Thermal Transfer Ribbons

Both barcode and RFID data can be printed on direct thermal labels or thermal transfer labels. With the direct thermal solution heat is applied directly to the surface of the chemically coated surface of the label, producing the image. In the thermal transfer process, a durable polyester ribbon coated with dry thermal transfer ink is placed between the printer head and the label. The ink is then melted onto the surface of the label when it adheres as it cools. The ribbon is peeled away, leaving a stable, passive image.

There are three general classes of ribbons that are used in thermal printers: Wax, Mid-range, and Resin. Wax ribbons are the most commonly used class and are mostly targeted to print paper labels and tags that will be exposed to relatively benign environments. Wax ribbons are also used to print on film labels and tags in some applications. Mid-range ribbons are a hybrid design where resin is mixed with the wax to produce ribbons with durability properties that fall somewhere between the wax and resin ribbons. Mid-range ribbons are used to print on both paper and film labels and tags. Resin ribbons are the most durable and are mostly targeted to printing on film labels and tags that will be exposed to extreme environments.

Thermal Transfer Ribbon Options

General Purpose Wax:

High Mark – General Purpose Wax Prints at low heat settings, outstanding print performance on coated stock, specially formulated backcoat protects printhead

GP725 – Resin Enhanced Wax

Prints at high speeds up to 12 IPS, prints on wide range of stock, good durability, anti-static, Guardian2 backcoat

Premium Resin/Wax:

PM308 – Premium Wax/Resin Performs on a wide array of substrates including coated paper and smooth synthetics, excellent durability, stands up to rough handling, abrasion or moderate solvents

Prime Mark – Wax/Resin

Notable performance on semi-gloss and glossy stocks, moderate scratch and smudge resistance, withstands outdoor elements.

Premium Resin:

SP330 – Super Premium Resin Maximum durability for harsh environments, highest level of resistance to heat, steam, abrasion and various chemicals – Prints exceptional on high end films.

Near Edge:

Netmark IQ – Near Edge Wax/Resin Specially developed for near edge printers, mid-range for scratches, prints well on rough uncoated stock and coated stock


DC100 Wax, DC200 Wax/Resin, DC400 resin, NETColor Near Edge Wax/Resin – 30 colors