Thermal transfer printing uses a heat sensitive ribbon to produce the printed image. Typically used for longer duration applications, such as bar codes, bin labels in warehousing, and shipping labels. Lower in initial cost than direct thermal labels, but require a ribbon to print. Direct thermal labels are used in disposable use applications, because over time, the label surface will fade. They will also turn black if exposed to extreme heat or UV rays. Direct thermal is perfect for inventory control labels that don’t need to last for a long time. The heat sensitive stock is more expensive, but no ribbon is necessary.