You may have heard about the concept that paper is all but dead now. This is in response to the idea that everyone keeps soft documents now, and electronic storage and communication have overtaken paper. With that being said, paper is still very much alive and well as a product, and as an importanFasturtle07@gmail.com t one at that. And it’s not going to change anytime soon; there are more than 4 trillion paper documents in the United States right now. Those documents are actually growing, rather than fading out, and by a rate of 22% per year. Why is this? Well, for one thing, a lot of people find paper more comfortable to use than electronic documents. Most compromise by using electronic storage as a backup, but still want to use hard copies at least some of the time. With that being said, typical documents are not the only paper products in use. Paper is also used regularly on a massive scale to create receipts. Receipts that can be provided at the point of sale, ATM receipts, and much more. This kind of paper is notably different from the typical types of printer paper that you may be familiar with. In fact, it has a name; thermal paper.
People can touch printer paper and thermal paper and recognize that the two are different on a physical level. However, they do not always understand how thermal paper suppliers create this particular type of paper, and where the real, practical differences between printer paper and thermal paper lie. Why, for example, can’t we simply use normal printer paper for ATM machines? Why does a receipt paper roll need to be made from products supplied by thermal paper suppliers, rather than printer paper suppliers? Both must be printed upon, after all. With that being said, let’s look into the differences between printer paper and thermal paper.
1. Chemical Makeup
Thermal paper suppliers are distributing paper that is specifically meant for thermal printers. Thermal printers cannot take any other types of paper, or as is most often referred to, bond paper. Perhaps the main difference between thermal paper and bond paper is the chemical makeup. Thermal paper is actually made from a mixture of dyes and chemicals. As the term “thermal” suggests, this paper is then heated up past a melting point. This melting point triggers a reaction between the dye and the chemicals, creating a shift in colors, typically turning out black but sometimes blue or red. The print head assures that the right parts are heated. This kind of specialized reaction cannot be triggered through ordinary bond paper, which is why thermal paper is the only kind of paper that can be used with thermal printers.
Now, thermal paper actually has three different layers, as thin as it may seem to the touch. Each of these layers has a makeup unique from the others. There is a basic substrate layer, which is essentially the paper itself. Then there is a base layer, which acts as the binding agent. It is made up of starches, gelatin, alkali salts. The role of this layer is to ensure that the heat can move through the paper properly. Finally, the active layer ensures that there are chemicals present to react to the heat. Some thermal paper suppliers offer types of thermal paper that include a fourth, protective layer. This keeps the paper from fading, but it’s not required.
Perhaps one of the main differences between thermal paper and other types of paper is that, because the ink is actually rolled into the paper itself, it’s much more convenient to use. This is why it’s so often preferred for receipts. Think about how long it would take for people to get their receipts if they constantly needed to wait for ink cartridges to be replaced. Thermal paper ensures that this task is taken care of as quickly as possible.
Thermal paper is a product that cannot be substituted for by another product. Its uniqueness and capabilities ensure that, while paper may not seem as cutting edge as electronic storage, it will not be going out of production anytime soon.