Most of the printers that we sell are thermal printers. This means that they have a thermal print head that acts directly on heat-sensitive paper for direct thermal printing, and that acts on a thermal ribbon for thermal transfer printing. The thermal transfer ribbon is a very ingenious product. Here is what it’s made of.

Most of the time, the thermal transfer ribbon is made of three layers.

Backcoating: This is a protection layer with several purposes. As it’s in contact with the print head, it should dissipate the high temperatures in order to avoid overheating, and it should be a good heat conductor. In addition, it should be resistant enough to tolerate the rubbing and abrasions that occur when it passes under the print head as well as the tension which occurs throughout the ribbon’s path inside the printer. Moreover, this protection should also reduce as much as possible the forming of static electricity.

Polyester film: This is a base support for the protection and ink layers. Like the backcoating, the film should be a good heat conductor.

Ink: This is a heat-sensitive ink layer, which is solid at room temperature and liquid when heated by the thermal print head. It may be composed of wax, resin or both, in addition to the dyes or pigments that give it its colour.