What exactly is a Thermal Transfer Ribbon ?
Thermal Transfer Ribbons are comprised of a polyester base film (PET) which is coated with a wax-base ink, a resin-base ink or a combination of wax and resin. The application and environmental conditions will ultimately determine what type of Thermal Transfer Ribbon is required. The non-ink side of the ribbon, called the backcoating is generally made of an antistatic compound that also serves as a lubricant. The back coating comes in direct contact with the Print Head and enhances the Thermal Transfer Printing process by preventing wear and tear to the Print Head.
Example of a ribbon assembly
Printhead ~ 300ºC
Melting ~ 190ºC
Antistatic Back Coat
PET Film 4.5µm
How it works
Each printer uses a self-contained print head. As the ribbon passes between the printhead and the substrate, the wires are turned on and off to melt the wax, resin or wax/resin based ink off of the polyester coating to transfer the image onto the substrate.
A leader tape precedes the imaging components, while a trailer tape may or may not appear at the end of the roll. Requirements for this process are a Thermal Transfer Printer, Thermal Transfer Ribbons, Label material and software.
We advise to always conduct own tests to ensure the right ribbon choice for the proposed prints
Uses for Thermal Transfer Ribbons
include but are not limited to
Bar-Codes and Products Labelling
Automotive / Aircraft Parts
Shelf Edges / Pallets
Synthetic Care Labels
Agriculture / Horticulture
Which Ribbon to choose?
The choice of the ribbon depends on the substrate to print onto. As a rule of thumb...
...the Wax TTR Ribbon
for all paper stock the first choice - popular and inexpensive with limited smudge resistance.
...the Wax-Resin TTR Ribbon
for glossy and semi-gloss substrates - universal, medium priced, durable and smudge resistant.
...the Resin TTR Ribbon
best for filmic substrates and special prints - most durable, scratch, heat and chemical resistant.