Thermal Barcode Printers
Thermal barcode printer are available in five basic
types. These are
DESKTOP, COMMERCIAL, HEAVY-DUTY, MOBILE and ID CARD models. Not sure which barcode printer is
best for you??? CALL TODAY to discuss your project and let us
recommend the barcode printer scanner that is best suited for your bar code
RVB Systems Group is available for
on-site installation, training and system development involving any of these
thermal barcode printers.
What is a thermal barcode printer?
A thermal barcode printer prints labels using a heated
printhead. The printhead 'burns' an image directly onto a label (DIRECT
THERMAL) or transfers an image onto a label using a ribbon (THERMAL TRANSFER).
Thermal printers can also print and encode smart labels, which contain a radio
frequency identification (RFID) chip and antenna inlay embedded within the
What is the difference between thermal transfer and direct
There are two thermal printing methods used to print bar
codes: direct thermal and thermal transfer. Each method uses a
thermal printhead that applies heat to the surface being marked. Thermal
transfer printing uses a barcode printer ribbon to TRANSFER durable,
long-lasting images from a ribbon onto a label. Direct thermal printing does
not use a ribbon. This method prints DIRECTLY on a label. Thermal
transfer printers can accept a wider variety of materials and are usually used
for permanent or long-lasting labeling applications such as asset tags and
product labels. Direct thermal printers are usually used to produce labels
shipping labels, picking labels, receipts, and other common print jobs.
Thermal transfer printers can be used with or without a ribbon. Direct
thermal printers cannot use a ribbon.
Direct thermal labels are more expensive than thermal transfer
paper labels, but the cost of the ribbon should be considered when comparing
total costs. Thermal transfer technology can be used to print on a wide
range of materials, including paper, tag stock, wristbands, polyester,
polypropylene, and other synthetic materials.
How does a thermal transfer barcode printer work?
The thermal transfer process is accomplished in a thermal transfer printer
by applying a voltage to the printhead that consists of 200 to 600 resistive heating elements per linear inch of printhead (dpi-dots per inch). The resistive material is covered by a thin coating or "glaze" that protects
the heating elements from abrasion as the thermal transfer ribbon makes contact with it. The line of printhead elements is in direct pressure contact with the back
side of the thermal transfer ribbon. The ink side of the ribbon is in direct
contact with the receiver or label stock. This ribbon and receiver "sandwich"
is driven by a rubber-covered platen roller under the printhead print line
at a speed consistent with the heating cycle time of the printhead. Heat from the printing elements raises the ink to a temperature above its melting point. At this time the ink from the ribbon transfers from to the
receiver and adheres to it. Together, the ribbon and receiver continue to move from under the printhead
for a short distance before separation of ribbon and receiver occurs. It is at
this point that the image is formed.
When should I use thermal barcode printers instead
of any other type of printers?
When to use
thermal printers. (pdf file)
What type of barcodes can be printed by different types of
Thermal bar code label printers support multiple types of
barcode symbologies. General-purpose laser and inkjet printers and software
applications may not be able to natively print any bar codes or may not offer
multiple barcode symbologies. Printer specifications list symbologies that are
How do I create and print barcode labels?
Just as with like any other printer, you need to install a
printer driver in order to communicate with a thermal printer from a PC.
You may decide to use existing generic software packages such as MS Word or
you may decide to use a specialized software
package such as Bartender, Loftware, or any of the other dozen or so
barcode labeling packages on the market today. These packages make
designing and printing labels easy and are recommended for most labeling
projects. If you use one of these software packages, you should use the
printer driver provided with the software, not the driver provided with the
Still not sure which
type of barcode printer is best for
you??? CALL TODAY to discuss your project and let us
recommend the barcode label printer that is best suited for your labeling
Need to track inventory or fixed assets. Click
HERE to learn more about Track'Em, an Inventory and Fixed Asset
tracking application that can be used with any of the barcode scanners available
from RVB Systems Group.