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IntelliTech University

Thermal Label & Media Selection


Each component of the label printing system relies on the other to produce the results you need, therefore, when labels are properly matched with ribbons and the IntelliBar printer, you will obtain the optimal labeling solution.

Labels and Tags

Labels and tags are an integral part of your labeling system.

Labels generally consist of three basic parts:

  • facestock
  • adhesive
  • liner

Each component is manufactured using materials to fit particular operating conditions and purposes. Facestock is important because it is the foundation of the printed image. Label facestocks are made from either:

  • paper material
  • synthetic material

They can also be treated with special coatings for a variety of applications, which take into consideration:

  • label longevity
  • print speeds
  • environmental concerns
  • smudge and scratch resistance.

Anatomy of Labels and Tags

  • Label Facestock
  • Label Adhesive
  • Label Liner

The first component of any label is the the choice of facestock which affects the choice of ribbon since not all facestocks are compatible with all ribbons. The smooth surface of thermal transfer facestock results in labels that are highly readable with controlled ink absorption for good smear and bleed resistance -- the key to a high-quality image.

The key to a high-quality printed image results from

  • The smooth surface of thermal transfer facestock in labels that are highly readable with controlled ink absorption for good smear and bleed resistance

The second component of any label is the adhesive. Selection of adhesives is important because they affix the label to the desired surface. Thermal labels usually incorporate pressure sensitive adhesives to satisfy a wide variety of needs. There are two general categories of these pressure sensitive adhesives:

  • permanent
  • removable

There are a number of adhesive formulations within each category.


The label liner is important because it carries the label during the printing process. It prevents the label from becoming unintentionally attached to a surface. The label liner is usually a silicone coated paper.

In addition to various combinations of facestocks and adhesives, labels are available in many different formats. These formats can be differentiated by:

  • perforations
  • continuous
  • die cut
  • butt cut
  • preprinted
  • white or colored

Definitions of these formats can be found in the Glossary.

For assistance with your label printing solution, contact IntelliTech International directly at (978) 212-7200 or or describe your label application needs through our Contact Form and our label experts will help you find the best solution.