There are two types of printers, dot matrix printers and heat transfer printers. In the first type, the printer ribbon is soaked with the ink and a hammer like motion prints the text onto the paper. Heat transfer printers are mostly used for label printing. With heat transfer technology, the printer ribbon is covered with ink and a coating of wax. The heat melts the wax and the ink is transferred to the paper. Besides heat transfer technology being new, its principles exist since typists invented printer ribbons.

This new age of printing systems are widely used in label printers or barcode tags using black ink. However it can use blue or red ink also. These printer ribbons have many advantages over traditional printing systems. The most obvious are the speed, image quality and effectiveness. Furthermore they are noise free, maintenance free and no need for ribbons or cartridges. All these aspects and advantages have made this technology popular and is very useful for businesses operating in retail, warehouse and food processing industries. There are mainly three types of printer ribbons:

  • Wax-based thermal ribbon– used to hard-wearing labels
  • Resin-based thermal ribbon- used for labels not subjected to moisture
  • Combination of wax and resin – used on glossy paper

Not all thermal transfer label systems are created equal however, results can look the same to the eye. Other important aspect you need to know is that some thermal transfer label printers work only with wax-based ribbons, while others may need resin-based ribbons. There are also some that work with both wax and resin. This means you have to choose carefully based on your particular situation.

Whilst they have different characteristics all varieties of thermal ribbons can create quality images, are resistant to heat and are high durable. This is the reason why these thermal printers are becoming popular for creating long life span labels.