Thermal Transfer vs Direct Thermal


What are the differences between Direct Thermal printing and Thermal Transfer printing?


In the simplest terms, Thermal Transfer printing utilises a thermal ribbon and Direct Thermal printing does not. In Thermal Transfer, the thermal printhead elements (the dots) heat the backside of a thermal transfer ribbon to melt and transfer the compounds on the front side of the ribbon to the label material, thus creating the printed image.

In Direct Thermal, a heat-sensitive label material is required. The printhead elements come into direct contact with the heat-sensitive material where the heat from the elements causes a colour change in the material to create the printed image.

Knowing the difference between Thermal Transfer printing and Direct Thermal printing is only the first step in evaluating the two alternative technologies for use in a company’s label printing application.

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