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Storing Thermal Paper

3 January 2014

Thermal paper is not something that people think of very often, but it is something that is used by virtually every business that provides a product or service to consumers. It is used in cash registers, ATMs, automated petrol pumps and many other point of sale (POS) functions.


Because thermal printing doesn’t require inks but instead relies on the thermal heating of the paper to create the desired image and/or words, the paper is coated with special heat-reactive chemicals. These turn the paper black where heat is applied. For this reason, it’s essential that you store thermal paper correctly to prevent the paper from being damaged.

Thermal paper rolls should be stored out of direct sunlight, as if you store the paper somewhere that is very warm or that can get very warm it’s likely that the heat-reactive paper will begin the chemical change. As a result, parts of the paper will begin to blacken. For example, any businesses that have very hot pieces of equipment (such as restaurants) should take care not to store their thermal paper near to ovens or heat-lamps.


It is also important that you store your thermal paper somewhere that is dry, as the paper will be compromised if it gets wet. This is also true of other liquids and oils, so make sure that your rolls are kept only with other dry materials. If thermal paper is stored somewhere humid, the paper will become less rigid, which can lead to the paper jamming inside the thermal printer. After this the paper will become mouldy and will no longer be usable.


A great way to prevent this from happening is to leave your thermal paper inside the plastic coating that it is delivered in until you need to use it. However, this is not guaranteed to completely protect the paper, so you should still keep the paper in a dry and cool place.


If you know it will take a while to get through your stock of thermal paper, we advise ordering small amounts periodically throughout the year, instead of ordering a year’s worth at once. You may pay slightly more to have it delivered more frequently, but in the long run you will save money on any rolls that have been damaged by water or heat contamination.