Thermal printing is a digitally-based printing process that creates printed images by heating coated thermochromic paper. When thermal pharmacy labels pass through the thermal print head that contains the paper, the labels turn black in areas where they are heated. Thermal transfer printing uses a heat sensitive printing ribbon instead of heat sensitive paper to record information.
This produces a clear label that contains essential prescription data or other pieces of information.
Advantages of Thermal Printing
There are several types of printing technologies that pharmacies use to record information on labels, three of the most common of which are: laser printing, dot matrix printing, and inkjet printing. Replacing these technologies with thermal printing offers some unique advantages. If your pharmacy is considering switching to thermal printing instead of sticking with a less effective printing method, it can count on receiving the following advantages.
Unlike laser printers, thermal printers can create long banners that can be hung near the pharmacy space to communicate essential information to customers, such as the availability of new prescription programs, time-sensitive promotional opportunities, and advertisements for specific products, to name a few.
When pharmacies that use non-thermal printing need a large, special promotional banner, they often outsource the job to a printing company. When you use thermal printing technology, the need for third party creative services is largely eliminated and saves money on printing costs.
No Toner Replacement
Unlike laser printers, thermal printers don’t require toner replacement. This is because they work by thermally transferring information onto the label. Laser printers use one of the following technologies to record information: Direct thermal technology that has the imaging solution contained within the printer, or thermal transfer technology lets you produce high-quality printed information that can be produced prolifically or used for one-off printing jobs.
Only Print What’s Needed
As intimated above, using thermal pharmacy labels gives you the ability to produce single prescription labels instead of running a large volume label sheets through the printer. This aspect of thermal pharmacy labels lets the pharmacist create unique labels for unique prescriptions, such as custom formulated compounded medications and medicines that have a small difference between the therapeutic dose and a dose that could cause a life-threatening overdose.
Compared to some of their antiquated counterparts, thermal printers have a relatively small footprint. In many cases, a thermal printer is about three times smaller than a laser printer. At a time when many pharmacies prefer to have an open business space, reducing the size of hardware footprints is a great way to add space to areas where there wasn’t as much room before. If you operate a small pharmacy, thermal printers can offer much needed counter space.
According to recent statistics, “A thermal printer uses about 3 amps of current, while a small laser printer uses about 7 amps.” This results in “an energy savings of over 50 percent, and a green, sustainable advantage for thermal over laser.” In reducing the expense of label printing, thermal printing helps save money on operating costs, including your pharmacy’s monthly electric bill.
This is because thermal printers have a heating device in the print head and a motor that feeds thermal pharmacy labels through the printer at an impressive rate of speed. It should also be noted that the comparatively small number of working parts in thermal printers makes them easy to maintain, which can reduce expenses by eliminating the need to hire a printer technician.
Save Money on Thermal Labels
Before they deploy thermal printers in the pharmacy, many pharmacies ask about the cost-benefit ratio of using thermal pharmacy labels. After a thermal printing system is implemented, ordering labels is the primary cost going forward — an expense that can be mitigated by bulk ordering thermal labels through the stocking program at Drug Package. Depending on how many labels you use, ordering in bulk through our stocking program could save thousands of dollars annually.
Contact Us for More Information
If you aren’t sure whether using thermal printing for pharmacy labels is the best option for your pharmacy unique needs, contact Drug Package today at (800) 325-6137 to schedule a free consultation, or request a quote. With over a century in serving the product needs of pharmacies, we are uniquely qualified to offer advice. Make us your trusted provider of labeling solutions!