What is a thermal printer?

There are many different kinds of printers that are used today. One of the most popular options for industrial settings is the thermal printer. These printers are commonly used for creating bar codes, safety labels, and other things. They are very efficient, which makes them one of the most efficient options for many companies. Take some time to learn more about what a thermal printer is, what they can be used for, and why they may be the perfect option for your printing needs.

Simple Yet Effective

Modern thermal printers use heat to apply colored material onto the paper, card stock, vinyl labels, or just about any other medium you may want to use. The heat will melt the ribbon and apply it to whatever is being printed on. While this may not sound like a very precise process, advancements in the technology over the years have made it so thermal printers can produce surprisingly detailed images.

While this option is not going to be used for creating high definition images, it is ideal for text, basic images, and other similar jobs. In many workplaces, these are the types of print jobs that are most often needed, which is why thermal printers are commonly used.

What to Use a Thermal Printer For

Thermal transfer printers can be used for just about any type of industrial print work. The full range of print capabilities will depend on what model printer you have purchased. Some base level models are very affordable but will only be able to print in black and white. Higher quality printers can print in multiple colors and give you many more options. The following are some of the most common things that this type of printer is used for:

  • Industrial Labels – Labels are used for many different things in industrial facilities. Having the ability to print custom labels on demand is very important for many companies.
  • Bar Codes – Bar codes are one of the most commonly used options for storing information about various products.
  • QR Codes – QR codes are a more advanced form of the bar code. The thermal transfer printer can print precision QR codes that will be able to be scanned by any device.
  • Shipping Labels – Shipping labels can be created and applied to packages so they can be delivered accurately anywhere in the world.
  • Safety Labels – Safety labels are one of the most important things that thermal printers are used for. You can print off text that conveys specific information as well as pictograms and other images to illustrate the safety topic.

Purchasing a good quality thermal printer is a great investment for any facility. They tend to last for years without any significant problems as long as they are properly taken care of. In addition, the thermal transfer ribbons tend to last longer than an ink supply from an ink jet printer or other similar device. This makes it much more affordable than other options, especially over the course of time.

Maintaining a Thermal Printer

As with any type of printer, thermal printers need to be properly maintained to ensure you get the best results. If you do not perform the regularly required maintenance, the quality of your printer will drop and eventually it will stop working entirely. Fortunately, the maintenance on this type of printer is relatively easy and will not take very long. The following are the most common things that you will have to do to keep your thermal printer working properly:

  • Cleaning – Cleaning the print head and other areas where the printing takes place is the most important thing you can do. This will remove any melted print ribbon that may cause streaking or clogging. This cleaning is done using isopropyl alcohol and cleaning pads designed for use in printers.
  • Quality Print Ribbons – Purchasing good quality thermal transfer ribbons will help to avoid uneven melting and poor application to the print medium. This will also help to avoid any jams or other problems from taking place.
  • Printing Environment – To the extent possible, you want to place your printer in an area that has low humidity and will not attract very much dust. This can be difficult in many industrial settings. Placing the printer in a closed office or other similar area can keep it functioning properly long into the future.

Is a Thermal Printer Right for You?

If you are running any type of business that needs to create custom labels or other things, an industrial thermal printer may be the perfect option. This is the type of technology that is used for most types of label printers. It has been in use for many years, and continues to be the standard for this type of print job today. Even if you already have a laser printer or an ink-jet printer, it will almost always make sense to have a thermal transfer printer available to create the custom labels and other items listed above.


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