Thermal paper is a type of specialty paper that has the ability to change color when exposed to heat without the use of any traditional ink. It is usually used in thermal printers specifically for devices such as cash registers, credit card terminals, and adding machines. These papers are made through the application of a specially made heat-sensitive materials. These mixtures of chemical materials usually vary on the facility of the manufacturer.
1. What’s the Difference Between Thermal Paper and Regular Paper?
Thermal paper is different from the regular bond paper in that it’s coated with a mixture of dye and chemicals. When heated above the melting point, the dye reacts to the chemicals causing a shift to a colored form (typically black but occasionally blue or red). The print head in the machine is able to heat the correct areas of the paper, making it legible.
Thermal paper contains three layers, although you wouldn’t notice by looking at it.
- The substrate layer is basically just the paper.
- The base layer acts as a binding element made from starches, gelatin, and alkali salts. This layer allows the heat to move through the paper.
- The active layer contains the chemicals that make the paper react to heat.
- An additional protective layer helps prevent the paper from fading. Not all thermal papers contain this layer.
How to Identify?
You can notice some differences in the feel of the paper. Thermal rolls have an almost slick surface and can be hard to write on with a pen, whereas regular paper rolls feel like ordinary copy paper. Since the dye appears with heat, the swipe of a fingernail can produce a black mark on the surface of thermal paper.
2. Can You Use Thermal Paper in a Normal Printer?
Printing thermal papers on a normal printer is not advisable. Thermal printer is made to work on thermal printers which use heat. So, it might not bring the same quality results if you printed it on non-thermal printers. The same principle applies for regular papers to thermal printers.
3. How to Measure Thermal Paper Roll Size?
Knowing the correct paper roll size is the first step to start your paper roll business. If you know the model of your receipt printer, you can simply Google about the receipt printer model or ask your paper supplier, you can usually get exactly what products (paper rolls, printer ribbons, cleaning supplies, etc) are compatible.
In case the way doesn’t work out, you can measure the paper roll size by yourself. Just take note of these four important specifications:
- Width – Use a ruler, measure across the face of the roll from side to side
- Diameter – from edge to edge of the thermal roll going directly through the center spindle hole in the roll
- Length – the length or amount of the paper winded on the roll
- Core size – the diameter of the tube on which the thermal paper is rolled.
4. How to Buy Good Quality Thermal Paper Rolls?
Choosing the right paper roll size
There are a lot of thermal papers available, each with different sizes based on the customer’s need. Choosing the right paper size helps you to save money as well as precious time.
Knowing the quantity of paper rolls you need
Knowing the quantity will depend on the number of business transactions you have. This way you have the chance of availing discounts through bulk purchases.
Determining how cost-effective it is
Make sure that the paper rolls you buy are definitely worth the price. You can do this by considering your total budget and comparing prices from different manufacturers.
5. Is Thermal Paper Toxic? How to Prevent it from Health Risks?
Some thermal papers are coated with BPA, a kind of chemical notorious for being an endocrine disruptor which can cause congenital disabilities and cancerous tumors. A single contact with thermal paper can transfer very small amounts of BPA to a person’s skin, which can be dangerous in the long run. Luckily enough, BPA free thermal papers are no very much affordable to the market. Buying this kind of thermal papers can indeed make a big difference in the health risks issue.
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