Labels are very useful tools when a business is considered, as they are very important in many industries and sectors. Labeling comes in handy as they are a way to relate crucial information to people. There are a variety of things to label in a company, from product labeling, asset labeling, shipping labels, barcodes, specimen marketing, and many more.

Label Printers

label printers

The production of large volumes of labels and customized labels can be eased by using a label printer, which, as a bonus, is cost-effective. The label printers come in different sizes and prices and use a common technology known as direct thermal or thermal transfer printing. Some label printers are designed for fast and bulk printing, while others are designed for detailed and high-definition prints. How well a label printer prints is highly dependent on the type of label roll being used, the best label printers will still not print accurately and clearly if the type of label roll used is of very low quality. Generally, the purchase of a label printer comes hand in hand with purchasing a label roll, as they are considered to complement each other.

Label Rolls

Various label rolls

Label rolls are simply the materials printed on by the label printer. Label rolls come in specific sizes, generally measured in width and height since label printers are designed in different sizes. So there is a specifically sized label roll for a type of label printer. Also, the variety of label printers depends on the printing technology of the label printer and the application of the label.

The selection of a good label roll will depend on the label printer specification, the size of the label roll, the required durability of the label rolls, the color of the material, and your budget. Generally, label rolls are usually made of paper or plastic mixes; other materials may include foils, films, thermal stock, and adhesive.

Types of Label Rolls

There are several types of label rolls, and they are classified according to the printing technology used, the end-use application, and the type of label printer. Here is a list of general types of label rolls:

  • Direct thermal labels
  • Thermal transfer labels
  • Laser labels
  • Tags
  • RFID labels
  • Freezer labels

The Two Main Types of Labels You Should Know

The two main types of labels one should know are:

1. Direct Thermal Labels -without the use of ribbons

Direct thermal labels

As earlier said, the sales of label printers go hand in hand with the label rolls. Direct thermal labels are used with direct thermal printers; they are heat-sensitive labels. Direct thermal labels do not use ink, ribbons, or even tonners, making them very cost-efficient as there will be no need to buy those. Direct thermal labels are best suited for retail and other indoor environments with low heat and moisture levels due to their heat sensitivity. Also, due to their short shelf life, direct thermal labels are ideal for short-term prints and best suited for bulk printing, making them suitable for coupons, visitor passes, name tags, event tickets, dispatches, etc.

In summary, direct thermal labels are a good choice because:

  • They are cost-effective.
  • They are also time-saving.
  • They are suitable for bulk printing.
  • There is no wrinkling since ribbons are not involved.
  • They come in a variety of sizes.
  • There is no need for ribbons, ink, and others.

2. Thermal Transfer Labels – with the use of ribbons

Thermal transfer label printer

Compared to direct thermal labels, thermal transfer labels last longer and are more durable, and they are to be used with thermal transfer printers. Unlike the direct thermal label, thermal transfer labels use ribbon or ink. Since they use ribbons or ink, high-resolution printing can be done with multiple colors in less than no time.

Thermal transfer labels are not heated sensitive, making them suitable for high temperatures and harsh conditions in outdoor environments. The durability of thermal transfer labels is dependent on the compatibility of ribbons and the label rolls, and stronger compatibility removes the option of adding protective laminates.

Due to how long they can last and the fact that they can be used outside (outdoors environment), they are mostly used for bar code printing, product identification, lab specimen, outdoors labeling, etc.

In summary, thermal transfer labels are a good choice because:

  • They have durable prints.
  • They are very clear with high resolution.
  • They are ideal for colored printing.
  • They can last very long and withstand extreme temperatures.

How to Measure Label Roll Sizes?

How to Measure Label Roll Sizes

The measurement of a label roll size is something that requires a few technicalities, which will be explained below in detail;

  1. Label width: The label width refers to the width of a single label.
  2. Label length: The label length refers to the height of a single label.
  3. Finished web width: It refers to the full label width (a label width plus the spaces on two sides).
  4. Gap: The gap is the space between each label. It is usually 2mm or 3mm.
  5. Corner radius: It refers to the radius of a label. The standard corner radius is 0.125” (3mm).
  6. Core size: Generally, the core is the tube on which the labels are wrapped. The size of the core varies and depends on the label printer, but the regular core sizes are 25mm, 40mm and 76mm.
  7. Label roll diameter: It refers to the diameter of the whole label roll while still wrapped on the core.
  8. Wound direction: This is used to wrap the label roll on the core. It is either clockwise or not.
  9. The difference between “labels” and “stickers”:
    • Stickers are about 4 times thicker than labels.
    • Stickers are made of premium thick vinyl, while labels are made of BOPP.
    • Labels peel faster compared to stickers.
    • Labels are used for product identification, while stickers are often used for brand promotion.
    • Labels provide information while the user determines the use of stickers.

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About the Author: Frank Ouyang

Frank Ouyang is the sales manager at Panda Paper Roll Company - a leading factory of thermal paper rolls, label rolls, and other print-related products. With extensive experience in the industry, Frank is an expert in thermal paper knowledge and enjoys sharing his insights and expertise with clients, helping them achieve their goals and maximize their success.
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