Turn Up the Heat on Thermal Products
Developments in stocks and adhesives yield versatile, value-added applications.
Quick, quiet, efficient, on-demand solutions, direct thermal and thermal-transfer products have been serving variable imaging needs for more than 13 years, with suppliers continuously seeking to enhance performance. Overlaminates, repositionable adhesives and top-preforming ribbons are just a few of the cool value-added features turning thermal products into hot commodities.
For instance, McCourt Label, Lewis Run, Pa., has introduced direct thermal and thermal-transfer laminated label systems, which greatly increase options for distributors and their customers.
To Protect & Serve
While they are extremely efficient applications that eliminate the need for costly ribbons—as well as the down time to change them—direct thermal products are typically not used in harsh environments, such as pharmaceutical companies, medical labs, industrial plants and warehouses.
According to Sales & Marketing Manager Nora Stewart, "Direct thermal labels are easily compromised by heat, chemicals and moisture, which can obliterate critical information contained on a blood sample test tube or chemical container."
As a result, she added, direct thermals need to go through a second process of overlamination after they have been imprinted."
McCourt's new direct thermal laminated label system, however, combines a direct thermal face sheet with an ultra-thin polyester overlaminate. Stewart explained that heat is able to pass through the overlam and activate the image, which is then kept intact. Resistant to acids, alkalis, industrial solvents and motor oils, the product provides a durable, on-demand direct thermal solution that is effective in harsh environments. Vertical markets for this labeling system include packaging, plastics, lumber, consumer products, textiles and fulfillment.
Stewart pointed out that since flexo inks will not dry on the product, at present they must be sold as blank labels or tags until a successful pre-printing method has been developed.
The thermal-transfer imprintable overlaminate is also designed for harsh environments. Available with a clear, glossy or matte finish (the matte finish is recommended for improved imprinted bar code scannability) the product offers protected preprinted graphics with the ability to lay down variable imaging on top of the laminate.