What are common techniques for the printing of variable data?

Thermal Transfer Printing and direct thermal printing are two common techniques for the printing of variable data such as barcodes and batch information.

Both printers use a heated print-head to create the image. These print-heads consist of many tiny elements or dots that heat up individually and shape the image.

Thermal Transfer Printing vs Direct Transfer Printing

How does Thermal Transfer Printing differ in technique from direct transfer printing?

Thermal transfer printers use ink ribbons. Here, the print-head uses heat to transfer the ink from the ribbon and merge it with the substrate such as a label material. Whereas direct thermal printers use only a special heat-sensitive label material. In this case, the print-head uses heat to activate the thermal label material and to change the colour from white to black.

When are thermal transfer printers most commonly used?

Thermal transfer printers are often used for long-lasting prints that must be durable against heat, chemical abrasion, and other exposures. For example on car parts, chemical containers, and longer logistical chains.

Thermal Transfer Printing technology

When are direct thermal printers most commonly used?

Direct thermal printers are somewhat easier to operate. In general, they are used for information that only needs to be available for a shorter period such as receipts and shorter logistical chains. That is because under the influence of heat and light, the treated material will continue to darken and the printed information to fade.

Direct Thermal Printing

What are the main advantages of each printing technologies?

Both techniques have their own additional advantages. In a nutshell, direct thermal printing can help you with short shelf-life applications, whereas Thermal Transfer Printing is the preferred technique for long-lasting prints.

Thermal Transfer Printing vs Direct Transfer Printing Overview

Do you have any additional questions? Or wonder if Thermal Transfer Printing is the best choice for your needs? We are here to help!