Direct Thermal Labels

Product Features

  • Supplied plain or part printed
  • On rolls, custom sizes
  • Samples available on request

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Direct thermal printing is an old technology originally designed for low cost copiers and fax machines. It has since been transformed into a highly successful technology for bar coding. Direct Thermal Labels are suitable for address labels and for perishable products – i.e. those items that are in the distribution chain for a limited time. This is due to the fact that the direct thermal paper (rather like old fax paper) can discolour with time, and UV radiation. Unprotected, non-top coated, ""economy"" grades are designed for short term labelling applications, where there is no likelihood of label surface activation by scuffing, or image contamination by water, grease, fats and oils, or by plasticiser migration from plastic packaging. Protected thermal papers have a top coating to protect the thermal coating from scuffing and thermal images from contamination from above. Some of these materials are available with a barrier coating between the base paper and the adhesive, to minimise damage to thermal images from below, should the label be adhered to a problem surface. Premium, top coated and barrier coated grades were previously the only alternative to economy thermal products but are now rarely used as they are over specified for most applications. The thermal coating has additional protective properties, which can allow a greater shelf life and slightly better insulation from contaminants. Plastic, top and barrier coated, direct thermal material offers the best option for durability and strength, but if longer term labelling is needed, thermal transfer printed labels must be specified to ensure that the printed images are secure and barcodes will scan long term. The costs of running Direct Thermal / Thermal Transfer Labels are very similar. With Thermal Transfer Labels, you require plain white paper (or polyester etc) labels together with the black thermal transfer ribbon. Direct Thermal Labels require no transfer ribbon but the labels themselves are more expensive due to their chemical coating. DT labels are also more abrasive and will wear your print head out quicker. As well as supplying bespoke Direct Thermal labels (special sizes, multi part label sets, pre-print etc), we also supply a massive stock range of on roll sizes.