Although it may sound very technical or completely foreign, you’ve most likely used thermal tickets more times than you can count! So many businesses are turning to thermal printing for all of their transactions including airlines, banks, theaters, hospitals, and retail shops. Yes, airline tickets and most receipts are thermally printed — cool, huh? Largely due to their graphic capabilities, print quality, speed, and continued technological advances they continue to increase in popularity.
Thermal printing is a distinct manner of printing which doesn’t require print cartridges.
Technically speaking, it’s a digital printing process in which a printed image is created by selectively heating coated thermal paper (i.e. ticket stock). Mechanically speaking, thermal paper is pressed between the thermal head and platen. This is a plate very much like what is used in printing presses which presses the paper against the type, or in this case, the thermal head. When thermal paper passes over the thermal print head, the coating can turn black and an additional color (usually red) wherever it comes into contact with heat. The printer sends electrical signals to the heating elements of the thermal head to generate heat in specific patterns like letters and barcodes. The heat, in turn, activates the thermo-sensitive paper and voila, hello thermal ticket!
Thermal tickets have a long history in the event industry because they have many advantages and very few disadvantages. Here are the advantages:
- Cost – The thermal printing process is very economical as it is inkless and saves companies a lot of money on expenses, supplies, and physical inventory to store.
- Speed – Efficiency helps with customer satisfaction as there is less wait time when using thermal tickets. Whether you’re at a movie theater waiting for your tickets or putting on a theater production and need tickets printed, you can get your tickets in less time than you’d expect. Less time waiting = more time enjoying (or selling)!
- Smudge-free – Since no ink is used in thermal printing, say goodbye to ugly smudges!
- Security – Due to the heat sensitivity of thermal stock, if a ticket is run through a laser printer, the entire ticket would turn black, making it impossible to counterfeit. Some companies will also include additional security measures like custom foils and UV coatings that can include company logos.
As you can see, thermal tickets are a great option, hence their historic and continued usage in various markets and industries.
However, they do have a few disadvantages. Here is a list of thermal printing disadvantages:
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight or heat – A classic example of strengths also being weaknesses. Due to the nature of heat-sensitive stock, prolonged exposure to sunlight or extreme heat can cause fading. Think gas station receipts left on the dashboard. After a while, fading usually occurs.
Okay, so there is only one disadvantage. But in the name of journalistic integrity, we felt the need to inform you just the same! Fading isn’t necessarily an issue since most people don’t keep things like gas station receipts for future generations to behold in awe. Additionally, where quality and legibility is a necessity, like in the event industry, simple and elegant solutions easily take care of fading, i.e. protective coatings.
Thermal tickets are cost-effective and fairly counterfeit-proof with no major downside.
So there you have it. If you would like to know more or even order some thermal tickets for your event, please feel free to contact our customer service team and someone will be getting in touch with you shortly!