Testing labels for Direct Thermal Printing Applications

Article ID: 19996913

Issue / Question

How to test for Direct Thermal label compatibility?

Applicable To

Zebra Barcode Printers

Resolution / Answer


Zebra Barcode Printers may support Thermal Transfer (using a ribbon) or Direct Thermal printing (no ribbon required). Using Thermal Transfer labels for Direct Thermal applications will result in blank labels though the printer appears to be trying to print. Direct Thermal labels have a heat sensitive coating that will darken as it is heating producing the image. Thermal Transfer labels do not have this coating and need a ribbon for image transfer.

If you suspect you have the wrong labels for the Direct Thermal application you can perform a simple scratch test. Scratching the label with your fingernail should produce a mark as shown here. 



If there is no mark produced you will have to consult with your label supplier or if possible use a ribbon for your printing application.


Additional Information

User-added image Click here to view video -> Scratch Test Video