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A thermal transfer ribbon consists of a very thin film, on which a layer of dry "ink" is applied. With the help of the heat generated by the print head, the "ink" is melted and transferred on the substrate. Depending on the composition, all the thermal transfer ribbons are belonging to one of the following categories:
This is the most used type of thermal transfer ribbon. Like the name suggests, the main ingredient from the composition of the pigment is the wax. The main advantage of the wax ribbons is the very low cost, doubled by a very good printing quality on a wide variety of materials. The main disadvantage is that the output is no scratch resistant or chemical resistant.
Wax - Resin or Resin - Wax ribbons
This type of ribbon is made from a mixture of wax and synthetic resins. There are several grades of Wax-Resin ribbons, ranging from a very low percentage of resin - high percentage of wax and ending with a very low percentage of wax - high percentage of resin. This type of ribbons combines the advantages of the wax ribbons with a good scratch and chemical resistance. The price is higher than the price of wax resins.
This type of ribbon is made from synthetic resins. The output is extremely scratch resistant and chemical resistant. The resin ribbons are intensively used when printing on foils and textiles. The resin ribbons need a higher temperature for printing (meaning more intense use of the print head) than the other ribbons. Also the price is much higher comparing with wax and lower grades of wax-resin ribbons.
The ribbons can be winded with the coated side inside (CSI) or outside (CSO).