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What is the difference between thermal and thermal transfer printing?

When choosing a label printer, you will certainly have to choose a thermal and thermal transfer printer. Both have similar functionality and at first glance give the same effect, while choosing the right technology can have a very large impact on the entire label creation process.

Thermal printers have a head containing a matrix of needles, which is pressed against the paper by a spring. The label itself is covered with a substance with thermoactive properties, which oxidizes under the action of the hot head, and darker traces are left on the paper in the appropriate places. This is a property by which thermal printers can only print in monochrome.

Thermal transfer printers, in turn, use two materials necessary for printing - a label and a thermal transfer ribbon, also known as ribbon. The printing itself is also done with the use of a heated head, while in this case the ink ribbon coating is melted and transferred under pressure to the printed material. The color of the printout depends on the color of the ribbon used - the manufacturers' offers are dominated by classic black ribbons, but you can also find other colors such as red, blue, etc.

The differences do not end with the printing technology. First of all, thermal transfer printing is more durable - thermal printing has a tendency to disappear when exposed to solar radiation or high temperature, and is also much more sensitive to abrasions.

When choosing a printer in terms of the type of printout, you should take into account not only the price of the device itself, but also its subsequent operation. While the prices of the versions of one printer available on the market do not differ significantly, it should be borne in mind that thermal transfer labels can be several percent more expensive than thermal labels, and the cost of the necessary ribbon in thermal printers should also be added. it simply isn't. In terms of costs, thermal printers also benefit from ease of use, as well as the time needed to replace and install new consumables.

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