Printer and Printing Types
Labels aren't merely peel and stick pieces of paper, there are different types of labels used for different purposes. The type of printing used on the label is based on the purpose of the label.
The main types of printing used on labels are:
Here are the differences in printing types you need to know before you select a variety of labels for your business.
Laser printing is done with printers that use toner rather than ink to produce their product. A laser printer utilizes heat to bind powder that has been electrically charged onto the fibers of the paper on which it is printed. Because the image is fused onto the paper, there is no need to let it dry before touching it, such as with ink printers. There is no risk of accidentally smearing the image before it dries by touching it too soon or rubbing it against some other object while the ink is still wet. There is no ink, and the image is dry from the moment it exits the printer.
Here are the benefits to laser printing:
- Laser toner doesn't need to be replaced as often as ink cartridges
- Laser printers can print crisp, clear labels on more types of paper than ink printers
- Laser printers can print on gloss or fluorescent labels
One consideration with laser printing is that it has a larger up-front cost than ink printing, because laser printers are more expensive than ink printers.
Ink printers spray ink onto label paper, usually in jets, hence the common term "ink jet printer." The ink must be given some time to dry before it can be touched, so the ink will not smear. It is important to use high quality paper when printing with ink. Low quality paper is likely to cause lower quality images by the paper absorbing too much of the ink, leading to a "feathering" effect on the image.
Here are the benefits to ink printing:
- Labels with a waxy coat are perfect for using ink printing.
- Images will be sharp and clear Dry more quickly on the wax
- Very smooth paper is also good to use with ink printers
- Round and pre-printed label templates are excellent for ink printing
- Ink printing is the cheapest type of printing
Thermal printing is used a lot more nowadays than in the past. It is the newest type of printing, and it is very durable. In fact, thermal printing is used on all kinds of industrial labels, such as factory equipment, electronics, and all types of household goods. They are ideal for using on equipment that will be exposed to a certain amount of heat. However, the type of heat a thermal label can be subjected to depends on its printing process.
There are two types of thermal labels:
- Direct thermal labels
- Thermal transfer labels
Direct thermal labels are usually made out of foil or wafer thin plastic materials.” with “Direct thermal labels are available in a variety of materials including paper, plastic and foil.The thermal printer that does direct thermal printing has a heating element in it that is shaped like the letters, images, words, or emblems to be printed. These labels cannot be used if they will be exposed to other heat sources other than the printer, as the images will fade. However, they are perfect for being used in cold environments, and will stay clear, crisp, and bright for a long time in such conditions.
Thermal transfer printing can be used to produce labels that will be subjected to heat sources other than the printer. This type of printing can be used in industrial equipment of all kinds. Some medical equipment also uses thermal transfer printing on its labels. There is a special thermal label printer that produces these heat resistant labels, and uses thermal ribbons in producing the images.
The adhesive will need to match the application as well.
The cost of both types of thermal printing is very comparable. Different machines are used to produce these labels, but the cost of the machines are also comparable.
Whether a label is needed for a cold or hot use, thermal printing will hold up for much longer periods of time than ink or laser printing.
Which Type of Printing Do I Need?
Depending on your product and industry, the type of label you may need will vary. At United Ad Label we offer many types of labels for different industries including healthcare, veterinary, manufacturing & office, as well as custom labels.
We also have experts standing by to assist you in your requirements and purchases. With over 50 years of experience across multiple verticals, United Ad Label is here to assist and give you the best label purchasing experience possible.