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Understanding Label Printer Terminology

By aisltd, Monday, 30th April 2018 | 0 comments
Filed under: Publications.

Confused about label printers? Read our terminology guide so you know exactly what labelling machines do and how to purchase the right one for your business.

If you are one of the many people looking to purchase a label printer but you aren’t sure which one to buy, our label printer terminology guide is just what you need. It can be confusing buying your first label printer and we want to make it as easy as possible. There are a lot of words and terminology to understand and with the number of options available on the market, it can be hard to choose the right printer.

Our simple label printer terminology guide will help make it easier. It contains the most commonly used acronyms.

Label Printer Terminology

TT – Thermal Transfer: This is one of the most recommended print modes. Thermal transfer is a digital printing method where ink is applied to the label by melting a coating of ribbon so that it remains glued to the material on which it is printed on. Thermal transfer printers should always be used by those looking for high quality print, labels that are going into extreme heat or cold conditions, or on plastic labels.

DT – Direct Thermal: This type of printing is a digital process which creates an image by selectively heating coated thermal paper when it passes over the print head. Direct Thermal printers are recommended for those looking to print standard paper labels. The labels don’t last very long as heat and contact can cause them to blacken. Direct Thermal printing is ideal for courier companies.

OD – Outer Diameter (Roll): This is the diameter of your roll of labels and it is very important to know what this is. Some printers can only use labels up to 5 inches in diameter, while others can take larger sizes. Before you buy a label printer, be sure to measure the outer diameter or your labels.

ID – Inside Dimension (Core): This is the size of the inside core of the labels and again it is important to know. There are numerous core sizes available and some printers take larger or smaller sizes. The size will determine the type of label printer you can buy.

DPI – Dots Per Inch: This refers to the output resolution of the printer. Essentially, it’s the number of dots per inch or the physical dot density of an image when it is printed onto the label. It is always recommended that you get a higher DPI if there are any special characters, small text, or 2D barcodes to be printed. A higher DPI ensures clearer print.

IPS – Inches Per Second: This is the measurement of the speed of the label printer. It tells you how many labels can be printed in one second. The higher the IPS the more labels you can print in a shorter space of time. A 6IPS Label printer will allow you to print 6 one inch labels in one second, 3 two inch labels in one second, or 2 three inch labels in one second.

If you are looking to purchase a barcode label printer, or you have any questions, visit our contact us page and feel free to drop us an email. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.


Automatic Identification Systems Ltd


Automatic Identification Systems Ltd
Unit 35 Eastgate Drive,
Little Island, Cork,  
T45 C925, Ireland

Phone: +353 (0)21 2355540


AIS Automation Ltd
Unit 6, Centenary Business Park
Coes Road Industrial Estate
Dundalk A91 HF95, Ireland

Phone: +353 (0)42 935992


AIS Vision Systems S.L
Carrer de Can Camps, 10
08202 Sabadell,
Barcelona, Spain

Phone: +34 931 003 035


AIS-Scanology B.V. 
Laan de Wijze 20,
5835 DS Beugen
The Netherlands

Phone: +31 (0)485-561616

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