Thermal Roll Label Guide

There are two main types of thermal labels of which we supply from stock. The labels are boxed with five rolls per box and this type of label we also stock in a range of different sizes. The core size supplied as standard with the thermal labels is 44mm diameter but the other sizes available include 76mm, 38mm and 25mm diameter. Same day despatch is available across the range for labels supplied on the 44mm diameter core. For the alternative core size options please allow 3 to 4 days delivery.

Thermal Roll Label Guide
Thermal Roll Label Guide

Direct Thermal Labels – DOES NOT REQUIRE a Ribbon to Print

This type of label is a coated paper material with special qualities. When heat is applied the coating turns black. If you are using a printer that DOES NOT use a print ribbon then you will need this type of label. The direct thermal labels are typically not used for long term applications as with time images may fade or the label may darken depending on the conditions the label is kept in. Due to the fact that there is no ribbon, direct thermal printers can be more cost effective to operate than other printing methods. Direct thermal labels have more than enough durability for shorter term applications and are particularly suited for such uses as shipping labels. If a label will be used over an extended period of time or the application will be in extreme conditions, then our thermal transfer label range would be the better option.

Thermal Roll Label Guide

Thermal Transfer Roll Labels – REQUIRES a Ribbon to Print

If you are using a printer that DOES use a print ribbon then you will need this type of label. The thermal transfer labels can provide a clear image that is durable which makes it ideal for such applications as complex barcodes which require high definition for reading and a long lifespan. Thermal ribbons are available in different colours so you don’t have to just print in black.

Check Which Type of Label the Printer Uses

In order to buy the right labels the first step is to establish which type of thermal labels you require. Thermal printers are designed to print either direct thermal or thermal transfer labels but some models can print both types. The easiest way to determine which type of label you require is to read the machine handbook. In the absence of this, consider if you currently use a printer ribbon to print or not.

If you don’t use a printer ribbon then you will need direct thermal labels.
If you use a printer ribbon then you will need thermal transfer labels.

Thermal Transfer – Types of Ribbons
Wax Ribbons are the most inexpensive type of ribbons but are the lowest grade used for printing. While wax is widely used for general labelling there is an increased chance that they will smudge and typically has short term usage. Wax is compatible with matt or semi-gloss paper labels making it compatible with our range of stock roll labels. Used for indoor applications.

Wax Resin is the next grade up from wax. This is a mixture of both wax and resin which makes print more smudge resistant and has more longevity for its application. Wax Resin is compatible with matt or semi-gloss paper labels making it compatible with our range of stock roll labels.

Resin ribbons are the highest grade of ribbons. While resin has a high resistance to smudging and has a long life span it is also resistant to moisture, extreme temperatures and chemicals. Typically a higher grade synthetic label is used to print resin as the labels can be used in harsher environments.

Note: Wax or Wax Resin Ribbons are suitable for most applications. We can also supply the ribbons. Please contact us for a quotation.

Core Diameter Size – Diameter Ranges (see fig 1 [C])

In order for any roll labels to be compatible with a printer they will need to meet the specifications for diameter size of the inner roll core. Put simply the core is the hollow tube that the labels are then wound around to form the rolls. A printer will either only take one diameter core size or accept a range of sizes. If you don’t have a sample roll to measure what you are currently using then you can check the specification sheet for your printer; usually found at the back of your printer manual. If you don’t have access to the manual then a search of the specifications online by your printer model number should bring up the details you require. The popular core size options include 25mm, 38mm, 44mm and 76mm diameter all of which is available from our range of roll labels.

Thermal Roll Label Guide

Roll Width – Maximum Roll Width

The other consideration is to make sure that the width of the rolls do not exceed the maximum width that the printer will accept. Again, if you are unsure then this will be detailed in the specification sheet for your printer.
One important point to remember is that a label sits on a backing material and it is important to ensure you have accounted for the width of the backing. Different suppliers may have slightly different widths of backing sheets. If you order the same width of label regularly, be aware that the width of the backing sheet may vary from supplier to supplier.

Roll Diameter – Maximum Outside Diameter

Another critical measurement is the outside diameter of the roll. Any specification sheet for a given printer model should give the maximum outside diameter of a roll that the printer can take. In some cases a client may have a preference for the number of labels per roll but in terms of printer compatibility that number doesn’t matter. However, if there are too many on a roll it will not fit into the printer.

If you are using thermal transfer labels please let us know what the make and model is of the printer you will be using and we can quote on the ribbons. Our ribbon calculator excel spreadsheet can assist in working out the number of ribbons you require.