Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thermal Transfer Printing: The Hot Choice for High-Quality Bar Codes & Labels

Thermal transfer printers are available in
a number of portable & desktop configurations.
While laser printers and ink jets may dominate home and office applications, thermal transfer printing is the top choice for bar code and label printing in industrial, commercial, and laboratory settings. Thermal transfer technology allows for clear, high-density lines and durable, long-lasting printouts suitable for use in extreme conditions.

Thermal transfer printing technology has been around for many years and offers a number of advantages over its laser and ink jet alternatives. Let's take a look at how thermal transfer works.

The right combination of ribbons & labels
will guarantee a high-quality result.


In thermal transfer printers, the print head heats up and as the ribbon and material (substrate) come in contact with it the heat melts the ribbon ink, thereby transferring the ink to the material. This process allows for fast printing, precise lines, durable results (depending on materials used), and less wear and tear on the print head compared to other technologies (e.g., ink jet or laser).

Thermal transfer ribbon ink is usually composed of wax, resin, or a wax/resin combination. Wax ribbons are more suitable for shorter-term applications due to their low cost and low durability. Resin ribbons are the high-quality choice for long-lasting results. Using the right combination of ribbon and label will provide the highest quality print.


Thermal transfer printers are particularly well-suited for bar code printing. Designed to print accurate, high-quality images, their edge definition allows for the exact widths needed for precise bar code scanning.

Thermal transfer labels provide durability in extreme conditions.
They also feature the ability to print on a variety of materials, such as paper, polypropylene, and polyester. It is this combination of materials and technology that allows thermal transfer printers to create clear, long-lasting labels applicable for use in permanent identification, inventory, certification, laboratory environments, heat shrink, cold/freezer storage, and outdoor/extreme conditions.


While ink jet and laser printers may have pluses in some application areas (e.g., posters, office documents, or high-quality photos), their minuses, particularly in bar code and label printing, make thermal transfer printers the best choice for most industrial/commercial/laboratory tasks. Ink jets and laser printers can't match the combination of speed and quality of thermal printing, their printers and materials are often more expensive, they cannot provide the long-lasting print results of thermal transfer technology, and they have more frequent maintenance requirements.


QSource.com offers an extensive selection of portable and desktop/industrial thermal transfer printers, ribbons, labels, and accessories from Brady Worldwide (Brady). With choices ranging from the ultra-portable Brady BMP21 Label Printer (a handheld, quick-printing, all-in-one label maker) to the BMP71 Portable Thermal Label Printer (a versatile portable printer with more than 400 different label options) to the high-performance IP600 Thermal Transfer Label Printer (featuring Brady's Smart Cell technology, which allows the printer, materials, and ribbon to communicate with each other), you're sure to find the thermal transfer solutions to meet your exact needs.

For more information about, or to place an order for, Brady Thermal Transfer Printers please visit QSource.com. You can also give us a call at 800-966-6020 or contact us via email.

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