Thermal Paper

The versatility of thermal paper contributes to its widespread use, which is reflected in numerous everyday applications throughout our environment. The special papers are used in many areas, such as:

  • Cash register / POS
  • Fax
  • Medicine
  • Lottery
  • Travel and transportation
  • Tickets
  • Banks
  • Labels
  • Technology for counterfeit security

The versatile Thermal Paper

  • Receipts
  • Bank statements
  • Tickets
  • Ultrasonic records
  • Long-term records geology
  • Self-adhesive labels
  • and much more

Everyone has held it once in their hands - be it at the supermarket checkout, when shopping for clothing or at the pump. The parking machine issues its confirmation on the variable material, our bank statements, lottery receipts, tickets, cinema and theater tickets are printed on it. In the doctor's office, ultrasound examinations are printed on the paper as well as the results of physical measurements in weather stations.

Even self-adhesive labels with barcodes, such as luggage tags in airports and train stations, the supermarket labels on the cheese and meat counter or in the fruit department are printed on the flexible paper. The more the automation of everyday processes progresses, the more the versatile special paper is used. Above all, the thermal paper owes its great breadth to the excellent properties of thermal printing:

  • high reliability
  • low operating costs
  • minimized maintenance
  • high speed
  • easy handling
  • no additional printer accessories
  • suitable for portable pressure equipment
  • independent of environmental influences
  • Low noise during printing

Thermal Paper - a paper that has it all

Thermal printers can do without ink and toner. The technology that ensures the print image is completely contained in the high-quality thermal paper. The paper is composed of several different and technically exactly coordinated layers:

  • Base paper
  • Lower barrier layer
  • Upper lower layer
  • Thermosheet
  • Topcoat

The layers contain the crucial elements necessary for printing. The layers are spread over the base paper in several jobs. The spreads include:

  • Dyes
  • Developer
  • Stabilizers
  • Binder

What does thermal paper consist of?

Thermal paper consists of several layers. The core of the thermal paper is made of ordinary paper. On the surface and on the underside of the core special layers are applied, which allow printing in thermo-process. The paper in the core is usually provided on the bottom with a stabilizing coating. On the top, which is to be printed, a primer is first applied to the core. The second layer is the so-called Thermostrich.

This contains the substances that are decisive for pressure, which react to heat. The thermointensive layer of the paper contains pigments, color formers, developers and binders. For most thermal papers Bisphenol A is used as a color former. Additional auxiliaries are needed as additional additives to give the papers the necessary strength and resistance to harmful environmental influences. During the printing process, the color former and the developer in the thermal layer are crucial for the output of the printed image.

As soon as the special paper comes into contact with heat, the substrate will stain in a certain color. Mostly the colors black and blue appear on the paper when exposed to heat. A third top layer is applied to the special paper to protect the sensitive thermal layer. Thermal paper is available in different basis weights, which allow numerous uses. The weight of special papers is between 48 and 240 grams per square meter.

The lightweights with a paper weight between 48 and 55 grams are used for receipts and receipts. More stable papers are suitable for theater tickets, vouchers, tickets and lottery receipts. The thicker material is not only more robust, the print image is retained longer.

The problematic admixture in thermal paper - bisphenol A

Bishpenol A is a chemical compound whose effects are similar to those of hormones. The chemical is used in many plastics, which are processed for example in beverage containers and food cans. Also in numerous paints, colors and adhesives Bisphenol A is contained. Various studies conclude that bisphenol A affects hormone balance and cell growth.

The chemical substance is absorbed into the body when touched by the skin. The health risks of the chemical are not sufficient and finally clarified. Since some types of thermal papers contain bisphenol A in their thermoactive layer, many manufacturers try to avoid the substance in the production of their papers. In order to exclude a health hazard in the use of thermal paper in the field of food, these papers are subject to legal requirements.

The Institute ISEGA in Aschaffenburg is a research company, which examines numerous materials, including the content of bishpenol A. Thermal papers bearing the ISEGA or the so-called Swan certificate are classified as harmless.

This is how the printing works with thermal paper

Thermal printers create their print image with the help of a roller that guides the paper past a heated bar. The bar is equipped with many small heating elements, which are mounted over the complete width of the print head. The many small heating elements are called printing pixels. The heat causes a reaction on the temperature-sensitive layer of the thermal paper to form color.

The dyes on the thermal paper consist of so-called different Leuco dyes. These natural dyes show in the unexcited state as a white color. The paper carries a layer of dyes that are not visible on the white background of the material. The dyes react with the developer only when exposed to heat. By adding heat, the dyes become visible as a color. With the addition of further dyes, the Leuco dyes produce colored or black print images.

Most thermal papers are provided for printing in black or blue color. A thermal printing device consists of very few moving parts. The thermal printer does not need to provide and process paint in its housing. For this reason, the printers are not only cheap to buy. They are very rarely serviced and have a very long life.

For all cases - thermal papers in many variations

The layers on the thermal paper are individually equipped both on the upper and on the lower side. They can offer a special protection against environmental influences or exactly match the characteristics of the paper on its use. Thermal papers can be coated with special layers, for example:

  • Printability
  • Lamination
  • Longevity
  • Stability

especially support and guarantee.

The self-adhesive labels for the baggage claim in the air terminal must be printed individually with names and other information of the airline. They must be reliably stamped and have a stable print image. The high demands on the durability of airline, train or parking tickets also entail the use of individually optimized coatings on the papers.

Individual cards that prove membership in, for example, a health club or ownership of a store loyalty card must be laminatable to last and withstand high loads over long periods of time. Tickets for cinema and theater are printed both at the front and the back with intense colors and exact print order and must have a robust durability. Tickets must be characterized by excellent stability to pass numerous hands without losing their feel and legibility.

Receipts for the car park will be archived for long periods of time without fading. The use of thermal paper in banks requires different features in terms of quality. ATM cash dispensers and statement printers must meet precisely defined and high quality standards. They must be characterized by particularly high criteria of stability and durability. At the supermarket cash register receipts must be issued smoothly and quickly.

For this purpose, a particularly light paper is used. Precision in the reproduction of medical measurement results requires extremely durable material that guarantees excellent printing results in fast printers. To meet all requirements, manufacturers of thermal paper offer their products with different properties.

Versatility for individual use

Since the applications of thermal paper are very diverse, different requirements are placed on the material.

  • Thickness
  • Haptics
  • Appearance
  • Archivability
  • Printability

The thickness of the material ensures that documents such as theater tickets have high durability. The feel of the paper is as important for representative prints with high quality standards as the appearance of the printed image. The archivability of receipts, tank receipts and parking tickets is essential for resubmission to authorities, such as the tax office. Self-adhesive labels that carry a barcode must not only be printable on the front and back.

Even existing texts, barcodes or images on a luggage tag at the airport or train station must remain clearly visible and reliably printed with new information. The manufacturers provide numerous thermal papers, which are equipped with optimized properties, for different applications.

Tips for archiving documents from cheap thermal paper

The technology of thermal paper has developed very successfully since its introduction with the original use as a fax paper. The high quality of thermal paper allows versatile use under different loads. However, the print on the special paper is not documentary. In addition, cheap thermal papers made of extremely thin material are still found in everyday life.

These very unstable papers age quickly and fade their print after a short time. Here, making a copy that can be archived for a long time, reliable remedy. To preserve the durability of thermal paper documents, it is recommended to store in a cool and dark place. Sunlight and heat, as well as moisture and strong abrasion have an unfavorable effect on the printed image.

Receipts should be taken out of the wallet in a timely manner, as the leather tanning agents attack the printed image. Also disinfectants, oils, greases and the freshly applied hand cream should not come into contact with thermal paper. The safest way to keep receipts of thin paper in an envelope is in the drawer or folder.

How should thermal paper be disposed of? Is thermal paper used paper?

Used thermal paper is not waste paper - Disposal considerations.

Thermal papers contain various chemical substances and therefore belong in the residual waste. They can not be treated and disposed of like ordinary waste paper. Unused receipts or thermal paper tickets, as well as other coated papers, foils or wax papers, must be disposed of separately from any other paper waste. Not only the bisphenol A, which is usually contained in the thermal paper, but also other chemical compounds in the coated layers pollute the environment.

When used improperly, the substances used in the production penetrate the soil and groundwater and pollute the environment. Therefore, consumed thermal paper materials must be disposed of in the residual waste bin or disposed of in the waste disposal facility.