A Brief Introduction to Thermal Transfer Ribbons

Thermal transfer ribbons are utilized for thermal transfer printing, a type of printing that uses heat technology to transfer color from the ribbon onto a surface. Thermal transfer ribbons basically serve as the “ink” but instead of being packed in liquid form, they come on a roll of tape; either in wax, wax/resin, or resin form.

How thermal transfer ribbons work

Thermal transfer ribbons come in rolls so it is easy to hold them in place during printing. Ribbons contain ink, usually black, and when the surface of the ribbon is heated it transfers the color onto a surface, which quickly dries.

Types of thermal transfer ribbons

There are three types of thermal transfer ribbons that you can choose from. Each has their own qualities that work best depending on your business needs.

  • Wax ribbons – This type is mostly used on matte or semi-gloss paper. You can achieve a clear printout but it is important to keep the printout dry and away from elements like oil, chemical, or anything that may break up the printer ink.
  • Wax/resin ribbons – These are a great choice when printing on smooth, very fine, and coated papers. You achieve high quality and durable printouts compared to printouts from wax ribbons. However, printouts should be kept away from moisture.
  • Resin ribbons – this type of ribbon is used for printing on more durable materials like plastic, polyester, vinyl, and polypropylene. Printouts used with resin ribbons can withstand elements like oil, water, chemicals, and harsh weather.

Thermal transfer ribbons are usually used for printing barcode labels, price tags, and other types of labeling. It is important to know which type of ribbon to use with your needs and budget. Wax ribbons are the most inexpensive among the three types. A tip for using thermal transfer ribbons is to choose a matching facestock with your ribbon to ensure that your printouts last longer and overcome exposure to harmful elements.




This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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