Selecting the right type of thermal transfer ribbon for your specific printing application will ensure that you print thermal labels that provide you with the required quality and durability for the job at hand. There are three basic types of thermal ribbons available for most Thermal Transfer printers: full wax ribbons, wax-resin ribbons, and full-resin ribbons. This article will provide you with information that should allow you to make a decision on which ribbon type will be most suitable for your application.
The most common type of thermal transfer ribbon is the full wax ribbon. Wax thermal transfer ribbons are typically recommended for use on uncoated paper stock. While full wax ribbons provide a less durable print than their counterparts, they are also considerably less expensive.
A full wax thermal transfer ribbon is coated with a wax-based ink. During the printing process, heat from the printer's print-head will melt the wax-based ink and transfer it to the surface of the thermal transfer labels, forming the desired printed area.
Full wax ribbons require a lower melting temperature than their counterparts, and are ideal for paper based materials. Applications that are well suited for full wax ribbons include: shipping labels, shelf and bin labels, retail labels, and warehouse labels.
While not as cost effective as full wax ribbons, wax-resin ribbons are very popular because of the significantly more durable printed area they provide.
The printing process is actually very similar to the full wax printing process, where a hybrid of wax and resin based ink is melted and transferred on to the surface of the labels. The printed area will be a sharp, clear image that is much more resistant to heavy handling, chemicals, and temperature changes.
The melting temperature required for wax-resin ribbons falls between that of full wax ribbons and full resin ribbons. Wax-resin ribbons are ideal for a wide range of material types, from uncoated paper stock to coated, glossy paper stock as well. Wax-resin thermal ribbons have been tested extensively with our Thermal Transfer products and will provide a very high quality image. Applications well suited for wax-resin ribbons include: bar code labels, shipping labels, pharmaceutical and prescription labels, and shelf and bin labels.
Full resin thermal ribbons will be considerably more expensive compared to full wax ribbons or wax-resin ribbons. This type of ribbon is generally intended for use on non-paper, synthetic stocks and will offer the highest durability of any ribbon type.
Because our company currently only provides paper based label stock for Thermal Transfer printers, full resin thermal ribbons may be considered unnecessary if you are in the market for thermal ribbons. Of course, if you are currently using full resin thermal ribbons for other applications, this type of ribbon should have no problem printing on our
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