Thermal paper is a type of paper that is sensitive to heat and that prints through a technology called "direct thermal printing", that is, it prints by heat, not ink.
Thermal paper has two sides, one a little shiny and the other opaque. When we give heat through the lower part, which is opaque, the upper part, which is brighter, darkens, as if it were burned. Chemical compounds have been applied to the upper layer which, when subjected to heat, react with each other, and develop the image. The main components are a colorant, a sensitizer, and a color developer.
If you want to check it better, you can light a lighter and bring the flame to the paper from the bottom, without burning it, just a moment, and you can check that the top part turns black, and the bottom part stays the same.
This same system is used by a printer to print the paper, but much more sophisticated.
Thermal paper can have various weights, depending on the thickness of the paper.
The most common grammage is 55 grams.
If we use a thicker weight we have to use a printer specially prepared for it.
Thermal paper rolls are always manufactured in large volume reels, up to 3 meters long by 2 meters thick. It is then cut to the measurements most used by printing machines and rolled into 12 mm tubes. There are some printers that require 25mm grommets, so they are custom made.
You have to be very careful with the quality of the paper because if it is very low, it releases a kind of lint that can damage the gears of the printer.
The truth is that all papers tend to shed that fluff, but it increases a lot as the quality decreases.
Currently, the most used color of paper is white. Although a few years ago four more colors have been released; green, blue, pink, and yellow. These colors are often not used due to the lack of knowledge of the client and their slightly higher cost.
Advantages of Thermal Paper
✓ Economical: no need for inks, ribbons, or other printing systems
✓ Quality: direct thermal printing is a highly reliable system. The quality is always constant regardless of the amount of data to be printed since you do not need any consumables.
✓ Reliable: direct printing machines need very few components for their operation. They only need a thermal head and an elementary paper transport system, so their level of breakdowns is much lower than ink printing systems.
✓ No sheet limitation: Thermal paper rolls only have the length limitation of the footage.
✓ Silent: printing is done completely in silence, only the rolling of the paper is heard.
✓ Size flexibility: the size adjusts perfectly to the printing system used.
✓ Ecological: by not using inks or toner, it can be considered interesting from an ecological point of view.
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