Typical Thermal Industrial Printing Applications
In this series of posts we will review our thermal bar code printer product family and typical industrial printing applications. Product Marketing Director Andy Scherz goes in depth on how thermal bar code printers work. In addition to explaining key differences between direct thermal and thermal transfer technology. Andy also explains what applications are more appropriate for thermal resin ribbons or thermal wax ribbons and which applications are more appropriate for thermal transfer bar code printers.
So what do we use thermal printers for? We use thermal printers for printing labels, and almost all the labels you're going to see from a thermal printer always have these funny little bars called barcodes, okay. So we in fact a lot of time call it a thermal printer, but a lot of the people in the industry are actually gonna call it a barcode printer. So the nickname for these printers more commonly is barcode printer.
Shipping, Logistics, Compliance Labels
And so you see these shipping labels, you see these things on all kinds of boxes, you get anything with UPS from Amazon it's gonna come with these labels on it. A very popular application normally done with thermal transfer.
Then you have chemical labels okay, these are labels that go on drums. usually what they'll do is they'll have some part of it will be preprinted and they add variable stuff like when it was manufactured and dates and things. These are normally printed on a much much more durable substrate, okay because it's going to go on a drum and that drum is going to slosh around and a bunch of toxic chemicals are gonna spill out of the top and their gonna try to wash the label out, so they have to have extremely durable labels. So thermal transfer is uniquely suited because you can print on basically almost a plastic kind of paper, paper plastic kind of media with a really durable image there.
These guys I'm sure you've all seen them around when you go clothing shopping, they are clothing tags okay. And these labels tend to be narrower, okay, maybe a little smaller and printed on thick card stock. Kind of like what I was talking about with the line printer, these are not necessarily general purpose printers that you see at home that you bought from Fry's, some little ink jet thing. These things have to be able to handle plastics, thin paper, papers with maybe little perforations in them where labels tear off. So it has to have really robust paper handling. Paper handling is very important in this class products.
Commercial Receipts, Tickets
And then of course you have tickets. Now a lot of this stuff, a lot of these things here would be done by direct thermal, especially if you have a little kiosk in a liquor store where you're going to buy a lottery ticket, they don't want to have a lot of maintenance items so they'll leave the ribbons out of there.
Product Asset Tracking Labels
And then of course there's a lot of permanent tagging. In fact, if you look at, I'm going to get it wrong it's either BMW or Porsche, but I think it's BMW. All the labels on the car are manufactured using Printronix thermal transfer printers. Okay, they use the thermal transfer technology because it makes a really durable image, and if you can imagine it's going to sit under the hood of a car for 10 years, 20 years and you're gonna get oil and grease and those kinds of things. So thermal transfer is really unique for producing these super durable labels.
For more information on Printronix thermal transfer and direct thermal bar code printing solutions, visit our thermal printer page on our web site. For more information on thermal transfer resin ribbons more information can be found on ours printer supplies page.