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What is the difference between direct thermal and thermal transfer printers?

What is the difference between direct thermal and thermal transfer printers?

Printing is one of the most important components of a Barcoding system. Generally, there are two types of printers available in the market: Direct Thermal printers and Thermal Transfer printers. Both the printers have their technology and usage.

In this blog, we have mentioned differences between them. This article may help you to decide the best one for you.


Difference Between Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Printer

Technology

Direct Thermal Printer

Thermal Transfer Printer

The print head assembly is in direct contact with the surface of the printing material (paper), such as a label, ticket, or receipt. When the heated dots hit the specially coated printing paper, the paper reacts to the heat from the printer elements by turning black.

                 

Thermal transfer barcode and label printing technology give greater media flexibility by using a resin or wax ribbon. The printhead transfers text and images onto the media by selectively heating and cooling the ribbon, which fuses to the media when heated.

 

Costing

Direct Thermal Printer

Thermal Transfer Printer

In comparison to most other print technologies, direct thermal printers are easier to use and less expensive than thermal transfer printers because there is no ink, toner, or ribbon to track or replace.

Long-term maintenance expenses remain cheap because there are no supplies other than what has to be printed that need to be replaced.

               

Compared to direct thermal printers, supply costs for thermal transfer printers are higher since the ribbon is required, but thermal transfer print heads live longer.

 

Application and Output

Direct Thermal Printer

Thermal Transfer Printer

The image is prone to fading over time, especially if exposed to sunshine or heat. Since the printing medium (often a paper roll) dictates the colour, it can only print in one colour. Direct thermal printing is not the best option for long-term use, although it may provide a long enough lifetime for many purposes. For applications like shipping labels, receipts, tickets, and labels for perishable commodities where a label should survive less than six months, direct thermal is typically the best option.

The printed labels produced using thermal transfer technology are the most durable ones now on the market because the image cannot be removed and is also resistant to heat and moisture. The ribbon and printer resolution influence the colour and density of the printed image.

               

 

Maintenance and Life

Direct Thermal Printer

Thermal Transfer Printer

It is crucial to stress that this method requires no additional ink or toner. Because only the roll of paper needs to be changed when it runs out and no additional ink, toner, or new cartridges are required, direct thermal printers have lower "maintenance" expenses (refill or replacement) for paper and ink than other kinds of printers.

The printing method of this printer requires various resources like the ribbon which needs to be replaced after a particular point in time. Also, this technology is more complex than the direct thermal printer which demands a maintenance check.

 

Environmental affect

Direct Thermal Printer

Thermal Transfer Printer

The utilisation of thermal ribbons and the waste they produce are both eliminated by direct thermal technology.

               

Thermal ribbon uses a poly-based carrier that can leave carbon footprints because it is produced from products of crude oil. Sustainability and reduced carbon footprints are frequently integrated into the corporate world.


  • Last updated on Sep 08, 2022