Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are Smart Labels?
A. Smart Labels are thermal labels, originally developed by
SEIKO Instruments Inc. for their range of Smart Label
Printers, introduced in the late 80's. The labels are made from
chemically treated paper, which turns black when heat is
applied. Thermal printers use a unique print mechanism
composed of rows of tiny pins that are heated and then
pressed against the paper to create the image. Print quality is
measured in dots per inch (dpi). The ratings of most thermal
printers are either 200 or 300dpi.
Q. Which printers use Smart Labels?
A. The principal brands of label printers using 'Smart Labels'
are SEIKO Smart Label Printers, DYMO LabelWriters and
BROTHER QL (QuickLabel) Series.
Q. Why can't I use regular thermal labels in these
A. You can't use ordinary thermal labels in these printers
because (1) the each printers comes with its own software
and the labels sizes are pre-programmed into the software
and (2) the manufacturers use a variety of marks (eye-marks)
on the back of the label that the printer uses to detect the end
of one label and the beginning of the next.
Q. I understand that compatible labels are now
available for Smart label Printers.
A. Yes, Chevron began manufacturing compatible SEIKO
Smart Labels some years ago and now offer low-cost
compatible labels for all the popular labels sizes for SEIKO,
DYMO and BROTHER labels printers.
Q. What is a Thermal Transfer label?
A. A thermal transfer label is simply a plain paper or plastic
label that needs a thermal transfer ribbon to creat the image.
This material is the modern equivalent of 'Carbon Paper', still
used to make copies of hand-written documents such as
receipts and invoices. The printer uses the same technique as
described above, but heats the back of the ribbon to cause
the transfer of the print image to the label. The ribbon can be
coated with either wax, wax-resin mixture, or pure resin,
depending on the quality required and the expected lifetime of