Thermal Printing

Derksen Co. supplies thermal printing equipment that can suit the needs of a variety of business models. Focusing on both thermal direct and thermal transfer printer sales, Derksen Co. provides thermal print solutions that can be tailored to fit any need. To find out what thermal printing is and how it can work for your business, contact us at Derksen Co.

 Thermal Print Equipment

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What is Thermal Printing?

Businesses large and small utilize all types of printing services. Whether printing barcodes, shipping labels, or receipts, all organizations rely on printing software and equipment to bring their products to market or to sell their services. Thermal transfer and thermal direct printing techniques are two different printing approaches that can suit a variety of business needs. But, what is thermal printing? Read on to find out more about this adaptable printing technology.

Thermal Transfer and Thermal Direct

The “thermal” in the name indicates its association with heat. Thermal printing is a type of printing that uses heat to activate or transfer pigments. Instead of spraying ink droplets onto a substrate, as is the case in Inkjet printing, thermal transfer and thermal direct printing use a ribbon or chemically-treated paper to create an image on the substrate surface. 

How does Thermal Direct Printing Work?

Thermal direct printing works by using a chemically-treated paper that darkens when it is heated by a thermal printing head. There are no separate ribbons, inks, toners, or supplies needed with this type of printing. The most common application for thermal direct printing is receipt printing. This type of printing technology is also suitable for shipping labels and a variety of other printing jobs like ticket printing, wristband identification printing, and more.

How does Thermal Transfer Printing Work?

Thermal transfer printing uses a thermal print head to transfer ink from a ribbon to a substrate. The combination of heat and pressure bonds the ribbon to the substrate, producing an image. This type of printing produces permanent printing, meaning it can be used in situations where durability is a concern. Its applications include barcode printing, wristbands and asset tags, various labels, tickets, and more.

Which Type of Thermal Printing is Best?

There is no definitive answer to which thermal printing application is best. A variety of variables and other considerations must be taken into account when choosing a printing route. For example, companies will have to determine the level of durability necessary in their print production as well as the cost to produce their printed products.

Thermal images may fade over time. Heat and light exposure, as well as other external variables, may affect the life of the printed media. For this reason, direct thermal printing is not advised for long-term lifetime products or in cases where high durability is necessary.  Thermal transfer printing can produce much more durable products and can work with a variety of different media and materials, making it more versatile.

Thermal direct is the less expensive option when it comes to thermal printing. As there is no ribbon, ink, plates, or other accessory equipment necessary, this printing option is cheaper than thermal transfer printing. Though thermal transfer presents more equipment and supply costs, its abilities may outweigh the simplicity and economy of thermal direct.

Thermal Printers

Here at Derksen Co. we stock Zebra, Toshiba, Datamax, and Sato thermal printers as well as various supplies you’ll need to keep your thermal printing press up and running. If you would like more information about what thermal printing is and how it can work for your business operations, contact us at 920-685-4000 or email us at You can reach a sales representative by reaching out via our inquiries page, our contact us page, or by filling out the form below! Be sure to keep up with industry and Derksen Co. news by signing up for our newsletter!

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