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Thermal Inkjet

Contactless printing by heat effect

What does thermal inkjet mean?

The "Thermal Inkjet" (TIJ) process is a type of inkjet printing, with which a print image is transferred contact-free and precisely to the carrier medium using small drops of ink. With thermal inkjet printers, the ink drops are fired out of the print nozzle by heating them up to 300°C. An alternative is the "piezo inkjet" process, in which the drops are transported by mechanical displacement.

Since its development in the 1980s, thermal inkjet has been the standard in the industrial sector. It is an established technology because it enables cheap, flexible and fast product identification. Our TJ500 and TJ1000 models offer reliability, quality and accuracy. Both printers are quick to install and easy to use.

On this page, you will learn about the different Thermal Inkjet (TIJ) printers available by Diagraph, as well as the solutions we offer for your packaging needs. Additionally, we'll compare TIJ printers to Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printers to help you determine which inkjet technology is the best fit for your specific requirements.

Thermal Inkjet - TJ1000
Thermal Inkjet - TJ1000
Thermal Inkjet - TJ500/1000

TJ500 and TJ1000

Thermal Inkjet - TJ1000 open

Easy changing of cartridge

Thermal Inkjet - TJ1000 open with cartridges

A wide range of ink selection

Thermal Jet print example, Pharma

How the thermal inkjet process works

The ink cartridges of thermal inkjet printers have heating elements that generate high temperatures of up to 300°C and thus heat the ink above its boiling point. With the temperature-induced change in the physical state from liquid to gas, the volume of the printing ink expands – a vapour bubble is formed. This results in high pressure, which forces the droplets required for the printing process out of the nozzle. They are delivered with pinpoint accuracy to the carrier material. The ink then cools down quickly and returns to its liquid state. The resulting negative pressure feeds the new ink into the nozzle. For this process - specialized inks for thermal inkjet printers are used that are designed to deliver high-quality prints on a variety of surfaces.

Thermal Inkjet

Advantages and disadvantages

Fast, easy thermal inkjet printer set-up

Print and barcode quality are precise and of high quality

Good printing results, even if the printer remains unused for a long time

Easy to use: clean, quick cartridge change

Thermal inkjet printers are cheap

Thermal inkjet printers are cheap

As a contactless process, the thermal inkjet is able to reliably mark partly uneven, moving and sensitive products, packaging, barcodes and more

Vast scope of application: The industrial printers are used in numerous industries and on different materials such as cardboard, plastics, metals, foils or wood

Diagraph Inkjet Drucker bedruckt Lebensmittel-Kartons

The small capacity of the cartridges of 42 ml can prove to be a disadvantage. If extensive printing is done per product, the cartridge needs to be changed frequently. In this case, it may be worth the while to switch to another printing technology that is suitable for larger quantities.

Thermal Inkjet vs Continuous Inkjet
Inkjet printer comparison

In the industrial context, Continuous Inkjet printers and Drop-on-Demand printers are a well-established and reliable option. Both solutions fall under the inkjet printer category. However, the technical principle of the printing process in both cases is different. Both technologies are contactless and ink drops are transported through the air over a distance to the product. Texts, barcodes and logos are applied to the product through targeted electronic control.

A technology in which a continuous stream of ink is fed through the print nozzle. The ink jet is dispersed into droplets at the charging electrode. At the deflection electrode, the droplets are deflected as required to create the printed image on the product. Unused ink drops are fed back.

Drop-on-Demand (DOD)

Characterized by the fact that the ink is in a chamber behind the print nozzle. Ink delivery is controlled by positive and negative pressure in the chamber. In principle, only the ink that is required for the respective print is released from the nozzles and transferred to the product. There are two approaches to the DOD printing technology: Piezo Inkjet (PIJ) and Thermal Inkjet (TIJ).

Drop-on-Demand (DOD)

Process Technique Advantages
Piezo Inkjet (PIJ)Momentary generation of high pressure on the pressure nozzle by deforming the piezo element based on an applied voltage. Ink droplets are ejected from the print head by mechanical displacement.- very long service life of the printheads
- for larger quantities
Thermal Inkjet (TIJ)Electrically heated chambers are integrated in the ink cartridges. A vapour bubble is created in the chambers, which causes the ink droplets to be ejected onto the material.- easy to handle
- for smaller quantities

Piezo Inkjet

Momentary generation of high pressure on the pressure nozzle by deforming the piezo element based on an applied voltage. Ink droplets are ejected from the print head by mechanical displacement.


  • very long service life of the print heads
  • for larger quantities

Thermal Inkjet (TIJ)

Electrically heated chambers are integrated in the ink cartridges. A vapour bubble is created in the chambers, which causes the ink droplets to be ejected onto the material.


  • easy to handle
  • for smaller quantities

Print examples of Thermo Inkjet

In industry, thermal inkjet printers are often used for printing packaging labels. You can see some examples here:

This is what our customers have to say

RCP Logo

We were looking for a cheap and flexible labelling solution for our production. We made a very good choice with the TJ500.

Björn Ickes, head of the Application Engineering / R&D department at RCP Ranstadt

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Thermal inkjet printers at Diagraph

We offer our customers modern printing solutions for industrial use. Simply ask us about your TJ500 or TJ1000 thermal inkjet printer. We will get back to you in the shortest possible time.

Frequently asked questions about thermal inkjet

Still have questions? You can find more detailed information here.

What is a thermal inkjet printer?

Thermal Inkjet is a printing technology that uses heat to transfer ink onto a surface. The process works by heating the ink in the printer's nozzle, causing it to expand and form a droplet that is then precisely deposited onto the substrate. This targeted control creates high-quality prints with sharp text, vivid colors, and fine details. Thermal Inkjet printers are versatile and can print on a wide range of materials, making them a popular choice in the packaging industry for printing barcodes, labels, and other essential product information.

What is the difference between thermal inkjet and inkjet printing?

Thermal inkjet is a special technology from the field of inkjet printing. The piezo process and the thermal inkjet process come under the inkjet printing technology.

Is thermal inkjet worth the while?

The thermal inkjet technology works reliably and efficiently. Due to the comparatively low cost of purchasing a TJ500 or TJ1000, you can start printing industrial labels immediately and easily.


All information at a glance.

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ITW Diagraph GmbH

Friedrich-Bergius-Ring 30

97076 Würzburg


Tel. +49 931 25076 0

Fax +49 931 25076 50

[email protected]


Tel. +49 931 25076 911

[email protected]

Office hours

Monday to Thursday

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