

    Resin-enhanced wax transfer ribbons can be used in a wider variety of applications, including those that require a higher degree of durability or a higher printing speed. These include:

    • Retail labels
    • Shipping and warehousing tags
    • Product identification
    • Logistics labels
    • Film labels
    • Flexible packaging
    • Lumber tags

    Wax-Resin Thermal Transfer Ribbons

    Wax-resin thermal transfer ribbons offer more durable prints and can accommodate a wider range of substrates. In addition to the shipping and product identification applications listed above, other uses include:

    • Compliance labels
    • Health care labels
    • Textile tags
    • Nursery and lumber labeling
    • Flexible film printing

    Full Resin

    Full resin ribbons are used where quality and durability are a priority. They are also used when products are stored outdoors or exposed to harsh chemicals. Examples include:

    • Chemical drum labels
    • Medical and pharmaceutical labels
    • Compliance labels
    • Textile tags
    • Nursery and lumber labeling
    • Flexible film printing

    High-Quality Thermal Transfer Ribbons from Technicode Labels Inc.

    Technicode, Inc. specializes in custom printing and labeling solutions for clients from diverse industries. To learn more about our comprehensive thermal transfer ribbon offerings, contact us or request a quote to receive personalized guidance.

  6. What is Thermal Transfer Printing?

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    Thermal Transfer Ribbons

    Thermal transfer printing involves melting resin-based ink or wax ribbons onto printing media, which results in a high-quality, long-lasting image. Manufacturers primarily use thermal transfer printing to print labels due to its resistance to moisture and heat that allows for optimal durability. Depending on the needs of a particular application, this process could be more ideal than direct thermal printing or other printing processes.

    How Does a Thermal Transfer Printer Work?

    The thermal transfer printing process relies on heat to produce results. Specifically, thermal transfer printing entails generating heat using the elements contained within the thermal printhead. This heat causes thermal transfer ribbon (TTR) ink to melt, transferring it onto the print media to develop the designated image.

    Thermal transfer printers work efficiently through the use of sensors that indicate to the system when the TTR roll is out, which helps preserve the printhead. The resulting image features a high print quality that’s capable of withstanding more wear and tear compared to other printed images.

    Unlike direct thermal printers, thermal transfer printers work with many types of print media, such as polyester, paper, and polypropylene.

    Thermal Transfer Printer Advantages

    Thermal printing alone offers numerous benefits compared to other types of printing techniques. Generally, thermal printing offers increased media and application flexibility along with reduced maintenance and increased durability. Because of these benefits, applications often use thermal printing methods to print barcodes, particularly those used on tags and labels that experience levels of exposure to moisture, sunlight, and other harsh conditions.

    While both direct thermal and thermal transfer printing each offer similar benefits, thermal transfer printing comes with several key advantages, including:

    • Long-life image stability
    • The ability to produce crisp and high-definition graphics, text, and barcodes
    • Reliability
    • Minimal waste production
    • Low maintenance costs
    • A wide range of available print media options

    Limitations of Thermal Transfer Printing

    While thermal transfer printing offers a variety of advantages that make it ideal for many applications, it also comes with certain disadvantages compared to direct thermal printing and other methods. These limitations aren’t necessarily bad, but you should keep them in mind when considering this process:

    • Higher Supply Costs: Thermal transfer printers require ribbon for one-time use purposes, which results in higher supply costs compared to direct thermal printing. However, because these systems protect the thermal transfer printheads, these components last longer in thermal transfer printers.
    • Poor For Recycling: The thermal transfer ribbon is difficult to recycle.
    • Potentially wasteful. If an application requires minimal printing, this makes the single-pass thermal transfer ribbon more wasteful.
    • Compatibility: To produce the best possible print quality, both the print media and ribbon must be compatible with each other. If these elements are incompatible, the ribbon may melt onto the label and result in waste.
    • Monochrome Printing: Thermal transfer printing works best with monochrome printing applications, with little to no color applied.

    High-Quality Thermal Printing Supplies from Technicode, Inc.

    Thermal transfer printing is one of the most reliable printing processes available for printing labels, barcodes, and other materials. If you require some of the best thermal printing products, Technicode, Inc. is here to provide them. We supply many types of thermal transfer printing media that work with a wide variety of thermal printers, including printers from brands such as Datamax®, Zebra®, Monarch®, and many others. Our supplies include a selection of thermal transfer ribbons, thermal transfer labels and tags, and much more based on your thermal transfer printing needs. We also offer supplies for direct thermal printing applications.

    Regardless of what you need, we have some of the best products in the industry to provide consistently great results. To learn more about our product offerings and what we can do for you, contact us today.

  7. What Is a PCB Label?

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    Electronic component labels on circuit board

    Printed circuit board labels (PCB labels) help electronic equipment manufacturers keep track of PCBs during production, storage, and installation, ensuring they use the right components in their products. PCB labels are electronics labels that convey critical PCB information in an easily accessible format, including the PCB’s origin and lot numbers, test data, soldering temperature, and flux density.

    Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are critical elements of electronic devices and systems, from computers and cell phones to medical devices and industrial equipment. By mechanically supporting and electrically connecting electronic components, they ensure electrical power and signals can flow where needed for the operation. However, they must be properly designed and installed to ensure they work as intended, which is why electronic equipment manufacturers often utilize printed circuit board labels.

    The following article provides an overview of printed circuit board labels, highlighting why they are important, how to choose the right materials, and what solutions are available at Technicode, Inc.

    Why PCB Labeling Is Important

    PCBs labels are essential for traceability. They facilitate the tracking of PCBs throughout manufacturing, assembly, and distribution operations, ensuring the components proceed through the full production cycle, and the manufacturer integrates the right units into products. Overall, they can enhance a facility’s management capabilities and increase its production efficiency.

    How to Choose the Right Materials for PCB Labels

    Given their importance in electronic product manufacturing operations, PCB labels must be designed for long-term readability. The failure of a label means a PCB unit cannot be tracked through operations, which can result in manufacturing errors that waste time, money, and material. That’s why PCB labels are made from materials and with printing techniques capable of withstanding exposure to chemicals, extreme temperatures, wear, and other degrading conditions.
    PCB labels can be made from a variety of materials, each of which offers varying levels of durability. The right material depends on when they are applied and what conditions to which they are exposed.

    Applied at Start of Manufacturing Process

    If the PCB label will be applied at the beginning of the manufacturing process, polyimide labels are an appropriate option. Polyimide labels use substrates and adhesives that are resistant to high temperatures, which allows them to withstand exposure to the elevated temperatures experienced during reflow and wave soldering operations.

    Applied After Board Washing, Durability Expected

    If the PCB label will be applied after board washing operations and durability is expected, polyester labels are an appropriate option. Polyester labels use substrates and solvent acrylic adhesives that can withstand exposure to IPA cleaning chemicals.

    Applied After Board Washing, Durability Not Expected

    If the PCB label will be applied after board washing operations and durability is not expected, paper labels are an appropriate option. Paper labels use adhesives that may dry out, so they can fall off over time.

    PCB Label Solutions at Technicode

    At Technicode, we are a premier source for high-quality barcode labeling supplies. We offer a broad selection of products to meet the needs of our customers. Our PCB label offerings include:

    Duratran™ Gloss White Polyester Electronic Component Labels

    This topcoated white glossy polyimide film is coated with an aggressive permanent acrylic adhesive.

    Explore Catalog

    Duratran™ Gloss Polyimide Electronic Component Labels

    These film labels employ a permanent adhesive that’s designed for use in extremely high temperature environments. They are commonly used to label printed circuit boards.

    Explore Catalog

    Order PCB Labels From Technicode, Inc. Today

    Want to learn more about PCB labels? Ask the barcode label experts at Technicode! We’ve supplied premium thermal transfer printing media, including for PCB labels, for over two decades, so we can answer or address any questions or concerns you may have about these products. We can also provide standard or custom label solutions, with or without printing, for your applications. For additional information about our PCB labels and other quality products, contact us or request a quote today.

  8. What’s the Difference Between Thermal Transfer and Direct Thermal Printing?

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    Thermal Transfer Labels

    Thermal printing uses one of two processes: thermal transfer or direct thermal printing. Both methods are similar in that they use a thermal printhead to apply heat to a surface. However, direct thermal printing requires chemically treated, heat-sensitive material, and thermal transfer printing uses a heated ribbon to transfer images onto a wide range of materials.

    In both methods, a printhead containing small heating elements delivers heat to specific areas to produce an image. The resolution of the image is determined by the arrangement and number of heating elements, or dots per inch (DPI), in both methods. The higher the DPI, the better print resolution and quality produced. The main difference between the two methods is the printing surface, which we will detail further below.

    Thermal Transfer Printing

    To choose the best thermal printing technique for a given application, it’s necessary to have a basic understanding of the functionality of each method. Let’s take a closer look at how thermal transfer printing works and its unique advantages.

    How Does a Thermal Transfer Printer Work?

    Thermal transfer printing uses heating elements located in a printhead to deliver punctual heat to a passing ribbon. The ribbon melts onto a label forming the printed image. The label absorbs the ink to apply the image to the media. In this type of thermal printing, both the ribbon and label stock must be carefully chosen. The material and adhesive qualities of the label and ribbon must be well matched to achieve prints that are of the highest quality and durability. Choosing the correct materials allows the final product the ability to withstand chemical and UV exposure, extreme temperatures, robust cleaning procedures, and more.

    Advantages of Thermal Transfer Printing

    Thermal transfer printing achieves crisp, high-definition images, text, and graphics that boast maximum readability, scannability, and long-life image stability. Both single and batch printing can be performed while producing virtually no waste, and nearly any media can be printed. Thermal transfer printers are more durable than conventional printers affording your application more reliability and lower maintenance costs.

    Applications of Thermal Transfer Printing

    Thermal transfer printing is compatible with a virtually unlimited variety of media stock, making the applications for this printing method just as diverse and applicable to many industries. Some common applications include:

    • Circuit board tracking
    • Asset tagging
    • Inventory identification
    • Cold storage
    • Outdoor applications
    • Certification labels
    • Marking laboratory specimens

    Direct Thermal Printing

    In direct thermal printing, the image is applied directly to the material as opposed to a ribbon as in thermal transfer printing. The following sections will explain how direct thermal printing works, its key advantages, and its most suitable applications.

    How Does Direct Thermal Printing Work?

    In this technique, the heating elements in the printhead apply punctual heat directly to a label featuring a heat-sensitive coating. The chemicals in this coating cause a reaction that changes the label color from white to black in the areas where heat is applied. Direct thermal printers are simpler in design than thermal transfer printers because they do not require a ribbon.

    Advantages of Direct Thermal Printing

    This method produces images that scan well and can be used with recyclable materials. This method is ideal for applications in which the image does not need to last long, such as receipts or shipping labels. Direct thermal printers are easy to operate since they do not use ink or toner. They produce virtually no waste and have low, long-term maintenance costs as they are very durable and don’t have supplies that need to be replenished.

    Applications of Direct Thermal Printing

    Thermal Transfer vs. Direct Thermal Printing

    Click to Enlarge

    The labels used in direct thermal printing are extremely sensitive to heat, light, and other environmental conditions. As such, common applications include items typically used or stored indoors, such as:

    • Receipts
    • Tickets
    • Visitor identification for hospitals or schools
    • Shipping labels
    • Pharmacy Labels
    • Food Labeling Labels
    • Restaurant Order Labels
    • Barcodes

    In Need of a Thermal Transfer or Direct Thermal Labels?

    Technicode, Inc. has been a reliable source for thermal printing supplies for over 20 years. Our products are compatible with all the leading thermal printer brands and we also develop custom-sized labels, with or without printing. Thermal printing media by Technicode is proudly made in the USA and always ships quickly. If you have questions about which printing method is right for your application, please contact us. If you know which labels you need for your application, request a quote today to get started.