When choosing heavy duty labels for your business, one of the most important aspects to consider is the printing method. The right printing method will ensure your labels are durable and reliable, serving both your business and your customers. To help you better understand heavy duty labels and decide which labels are best suited to your business, we’ll explore three of the most popular printing methods: digital printing, flexographic, and thermal transfer. We’ll cover advantages and disadvantages, as well as key things to consider such as colour options, resolution, cost, and turnaround time.
Things to consider when choosing the ideal printing method
As a printing method, digital printing is incredibly flexible and precise. This method uses advanced technology that applies ink directly onto the label material, which removes the need to use printing plates. The obvious benefit of this method is the quick setup time, which makes it the perfect option for short run and custom heavy duty labels. Digital printing is also ideal if your labels display complex designs and colour schemes.
One disadvantage with digital printing is that the heavy duty labels produced may not have the durability of thermal transfer or flexographic labels, especially when tested against extreme conditions.
2. Thermal Transfer Printing
Unlike digital printing, thermal transfer printing is exceptionally durable. This process involves a thermal printhead transferring ink from a ribbon directly onto the label material. Heavy duty labels produced this way are resistant to fading, smudging, and scratching, which makes them ideal for industrial, construction, and agricultural applications. Thermal transfer labels also have excellent resolution, which makes them great for label designs with high detail.
The disadvantage with thermal transfer printing is that colour choices are limited, which means it’s best to avoid labels with complex designs or colour gradients.
3. Flexographic Printing
Flexographic printing involves the creation of a printing plate that has a raised image of the label design, which is transferred directly onto the label material. The main advantage of flexographic printing is its speed and versatility; these advantages make it an ideal choice for large-scale, high-volume production. The versatility is clear with the number of substances—such as adhesives and substrates—the method supports, which gives you added flexibility when it comes to making custom heavy duty labels.
The disadvantage of flexographic printing is that it offers lower resolution than digital or thermal transfer printing, which makes it less suitable for intricate designs.
As with most things, your label needs will change over time, depending on the job you need them to do. Which means, at any one time, you may end up using each of these printing methods at the same time. Which is fine. If you invest a generous amount of time on the purpose of each label, you’ll be in the best position to decide which method is best suited