What is thermal transfer ribbon?

TTR (thermal transfer ribbon), is the dry ink for thermal transfer printer. During the digital thermal printing process, the coated ink has been melted from the TTR onto the substrate to create the image.

Since the technology is reliable, low maintenance and can work on almost every substrate, the thermal transfer printing has been widely used in the packing and labeling industry.

Selecting the right type of thermal transfer ribbon for the label printer will ensure that the thermal transfer labels live up to the required quality and durability of the job at hand. TTR can be generally classified into 3 groups:

  1. Wax based TTR : mainly design for paper labels and are most common for the bar code printing. A full wax thermal transfer ribbon is coated with a wax-based ink, requiring a low melting temperature.
  2. Wax/Resin based TTR: the hybrid one with both wax and resin mixed in the coating ink. Can create sharp and clear images on a wide range of material types, and have been tested extensively with our thermal transfer products.
  3. Resin based TTR has the best of the printing results. The images printed with it have the highest durability, they also have an excellent performance when exposed to light, heat and chemicals. Full resin thermal transfer ribbons are made of pure resin. They melt at a much higher temperature, dissolving into the material on which they're printed, resulting in extreme durability.

TTR consists of three parts: back coating, lacquer coating and carrier foil.

  1. The back coating has three functions: to protect foil from burning through, to diminish electrostatic charging and to improve foil slippage . Good back coating is slightly rough so that residue from the printing process does not settle on the foil. 
  2. The lacquer coating consists of wax, synthetic resin, color pigments and additives in various proportions. The type of lacquer coating defines the properties of the thermal-transfer foil. 
  3. The carrier foil normally consists of a very thin PET layer.

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