Direct thermal VS thermal transfer printer
Both types of thermal bar code label printers offer advantages and disadvantages during the printing process. In contrast to most laser printers, both direct thermal and thermal transfer printers easily switch between batch and single-label printing without much waste.
Direct thermal printers provide the following benefits:
✓ Easy to use and require no additional supplies like ink, toner, or ribbon.
✓ Sharp bar code print quality that's easily read,
✓ Low long-term maintenance costs and total cost of ownership (TCO).
✓ More durable than dot-matrix or laser printers, meaning that they operate reliably in both industrial and office environments.
The chief drawback of direct thermal bar code label printers is sensitivity to environmental conditions, especially heat and light. The paper also remains chemically active after the printing process is finished, often requiring a top coat that resists UV light exposure, chemicals, and surface abrasions.
Thermal transfer printers offer many of the same benefits as direct thermal technology, including these:
✓ Produces long life image stability
✓ Thermal transfer technology prints on a wide range of media stock.
✓ Very durable, allowing reliable operation in industrial AND office applications.
Supply costs are higher for thermal transfer printers, as they require replacement ribbons. In many cases the ribbons are not recyclable like those of other printer types. And the printer media and the ribbon must be compatible to ensure optimal print quality, otherwise heat from the print head could possible melt the ribbon onto the label, ruining the bar code labels and causing potential internal problems with the printer.