Thermal labels are widely used in retail, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare and other industries for printing shipping labels, barcodes, receipts, product information and other essential printing output. Though valuable, they tend to fade over time, leading to illegibility and data loss. Read this guide and learn critical tips to preserve the readability and legibility of your thermal labels.
Factors that Influence Thermal Label Fading
Several factors impact the fading of thermal labels. You must understand these factors to implement practical strategies for label longevity :
- Heat and Humidity — Extreme temperatures and humidity levels can rapidly fade your thermal labels, especially direct thermal labels. Excessive heat can reactive the chemicals on the label’s surface, causing blurry or illegible information.
- Sunlight Exposure — Exposure to direct sunlight or UV (Ultraviolet) radiation can accelerate the fading process. UV rays degrade the label’s coating and reduce its readability in the long term.
- Chemical Exposure — Chemicals can contaminate thermal labels during storage, transportation or usage. And some specific chemicals can react with the chemicals on the label’s coating leading to fading or discolouration.
- Friction and Rough Handling — thermal labels should be treated carefully to avoid fading and discolouration. Rough handling and friction can cause the label’s information to wear off.
Tips to Prevent Fading
Here are handy tips that can help you preserve the quality and legibility of thermal labels :
- Consider Thermal Transfer Printing: Thermal transfer printing is less susceptible to fading than direct thermal printing. Thermal transfer labels also have a longer lifespan than direct transfer labels. So opt for the former if you can’t condone fading.
- Choose High-quality Labels: Go for top-quality labels with a protective top coating. These labels are specially designed to withstand environmental pressures and are better suited to resist fading. You can find top-grade thermal labels in reputable stores like CDM Labels.
- Maintain a Controlled Environment — Environmental factors are the primary contributors to thermal label fading. As such, it is imperative to maintain a controlled environment with moderate temperature and humidity levels. Do not store labels in places liable to excessive heat or moisture.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight and UV Exposure — Store your thermal label rolls in a cool, dark place, away from the harsh glare of sunlight and potentially damaging UV radiation. In addition, keep thermal labels in shaded areas during usage to alleviate exposure.
- Guard Against Chemicals — When using thermal labels in chemical-exposed environments, use label holders or protective pouches to shield the coating from direct contact with the chemicals.
- Consider Overcoating — overcoat your thermal labels in extreme conditions to forestall the fading process. Apply a clear, protective layer over the printed labels as an added layer of protection against fading agents.
- Schedule Regular Inspections — implement routine inspections to identify and replace faded or damaged labels promptly. Regular checks can address potential issues from the get-go.
Thermal labels are a cost-effective and practical solution for individuals and businesses. However, their tendency to fade over time can be a deal breaker. The good news is you can take the proactive measures mentioned above to maintain their legibility. Preserving the quality of thermal labels not only saves costs but facilitates seamless and hassle-free operations and promotes accurate data management.