Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How to Select the Best Thermal Paper for Your Application

Selecting the right thermal paper for your printing application is very important. Most documents look fine when they come out of the printer, but the true test is how they will hold up over their expected life span. When printed data is unreadable, problems with returns, service, warranties and compliance can arise.

The following key considerations should be examined before choosing a paper: Potential exposure to extreme heat or moisture, durability requirements, and intended lifespan. Examining the following areas will ensure documents remain intact and readable during their useful life.

If exposure to extreme heat is a concern, choose a material that is heat resistant. Documents left in vehicles, for example, where temperatures can climb over 150° F (66° C) in the summer can turn black and unreadable due to the chemicals in the paper reacting. To avoid this problem, some thermal materials are specially formulated to withstand higher temperatures.

If your document will be subjected to moisture, either because it will be exposed to the elements or stored in a wet or humid area, a paper with additional moisture resistance or a synthetic material will protect the document from degrading and becoming unreadable.

Thickness (Durability)
Thicker materials tend to be more durable and are perceived by customers as higher quality. However, the thicker the material, the less paper per roll, resulting in fewer documents that can be printed before the roll needs to be changed.

Archivability (Intended Lifespan)
The longer documents need to be referenced and stored, the more durable they need to be, and the more protection they require from heat, moisture and other environmental factors. Storage is an important and often overlooked factor in a document's lifespan. Make sure the material you choose is rated to meet your archival requirements.

All thermal papers have a basecoat and a thermal coat, but not all have a topcoat. A topcoat provides an extra layer of protection against specific environmental exposure. Non-topcoated materials are acceptable for applications requiring limited resistance properties.

In our next post we will provide a detailed comparison chart of the papers we offer to help you choose the best thermal paper for your unique application. In the meantime, please contact us if you have further questions about thermal paper. Whether your application calls for heat or moisture resistance, archivability, extra durability, topcoating or a standard POS grade, POS Supply Solutions has the thermal paper roll solution for you.