4 Top Label Printers and Their Mechanisms

Label printers are a great way to meet your printing requirements conveniently. Not only does it provide a fast turnaround time, but it offers high printing quality at an affordable and cost-effective range. For the businesses that stay strict on their budget and want to minimise costs, label printers are the best way to go, be it food label printers or wine label makers.

We usually don’t pay much attention to the mechanism of a label printer when buying one. The majority of people get by fine with just a bare minimum of understanding.  

However, some people are keen on knowing every minute detail of it. So much so that they can repair it themselves if any problem arises. Not only that, but a deep understanding can also help you get creative with your work, thus providing a competitive edge. 

This article is for those looking to learn one more thing about label printers to have a competitive edge. 

So, let’s dive into it and see how different label printers work. 

1. Direct Thermal Food Label Printer Mechanism

Many small, medium and big enterprises go for thermal label printers. The mechanism involved in thermal printers is listed step by step below:

  1. Printing is done by transferring heat from a thermal print head to chemically prepared thermal paper. The print head creates heat, causing a thermochemical reaction that prints on the paper. 
  2. Direct thermal printing uses no ink, ribbon, or toner. Instead, the printhead directly delivers pressure and heat to the surface of heat-sensitive thermal paper.
  3. Thermal paper that has been chemically treated is put between the thermal head and the platen (a rubber roller that feeds paper).
  4. The printer transmits an electric current to the thermal head’s heating components, which creates heat.   
  5. The heat triggers the label material’s heat-sensitive colouring layer, which changes colour when heated. Thermal printer heating components are often organised as a string of tiny, closely spaced dots.
  6. Apart from the printhead and platen, there’s another component called Spring. The spring exerts pressure on the thermal head (printhead), allowing it to remain in contact with the thermosensitive material.

Thermal printers have only a few moving components, which make thermal printers provide years of dependability, minimum maintenance, and constant functioning. One of the most notable advantages is its silent functioning. 

More advantages of these label printers are: 

  • Small, dependable low voltage thermal printer mechanisms provide the solution for portable printing applications, consuming less power and allowing for extended battery life.
  • Because no ink or toner is required, direct thermal printers have reduced maintenance expenses compared to other types of printers. 

Though thermal printers work great for several purposes, they make the best food label printers.

2. Thermal transfer printer mechanism

The mechanism of the thermal transfer printer is unique from direct thermal printers. This is how it functions. 

  1. The printhead of a thermal transfer printer pushes a wax-coated ink ribbon(s) onto the printing medium. 
  2. The wax is melted, revealing the ink, which is transferred to the printing medium and dries there. 

The main advantage of this sort of thermal printer over a direct thermal printer is that prints are less prone to fade over time. And you can also print in numerous colours at once if your printer has multiple ribbons. 

However, with the introduction of the ribbon, which must be renewed, long-term maintenance expenses may be higher. Also, these printers may be a tad more susceptible to operational issues because they have more moving parts, but they are still reliable and durable.

3. Inkjet label printers

The next popular choice is inkjet label printers, especially for printing wine labels. This is how the mechanism works. 

  1. The print head of an inkjet includes numerous small nozzles, also known as jets. 
  2. As the paper passes through the printhead, the nozzles spray the ink onto it, generating the characters and pictures. 
  3. Depending on the nature of the hard copy, an inkjet printer can print anywhere from a hundred to several hundred pages before the ink cartridges need to be replaced. 
  4. There is normally one black ink cartridge and one colour cartridge holding ink in primary pigments — Cyan, magenta, and yellow. 
  5. A few versions require separate cartridges for each main pigment and a black ink cartridge. But some come with only one single cartridge containing cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink.

So is the mechanism of an inkjet printer. 

4. Laser Label Printers

The last printer’s mechanism we will understand is the laser label printer, another great option for wine labels. It works as follows: 

  1. The printer’s laser projects your print onto a metal drum. 
  2. In contrast to the liquid ink used in inkjet printers, laser printers employ coloured powder called toner. 
  3. Static electricity is used by the drum to attract powder toner to the drum’s cylinder. 
  4. Your print is created by the drum rolling the toner onto the paper. 
  5. The heat from a fuser melts and presses the toner onto the paper as it goes through its rollers. 

That’s it. Your print is ready.

Final say

Be it for shipping labels or wine labels; every business needs a label printers. What’s important is to understand its mechanisms so you can take full advantage of it. 

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