Thermal-transfer and direct-thermal label printers offer high-density printing for a variety of applications. Label printers can be compact, economical models for low-volume printing, or as specially designed models for more high-performance applications. One of the major uses of label printers is for printing bar-codes for inventory and retail merchandising.

Thermal transfer label printing of barcodes is a staple of today’s industry. Barcode printers generally come in fixed sizes of 4, 6, 8 inches wide. Although a number of manufacturers have tried different sizes in the past, most have standardized on these sizes. The main application for these printers is to produce barcode labels for shipping and product identification. Barcode printers use a fixed width thermal print head; pressing onto a paper or plastic label, over a driven rubber roller called a platen. Between the print head and the label is sandwiched a very thin thermal transfer ribbon which is a polyester film which has been coated on the label side with a wax, wax-resin or pure resin "ink". The ribbon is spooled onto reels up to 625 meters long and is driven through the printing mechanism in sync with the labels, at speeds of up to 12 inches per second, although 6 inches per second is normal for most applications

Bar Code Printers are available for many uses. When choosing a printer, some important features to consider are:

Resolution - For thermal and thermal transfer printing, you can get 200, 300, and even 600 dots per inch

Durability - Will you print five labels per day or 10,000 per day? It makes a big difference

Label Size - Smaller printers can only print small labels. Large printers tend to be more expensive and the printheads are larger too.

Connection type to your system - COM or LPT or USB.

Environmental Conditions - Metal or high impact plastic cases are available.

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