Direct thermal labels are an indispensable tool in various printing industries, from retail and logistics to healthcare and manufacturing. These labels are cost-effective and practical, offering a solutions-targeted approach to printing information, barcode and other valuable data on demand. But are they durable? Let’s find out!

Factors that Impact the Durability of Direct Thermal Labels

It is vital to acclimatise yourself to the durability and shelf life of direct thermal labels to ensure the quality and legibility of printed data. Several factors influence the longevity of these labels, including :

1. Material Quality — the primary factor that determines the durability of direct thermal labels is the Quality of the label material. Top-tier thermal labels are generally crafted from high-quality thermal paper and feature a protective coating that shields the label from destructive elements. This coating forms a solid resistance against moisture, oil, UV exposure and other external elements. Per contra, lower-grade labels made with substandard materials may fade or degrade quickly, impacting the legibility of printed products.

2.Environment — where you use a direct thermal label directly affects the product’s longevity. Labels used in areas with harsh environmental conditions such as high humidity, extreme temperatures or direct sunlight tend to fade and degrade quickly. It is imperative to use weather-proof or waterproof labels in these environments. Better still, it would be best if you considered thermal transfer labels. These types of labels can tolerate extreme conditions compared to direct thermal labels.

3.Thermal Printer — another crucial factor that influences the lifespan of direct thermal labels is the printer type and settings deployed. Some thermal printers emit substantial heat during the printing process, which can quicken the darkening of the thermal paper. Also, extremely high print settings, such as print speed and heat intensity, can overexpose the labels, causing premature darkening. As such, it is essential to strike a balance between print quality and label longevity for lifespan optimisation.

Tips to Maximise the Lifespan of Direct Thermal Labels

Direct thermal labels are generally designed for short-term use, and their durability varies according to the abovementioned factors. For long-term applications, it is advisable to use thermal transfer labels. Nonetheless, you can maximise the lifespan of these labels by adopting the following tips :

Opt for Top-grade Labels: Invest in high-quality thermal labels crafted with premium paper and a non-toxic protective coating to guard against external elements. CDM Labels offers an exclusive selection of these types of labels.

Don’t Take Storage Lightly: Proper storage and handling can prevent untimely ageing and preserve the Quality of the label. That said, always store unused direct thermal labels in a cool, dry place that isn’t exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. And ensure to follow the manufacturer’s storage instructions.

Optimise Print Settings — Your print settings can make or mar the durability of your direct thermal label. Adjust the settings of your thermal printer to prevent exposure to excessive heat during the printing process.

Consider Thermal Transfer Labels — If you need labels for an extended period, thermal transfer labels might be a better alternative.

In Conclusion

The durability and longevity of direct thermal labels are influenced by several factors, including the Quality of the label material, the environment they are used in, the printer type and print settings. While they are perfect for short-term applications, they are not recommended for long-term usage.