In the transportation, health care, banking, and retail industries, the development of thermal printing technology is one area in which there has been much interest. From simple fax technology in the early 90s, thermal printing has grown to include applications in geological engineering, sea exploration, medicine (fetal ultrasounds), and the like.
What is thermal printing? Unlike regular printing that uses ink, thermal printing—as the name implies—uses heat technology. Thermal printers are extremely useful because they are lightweight and often designed to draw power from a built-in battery instead of a computer; battery life can range from two to about twenty hours on the longer end. Because of their portability and ease of use, thermal printers are widely popular, with the reliable Epson receipt printer possibly taking the cake in terms of variety of available types and models.
Many trains and buses use thermal printers weighing no more than two pounds to print boarding passes for their passengers while owners of gas stations use fixed thermal printers to print gas receipts. Thermal printing’s use in practical day-to-day things has grown tremendously in recent years and the technology is employed for movie tickets, credit card receipts, and lots of other things.
There are two kinds of thermal printers: direct thermal and thermal wax transfer. Direct thermal printers apply heat directly onto heat-sensitive paper using a print head composed of numerous small pins, while thermal wax transfer printers apply heat to a waxed ribbon placed between the print head and the material being printed on.
The gains in thermal technology over the last few years have helped businesses to improve upon operations and processes as a whole. Since thermal printing is much faster and more convenient than traditional printing, businesses can operate more efficiently. Imagine at gas stations if you had to go inside, wait in line, and see a clerk for a receipt for your credit card transaction. Having a thermal printer issue a receipt right at the gas pump is much more convenient.