How to Choose the Best Thermal Transfer Ribbon

by | Jan 17, 2014 | Publishing and Printing

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The thermal transfer ribbon you use can make or break the way you use your labels. Finding the right thermal transfer ribbon for your needs, printer and type of label on which you are printing is very important to avoid adhesion issues as well as overall appearance and legibility of your printed product.

Wax Thermal Transfer Ribbon

Because thermal printers use heat to transfer the ink from the ribbon to the label the ribbons must use a material that will work well with heat. Wax thermal transfer ribbon uses wax based inks that require a lower level of heat to melt to properly adhere to the labels. Because wax is quite soft it will make it far easier to smudge or scrape the labels. It is not usually recommended that wax ribbons be used on anything that will be exposed to the outdoors. They do not perform well in moisture, sunlight or even in conditions where scratching is possible. If you require a label that is used within warehouses, as shipping labels or even for basic address labels, wax ribbons will do fine.

Wax-Resin Thermal Transfer Ribbon

As the name implies, wax-resin thermal transfer ribbon uses a combination of wax and resin in the ink. The addition of this requires a higher temperature for the substance to adhere properly. The higher heat actually helps make the ink more durable than wax alone. It will be far more resistant to scratching and smudging and will also withstand the elements far better than its wax counterpart. It is even resistant to chemicals. Wax-resin thermal transfer ribbon can also be applied to a number of different labels making them a better choice for use in multiple environments.

Resin Thermal Transfer Ribbon

Resin-ribbon requires the highest heat setting and is also the most resilient and clear. This is highly durable and is even used for clothing labels. It can be exposed to heat, abrasion and chemicals with little ill effect. Resin-ribbon is used in the harshest most demanding industries from health and chemical labs to automotive use.

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