Thermal fax Machines

In an age where inkjet and laser technology are commonly used, even in a domestic environment, thermal fax machines are still a popular choice for many. As the name implies, they work based on a process where heat is used to produce the printed image. One of two available methods accomplishes this – direct thermal transfer using special chemically treated paper that reacts to heat or by using standard paper and a ribbon that is placed between the heat source and the paper.


Fax machines of this type are cheap to manufacture and contain few complex parts. The retail cost is much less than an equivalent inkjet or laser fax machine and thermal fax machines are ideal for small office spaces as their form factor is quite small, being much less than other solutions. Expensive replacement cartridges are not required and for direct thermal transfer machines, all that is needed is a steady supply of special ‘fax paper’ that is available in rolls of varying length. For ‘meltdown’ machines, the only consumable is a ribbon as standard paper may be used. The lifespan of these machines is very long as there are few components subject to wear and tear during normal use.


Despite all the advantages, there are several problems associated with the use of thermal fax machines, not least of which is the problem of durability of printed material. In order to remain compliant with local laws and regulations, long-term storage is often required and fax paper fades over time. It can be stored for a maximum of three to five years. In addition, if placed in a location with high temperatures, it is possible that the paper will darken completely, ruining the contents. If stored in a cool environment, this does not happen.
Perhaps the most important consideration is our environment as both fax paper and ribbons are non-recyclable and must be disposed of correctly. This adds an additional process to any recycling procedures you have in place. Therefore, despite certain advantages, if space allows it, the convenience of modern inkjet or laser fax machines makes them a better solution for commercial and domestic use.