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The Value and Efficiency of Thermal Paper Receipts

PRCA May 24 Blog

The Value and Efficiency of Thermal Paper Receipts

In an increasingly digitized world, paper receipts might seem like a relic of the past – however, if you look closer into their composition and functionality, you’ll see the efficiency and chemistry that contributes to their enduring value. Thermal paper with its specialized chemistry plays a vital role in modern transactions, delivering convenience and speed.  

Thermal paper is a unique type of paper with a heat-sensitive coating on its surface that enables inkless printing. When the paper passes through a thermal printer, the heat generated by the print head triggers a reaction in the coating (developer and dye), resulting in a sharp and precise image. This heat-based printing process eliminates the need for all ink and ribbons. As a result, thermal printing offers fast, reliable, and high-definition images. Its versatility extends to all sectors and industries, such as retail, dining, transportation, hospitality, and logistics. 

The paper receipt industry recognizes the importance of developing alternative chemistry to eliminate the use of bisphenols in manufacturing. As part of ongoing improvement efforts, the industry has developed and continues to research products and methods that align with evolving regulatory requirements while retaining high quality products. These alternative chemistry solutions work similarly to traditional designs and can be manufactured using existing processes. 

Thermal paper offers significant efficiency advantages over standard inkjet printers or other printing methods. Firstly, thermal printers have fewer moving parts, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and lowering manufacturing costs. Thermal printing eliminates the need for ink, cartridges, or toner replacement. This not only translates to tangible savings but also reduces waste from disposable ink/toner cartridges and ribbons. 

Additionally, thermal printers produce images in milliseconds without the transfer of ink to paper. This near instantaneous printing speed allows for more lines per second and instant drying of images. Replacing the paper roll in a thermal printer is quick and straightforward compared to changing both paper and cartridges in traditional printers. 

Thermal paper receipts are particularly useful because of the unique benefits they offer. Thermal printers are compact and ideal for placement next to cash registers or for use in mobile and handheld printers. Beyond point of sale (POS) register receipts, thermal printing is employed for mobile and tablet receipts, self-service kiosks, labels, and in-house food preparation. The fast print speed of thermal printers reduces the time spent at the checkout process, resulting in faster transactions and shorter waiting times in line. Thermal receipts often include barcodes to identify transactions and facilitate the return process for retailers, enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

While the debate between paper and digital receipts continues, thermal paper receipts hold their ground as an efficient and valuable tool for businesses. The chemistry behind thermal paper enables inkless printing, while modern technologies ensure compliance with evolving regulations. Thermal paper offers superior efficiency, convenience, and security compared to traditional printing and digital delivery methods. Thermal paper receipts bring tangible benefits that should not be overlooked. 

For more information on the importance of printed receipts, check out this article from PRCA member Domtar. 

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