Thermal transfer labels require a ribbon when printing. Both the labels and the ribbon feed through the printer, and the printer applies heat to the ribbon to transfer the wax and resin onto the label (hence the term thermal transfer). The printer uses the ribbon similarly to the way an inkjet printer would use ink to print on paper, but with heated wax and resin replacing the ink. Ribbons are available in colors other than black, so you can have multicolored printing with thermal transfer. The resulting label is fairly scratch resistant, can be detailed, and can last a long time. View our thermal transfer labels selection.
In thermal transfer printers, the thermal transfer process occurs not on the substrate, but on the ribbon. As the ribbon and substrate come into contact with the print head, heat from the print head melts the ink in the ribbon and releases (transfers) the ink directly onto the substrate. Ink used in the thermal transfer process is generally composed of wax, resin, or a wax/resin compound, according to the requirements of the project. Wax ribbons are less expensive and less durable, and are more suitable for short-term projects; resin ribbons are premium quality transfer agents, and are optimal for long-term, highly durable printing needs.