Most businesses buy thermal paper in bulk to ensure they do not run out of supplies in the middle of operations. Further, they do it to save money, as they are likely to get a discount on bulk purchases. However, you must store thermal paper appropriately as it is sensitive.
Thermal paper storage: you should store thermal paper in a cool, dry place, preferably a file cabinet. The humidity in the storage area should be less than 65%, while temperatures should be less than 77°F (25°C) during the first three years of manufacturing.
Maintaining image integrity: thermal paper uses dye and co reactants to form an image. As such, it is sensitive to ultraviolet light sources, such as sunlight and prolonged exposure to the office light. Even though thermal images typically begin to form images at 158° F, you must be careful because paper stored in areas with high humidity and temperatures as low as 104° F lasting more than 24 hours can affect image integrity. One way to keep receipts from fading is to store thermal paper in dark rooms with little exposure to UV light.
Image shelf life: under normal circumstances, the image shelf life of regular thermal paper should be at least 7-10 years, extending to 20 years for thermal paper with long image life. That is assuming you store the paper in optimal conditions. That is, away from direct light sources, humid conditions, and kept in cool storage.
10 Tips for Storing Thermal Paper
Although the stability of the paper and printed images will depend on that product’s design, degree of image development, and the intensity and character of the light source, you should always store thermal paper in a cool, dry place. If you store thermal paper in the following locations, this is what would happen:
1. Near the window/lit place
As the thermal paper is heat-sensitive, it will turn yellow if placed near direct sunlight or a lit place for prolonged periods. Similarly, printed images will fade in such conditions. Further, thermal paper exposed to direct sunlight will lose its shape and start unwinding
For these reasons, a great tip on how to keep receipts from fading is storing thermal paper away from lit places and near windows.
2. In a humid place room
Like any other paper, the thermal paper will absorb moisture and get ruined if exposed to moisture for long periods. It would help if you kept humidity levels to a maximum of 45-65%, as anything above that will destroy the paper.
3. Near oils and liquids
If you’ve ever wondered how to keep receipts from fading, then one tip would be to store them away from oils and liquids. Oil reacts with the paper coating, causing discoloration. On the other hand, liquids degrade the paper, compromising its quality and rendering it unusable.
4. Inside your car
Storing thermal paper in cars exposes it to two of its mortal enemies: sunlight and heat. Since a vehicle parked under the sunshine can hit 116° F, this is well beyond the maximum allowable 77° F. Further, you may expose the paper to direct sunlight, which will destroy the upper covering causing it to turn grey, black, or fade. Storing it in the trunk is no option as the temperatures in there are just as high.
5. In the kitchen
Your kitchen is full of hazards that can easily destroy thermal paper. In addition to the high temperature, which has the same effect as exposure to direct sunlight, there are open flames that can burn the paper. Most kitchens have cleaning fluids that contain chemicals, which can cause undesirable reactions with the top coating, ruining the thermal paper.
6. In walk-in coolers
Sure, most manufacturers recommend storing thermal paper in cool places, but that does not include walk-in coolers. That’s because walk-in coolers typically have higher humidity than is recommended. In addition, coolers undergo temperature fluctuations, causing humidity inconsistency and causing the paper to get damp, leading to paper jams and shortened lifespans.
7. High-temperature place
High-temperature places will cause the thermal paper to lose its shape, fade, and turn grey or black. That’s because the thermal paper is sensitive to high temperatures, causing it to change its properties. The same thing applies to places with high frictional forces that can cause heat, such as fingernails. Moreover, pressure by metal surfaces may have the same effect.
8. Next to organic solvent
Another way on how to keep receipts from fading is to avoid storing thermal paper next to solvents. These include liquids such as:
- Cleaning fluids
These products will penetrate through the paper and rob it of its surface color. Organic solvents will remove any thermal paper prints, which can be disastrous if exposed to paper with important information, such as duplicate credit card details.
9. Near adhesives
Physically, adhesives will entangle the paper, stopping unwinding and usage of the thermal roll. Some adhesives may contain organic solvents such as ester and ketones that may cause color formation. Self-adhesive cellophane contains a plasticizer, which will fade printed images.
Experts recommend adhesives with starch, CMC, or PVA bases, as they are harmless to thermal paper. Alternatively, you could use double-sided self-adhesive tape on the backside of the thermal paper.
10. In dusty places
Dusty places will rob your paper of its protective shield and make it lose its sheen. It will form a dust layer that will interfere with your printer and cause abnormal printing.
In conclusion, it is understandable to want to save some money by buying thermal paper in bulk. It would be a shame to lose the entire savings through poor storage.
The best way to store thermal paper is away from direct heat and light sources. That means storing the thermal paper in a cool, dry, and dark place. The storage area should be free from alcohol, high humidity, or chemical vapors. In addition, don’t apply adhesive paper when storing and ensure proper human handling as sweat will cause images to fade.