Direct Thermal Labels
Direct thermal labels offer high-quality barcode printing for numerous applications. Unlike thermal transfer printing, direct thermal printing does not require a thermal ribbon. Instead, the process uses heat to start a chemical reaction within the label itself. This reaction creates the printed image.
Why Use Direct Thermal Labels?
- Doesn’t require a ribbon
- Perfect for short term usage
- Works in Industrial, Desktop, and Mobile Printers
- Great for shipping labels
- Will fade overtime
- Only prints in black and white
- Can scuff and smudge
How Does Direct Thermal Work?
Unlike other types of labels, direct thermal printing does not require ink, toner, or a thermal ribbon. The only media that passes through the printer is the label paper itself. The heat of the print head, combined with the chemical composition of the thermal paper results in a chemical reaction that produces the desired image.
Overall, direct thermal printing is great for most barcode and identification needs. However, direct thermal prints do degrade over time, especially with exposure to light, heat, or reactive chemicals. In cases that require archival-quality, permanent identification, thermal transfer printing is the best choice. However, for barcodes that must remain readable for 6 months or less, direct thermal printing offers an ideal choice as far as efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness.
Types of Direct Thermal Labels Available
One of the things that differentiates Smith Corona is the wide range of labels that we keep in stock. In the family of direct thermal labels, we offer both roll and fanfold style labels. The majority of our labels are made of paper however, we do have some direct thermal labels that are made with polypropylene (BOPP). We also offer our direct thermal labels in different colors. If you can’t find a color you are looking for, please contact us.
We have three different types of roll labels that are always in stock: industrial (3” core), desktop (1” core), and mobile printer labels (.75” core). If you are unsure of which size roll your printer requires, please reach out to our customer service team to help you make the right decision.
In addition to stocking different roll sizes, we also offer our direct thermal labels in several different types of adhesive. For your standard, ambient temperature applications, our all-temp adhesive is suitable. If your environment goes below freezing, we would highly recommend purchasing our freezer grade direct thermal labels. Finally, we also offer a removable adhesive for those applications that require it.
Of all of our labels, easily the most popular is our 4x6 labels. The reason for that is our vertically integrated manufacturing and supply chain. The fact that we coat, slit, and cut our thermal paper in-house and make our own adhesive, allows us to offer you the lowest prices in the industry.
The majority of our customers use the large, industrial-sized (3” core) printers for their labels. They do this because those machines are designed to be run fast and frequently. However, there is a large base of companies that utilize desktop (1” core) printers for their direct thermal labels. They do this for two reasons: desktop printers are cheaper and they can run both roll and fanfold style labels. There is also a growing group of customers that are migrating to the mobile printers that use .75” core labels. These machines are great for companies that want their pickers to be able to print and apply labels on the go.
The most popular direct thermal printers are manufactured by Zebra. With that being said, many companies also print with Datamax, Sato, Printronix, Intermec, Monarch, TEC, Honeywell, and Dymo printers. If you are unsure of what label is compatible with your printer, feel free to contact our customer support team.
Why Smith Corona?
At Smith Corona, we practice efficient supply chain management and take advantage of economies of scale. That allows us to offer you the highest-quality direct thermal labels on the market—at incredibly low prices.
If you aren't sure which direct thermal label is right for your machine, give us a call at 800-875-7000 or email us for assistance.