Overview of thermal printheads

Release Time: 03/30/2011 00:00 Font Size: Large Middle Small

Thermal printheads are devices used to print using thermally sensitive materials (i.e. thermal paper, thermal transfer ribbon) by energizing resistors mounted on a substrate to generate joule heat.

Thermal paper, which is low-cost, easy to handle, and virtually maintenance-free, is used in wide variety of applications, including fax machines, printers, and ticketing equipment.

What's more, improved characteristics such as recording quality and speed have expanded the application range.

Thick-Film and Thin-Film Types (Thermal Printheads)

Thermal printheads are roughly classified into thick-film and thin-film types based on the manufacturing method, materials, and structure.

Method Production Process Comparison
Thick Film Film formation by screen printing(Conduction pattern creation via photo-etching)
Thin Film Film formation by sputtering or metal deposition(Conduction pattern creation via photo-etching)

[Thermal Printhead Manufacturing Method Comparison]

Printing Methods Using Thermal Printheads

Thermal Method

Thermal Method

A method of printing achieved by contacting heat elements with thermal paper (special heat-sensitive paper). Frequently used for receipt printers.

Advantages ● No need for toner, ribbon, or ink
● Simple printer structure
● Easy to install paper
Disadvantages ● Susceptible to temperature and scratches

Thermal Transfer Method

Thermal Transfer Method

A method in which a wax or resin-based ink tape (ribbon) is melted (glued) onto a material such as paper using heat.

Advantages ● Excellent water and chemical resistance
● Compatible with plain paper
Disadvantages ● High running costs
● Complicated printer structure
● Difficult to install paper/tape (ribbon)
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