Selecting the Right Thermal Paper

Mobile computers offer flexibility for the user by bringing computing power to where it is needed. Printing labels, tags, or invoices with a mobile printer prevents errors and streamlines the labeling task.

But the benefits of mobile printing are lost if the wrong thermal material is used for printing. That is why it’s so important to select the right print material for your specific needs.

Since thermal material (also called media) is heat sensitive, factors like heat, light, and environmental conditions will affect performance and longevity. The range of thermal papers, synthetic stocks, and coatings affect how your printed labels, receipts, or other documents will resist fading or degradation from your environment.

Consider the following factors when selecting a thermal material for your mobile printer:

  • Heat – printing can usually remain readable at temperatures below 60 degrees Celcius. If extreme heat is a factor, you would need thermal media formulated to withstand the higher temperatures.
  • Moisture – rain, condensation, or humidity can create performance and readability problems. Some materials and coatings give added protection from such elements. If more protection from moisture is necessary, then you would need synthetic materials, like a polypropylene film, for a more waterproof solution.
  • Thickness – thicker materials are a bit more durable, but a thicker material means less material on the roll, and less printer output. So balance your need for thicker media with the number of documents that can be printed per roll.
  • Topcoating – a topcoat gives an added layer of protection for the print. There are a range of coatings to provide protection against a variety of materials. Some coatings protect the print from water or solvents, others provide protection from exposure to a particular type of lighting, or protection from environmental conditions like humidity. You may not need any type of topcoating at all.

You should also consider if thermal media pre-printed with your company logo, images, or other text is a good fit. Pre-printed media gives your documents a professional look and reduces your printer’s workload, saving battery life and printer wear-and-tear. Simply load the pre-printed roll into your printer, and print only the variable data that is needed. You can read more about variable data on pre-printed labels here.

Carefully considering your application and environment is key when selecting the proper thermal material for your printer. Not only will you get the print quality and durability you need, you will also avoid the costs of choosing materials that are wrong for the job.

Do you have a requirement for a specific type of print material? Are your labels, tags, or receipts not standing up to the task? Call us today to discuss your requirements.



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