LABEL PRINTERS : THE BIG DIFFERENCELabel printers the big difference
A label printer is a computer peripheral that prints on self-adhesive label material and sometimes on heavy paper or card-stock. Label printers are different from ordinary printers because they require special feed mechanisms to handle rolled stock, or tear sheet/fanfold label stock.
When printing on continuous label stock, there is a tendency for the print location to drift slightly from label to label. To ensure registration of the print area with the target media, label printers use a sensor that detects a gap, line, notch or perforation between the individual labels. This allows the printer to adjust the intake of label stock so that the print aligns correctly with the media and printer identical labels.
Label printers feature a wide variety of applications, including supply chain management, retail price marking, shipping and inventory labels, blood and laboratory specimen identification, and fixed asset management.
There are two types of thermal printers:
Direct Thermal - Uses a heat sensitive paper, similar to old fax paper. Direct thermal printing lasts six to twelve months before fading. When exposed to direct sunlight or chemical vapors, the label may have a much shorter life. Therefore, direct thermal labels are primarily used for applications of limited duration, such as shipping labels.
Thermal Transfer - Uses heat to transfer ink from ribbon onto the label for a permanent, long-lasting print label. Most thermal transfer printers are also capable of direct thermal printing if needed.
There are three different grades of ribbon for use with a thermal transfer printers:
Wax is the most popular with some degree of smudge resistance, and is suitable for matte and semi-gloss paper hi-performance labels. Wax / Resin is smudge resistant, suitable for semi-gloss paper and also some synthetic labels. Resin is chemical and scratch resistant, suitable for synthetic coated labels.