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We do a lot of label printing at my work, all using thermal transfer label printing. The ribbon is a hassle to deal with and i'm convinced that using direct thermal labels would be a win/win for convenience and cost savings. I'm having trouble convincing my boss of this though. Am i wrong?

(I don't know if this is the best forum so excuse me if off target.)


Just to clarify, i'm more concerned with cost. Are we going to save money if we go this route? We print thousands of labels every day. Our printers are capable of both type of printing and either style should be sufficient for our purposes.

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I've found printing with direct thermal is fine for in-house projects. They do last a long time and barcodes are still scannable after years of storage. They do burn in direct sunlight and they do loose contrast over time, though. So after a year they won't look as pretty as thermal transfer. If you're making labels that customers are going to look at thermal transfer is cleaner.

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From this article : "Direct Thermal vs. Thermal Transfer Label Printers":

To help decide whether to select a direct thermal printer or thermal transfer printer (or whether you should use thermal transfer or direct thermal labels), consider the following questions:

  • Will you ever need to print labels in colors other than black?
  • Do the labels need to be scanned or have a shelf-life of over 1 year?
  • Will you be printing high density bar codes (i.e. limited space)?
  • Will the labels be subjected to heat or sunlight?
  • Will you be printing on a variety of different substrates (i.e. papers, films and foils)?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions then you should consider going thermal transfer rather then direct thermal.

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Yeah - i saw this. I know that direct thermal would work fine for our purposes. What i don't know is if we'd save money. – Josh Sep 25 '09 at 20:34

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