What is the difference and what will best meet your needs?
There are two types of barcode printing technology.
Direct thermal – no ribbon and Thermal Transfer – with a ribbon.
Both technologies have their benefits and faults.
Direct Thermal Technology are for those situations where the label information only needs to be seen or used for a short period of time. The label is manufactured with a special chemical and the image heats on to the label turning the image black. This label can be more expensive than a thermal transfer labels but you don’t have the cost of a ribbon. The down side to this process is the label is heat and light sensitive. If you have a retail store and want to do shelf labeling this is not the best solution for you. The labels – especially if you have florescent lighting will fade out and look old and dingy.
Thermal Transfer Technology uses a ribbon and transfers the ink, your image/barcode/content to the label. The crisp image will last years and is great for serial number, lot number, dates and situations where you will not be changing the data often or need a permanent image. It works in all environments and is not effected by light or heat.
When purchasing a printer you want to first examine what type of label you will need. How many labels you will print a day and where the printer will be located.
The least expensive printers are direct thermal desktop printers these printers will print direct thermal Only. The desktop Thermal Transfer printers have the added option to print thermal transfer or in direct thermal mode by switching the settings in the print driver or printer. This is the best option if you have various label needs or want to keep your options open for future projects.
For additional informatiion or prices on labels, ribbons, printers, rewinders, and software call The Barcode Lady 800-827-9695.