Thermal Transfer Ribbon Technology

Thermal Transfer Ribbon Technology

Mar 03, 2020

Simply put, thermal transfer printing is the process of transferring ink from carbon ribbon media to paper or film with heat and pressure. When the label passes through the printer's print head and pinch, the ink is transferred to the label.

Composition of thermal transfer ribbon

Thermal transfer ribbon is polyester or other high-density film coated with wax-based, resin-based or mixed ink on one side. Apply lubricant to the side where there is no ink to prevent wear and damage of the print head. The handle and the front lead are in front of the carbon ribbon, and the rear lead is at the end of a roll (some do not have a rear lead).

Leading tape (Leader Tape): The leading tape is generally transparent or other colors, he has the following functions

* Easy to use: convenient to put the ribbon on the printer

* Product logo: You can print the product name, company name and trademark, etc. for marketing and sales promotion.

* Protection function: used to protect the carbon belt.

Composition of the original tape

The original tape is generally composed of five layers, top coating, ink layer, inner coating, tape base and back coating.

The ink layer is the most important, used to print and determine the use characteristics of the carbon ribbon, such as chemical resistance and anti-friction.

The inner coating is mainly used to smooth the printed surface and make the ink release from the tape base uniform.

The tape base is the carrier of the other layers and determines the thermal conductivity.

The top coat is mainly used to improve the adhesion of the ink on the label and enhance the environmental resistance.

Back coating is simply a special coating applied to the back of the carbon ribbon. Its main function is to reduce print head wear; reduce static electricity generation and enhance heat conduction.

Trailer Tape Generally speaking, it acts as a warning to let the printer sense the end of the ribbon. Different printers determine different rear leader tapes. There are three main types of trailer tapes:

1. Aluminum plating (silver): mainly for reflective sensors, reflected light indicates the end of the ribbon.

2. Transparency: used for transmissive sensors, allowing light to pass to indicate that the ribbon is used up.

3. Used for mechanical sensing, the change of the printer's induced tension indicates that the ribbon is used up.


There are two common types of carbon cores, paper and plastic. The main requirements are that they cannot be deformed and cannot slide during printing.