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Different Types Of Thermal Paper For Medical Use

Thermal paper is a relatively new invention, only being available since the mid 1960's. The technology was originally developed by Texas Instruments when they provided a thermal print head option into their computer terminals, largely for use in business and commercial applications. However other companies such as Hewlett Packard also used the technology in many of their computer printers and plotters.


Almost all paper that is used for cash register receipts are actually printed on thermal paper. Not all are, especially those ones out of the small sized beside the desk terminals, but the larger machines are all equipped with thermal print heads. The major advantage to thermal paper and thermal printing techniques is that that print is very durable and long lasting, resistant to the common fading that is seen with printer ink and ribbon printing options. Since medical records and data are archived in a patient's file this is a very important consideration.


Thermal paper is different than other paper in that it has the colored material, the dye, actually within the paper. The paper itself can be white or any other color, the dye pigment is combined with a mixture of various chemicals including the dye and acids. When parts of the paper are heated with a thermal printer head the solution melts, releasing the dye and the acid. When the dye and acid combine the dye changes color, typically to black, and the areas where the heat was applied are left with a well-defined visible image. This complete process takes fractions of a second, producing a dry, cool piece of paper with a clear, crisp appearance. There is no smudging or blurring of the edges since the reaction only occurs directly where the heat is applied.


Thermal paper for the medical industry is no different than thermal paper for commercial use other than the fact that it comes in a wider variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Thermal paper is often sold in folds which can range from an f-fold through to a z-fold. These fold types of papers are sold as pages, which can have up to or more than 800 pages per unit. There is the option to select a case rather than a single box which is most common in larger hospitals, clinics and patient treatment centers.


The paper is typically white, especially for the direct thermal paper that doesn't need a ribbon, however there are several different grid colors available. For specific types of charting and graphing grids are essential and you can select from red, green or orange grid options. Not surprisingly the grid paper can be sold in sheets or on rolls, depending on the requirement of the specific machine used. The rolls of paper are measured in feet or meters and are sold by the case. Different manufacturers offer different lengths and rolls per case and shopping around will ensure you get just the size you are looking for. Roll thermal paper can also be white without any grid lines or markers.


MSEC remains dedicated to providing the very best and the very latest in medical supplies and equipment.  We never cease to be on the lookout for the latest innovation that will benefit both our many clients and the patients they dedicate their lives to caring for.  If you have any difficulty finding your choices in our vast inventory, call our customer service at 1-877-706-4480 to speed up your order or to make a special request.  We are always happy to help you.

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