Select the Right Ribbon for your Application

There are various label material / thermal transfer ribbon / printer combinations, and successful outcomes depend on mutual compatibility. Choosing the wrong one can result in unusable labels. Print quality can be poor, the ink can smear or fade, and choosing the wrong ribbon can force operators to reduce productivity.

This article describes key properties of the thermal transfer substrates, ribbons and printers that will allow selection of the right combination for particular applications.

These are three main categories of thermal transfer ribbon suitable for different applications:

1. Wax

These are the most economical choice, designed for use with flat head printers. Compatible with many coated and uncoated paper substrates, they allow high quality picket fence barcodes and numeric data. Where exceptional durability is not needed, a wax ribbon ensures cost effective and reasonably scratch/smudge- resistant images.


2. Wax Resin

Wax Resin ribbons are compatible with many different paper and filmic substrates, giving excellent print resolution on picket fence and ladder barcodes and suiting both flat head and corner-edge print heads. With higher abrasion resistance than wax ribbons, these ribbons are ideal for creating more durable labels that resist scratching and smudging. Depending on substrate, they also give higher resistance to many aggressive chemicals.


3. Resin

Resin ribbons are the right choice where both high print quality and durability are required. These ribbons are compatible with filmic substrates, and designed for both flat head and corner-edge print heads. Resin ribbons give a premium quality image that will resist high temperatures and a variety of aggressive chemicals.