Thermal paper is a type of paper that has a specialty coating that allows for inkless printing. When heat (via a thermal paper printer) is applied to the coating, the result is a sharp, clear image, without the need for ink or ribbons.
Printing on thermal paper provides speedy, reliable and high-definition images. The technology is used in a wide variety of sectors.
- Specialized fields like healthcare rely on the high quality images produced by thermal printing for important and highly technical printouts for which accuracy is a must, like loves electrocardiograms (EKGs), ultrasound printouts and prescription labels.
- Retailers use thermal paper for point-of-sale applications, like grocery stores, gas stations and bank ATMs, to ensure fast and accurate service.
- Ticketing agencies, lottery systems and other businesses which require accurate and high-volume printouts also rely on thermal paper.
There are numerous benefits to using thermal paper over other types of printing:
- Thermal paper printers are much faster than other types of printers, resulting in less waiting at the checkout line.
- The images created on thermal paper are clearer and of higher quality than other types of printing, making them integral in everywhere from hospitals – where the accuracy of a printout is critical – to the local discount store, where itemized receipts made possible through thermal printing help consumers keep a better eye on their spending. The printers are also capable of printing high quality barcode scans directly on a receipt, making complex transactions like returns and exchanges much easier for customers and retailers alike, and preventing shoplifting and falsified receipts – which can have a direct effect on prices.
- Thermal paper printers are reliable and durable. Because there are fewer moving parts in an inkless thermal paper printer, they are unlikely to jam and don’t break down as easily as other types of printers. This saves money through lower maintenance costs.
- Thermal printers produce more lasting output than other types of printers that use ink, which can smudge and fade over time. High quality thermal paper printouts can last years – even decades.
- Thermal printing technology is much quieter that other kinds of printing, which makes working with a high volume of printing a pleasanter experience.
To better understand the technology behind thermal paper, see Facts about Thermal Paper.