This is part one of a three-part series that will delve into the aspects of thermal paper that affect its grade.
We'd like to take a more in-depth look at thermal paper sensitivity. Paper sensitivity is a significant factor when selecting a thermal paper for your kiosk application. The sensitivity of a thermal paper refers to the degree to which it reacts to heat (energy). A high-sensitivity product will create a better image than a low-sensitivity product when given less heat or energy. Images that need to be rich and dark require a high- sensitivity thermal paper.
Paper sensitivity is measured on a dynamic sensitivity curve which is an X-Y graph that measures Energy in mill joules vs. Density. A fully developed thermal image will typically be 1.2 density reading or greater. The dynamic sensitivity curve shows how fast a thermal paper will image or print. It is especially important when selecting the thermal printer, since the higher the dynamic sensitivity of the paper, the faster the printer is able to operate. Dynamic sensitivity curves are available for a complete range of thermal papers.
When to go with high sensitivity
Ideal for fast speed printers
Alternatively, images that do not need to be as crisp can be created on low-sensitivity products.
Standard POS receipts
Distribution and logistics receipts
Ideal for standard speed printers
Static sensitivity curves are important when considering using thermal paper in adverse environmental conditions like high temperature and UV exposure. Lower-static sensitive thermal paper is needed to ensure that the media will not be ruined due to heat from the sun or any other external source. There are Top Coated sheets available that can help in extreme instances where you might need to balance generating a good thermal image and not getting any unwanted background development.
In general, paper sensitivity is a balance of the paper, printer and environment in which they are being used. Eight to 90 percent of the applications use a standard grade thermal paper and function well. There are also many thermal printers used in harsh environmental conditions that function very well using special coated thermal products that fit the application.
Prior to founding POS Supply Solutions in 1999, Stephen Enfield was director of Sales at MICROS. His 10 years at MICROS coupled with his experience at POS Supply Solutions gives Stephen more than two decades of experience in the Point of Sale industry.