Demand Heats Up for Thermal-Transfer
Security concerns and compliance issues influence production and drive solutions.
Employees present I.D. access cards to enter Safford, Arizona-based Impressive Labels. Some then proceed to the thermal printing cell where, under 24-hour a day video surveillance, they finish and imprint labels, adhering to strict procedures throughout production to ensure security—nothing leaves the caged-off area unauthorized, even waste materials are destroyed inside the cell.
The customer—a software company requiring product authenticity labels—wouldn't have it any other way. The same holds true for government projects and industries with other high-risk products.
"We offer a wide range of solutions and have invested largely in making our production plant a secure one," said compliance manager Jim Stewart.
According to Stewart, authenticity, security and warranty labels are burgeoning markets for thermal-transfer.
"We've produced a security label on holographic material displaying the end-user's logo. In the background, the company name is printed so small that magnifying equipment is required to read it," he said.
"Another security label was created on our offset press in four-color process," Stewart continued, "again with the company's static information encoded in a background mosaic. Variable data is later imprinted by the customer on an as-needed basis."
Stewart said that in many cases, customers request labels with consecutive numbers or consecutively-numbered bar codes—products which are produced in the thermal print cell. "These labels range from plain white paper labels to very sharp-looking labels done on one of the several films we work with," said Stewart.
Kapton by DuPont is one such film, a high-performance polyimide film used when extreme temperatures are involved. In addition, Kapton has outstanding resistance to most chemicals, solvents, lubricants and fuels.
Customized With Color
Stewart noted that thermal-transfer labels used to mean plain white paper labels that were variably imaged with shipping, warehousing and asset management information. But the trend is to create a custom look combining thermal printing with logos and art.