Thermal printing is digital printing and involves the use of heat. There are two types of thermal printing. Direct Thermal printing is carried out with selectively heating thermo-chromic paper as it is passed over the printer head. The paper is chemically coated which makes it heat-sensitive turning black with the application of heat and is also called thermal paper. No ink or toner is required in this kind of printing. However printing is only in black and white and may not last long. Therefore direct thermal printing is suitable for labels for temporary use and therefore commonly used for printing shipping labels, bar codes, receipts and name tag labels.
Another kind of thermal printing is the Thermal Transfer Printing. It uses a ribbon as the media that is subject to heat and the molten coating on this ribbon is transferred as print. This is also a digital printing method, but involves the use of a ribbon, produces longer lasting prints and coloured prints too.