In order for a printout to last through different kinds of environmental conditions, we use what is called a ‘thermal transfer printer’. This type of printer uses heat to transfer the image or text from a ribbon onto a label, making it ideal for printing barcodes, QR codes and product descriptions. There are three types of ribbons – full resin, full wax and a wax-resin ribbon – each one producing a different outcome when used with different types of paper. But instead of going through the specs of each one, I’m going to talk about the wax-resin ribbon, which is a combination of the other two.
Both standard and waterproof labels can be used with thermal printers that use a wax-resin ribbon. Matte or gloss and semi-gloss coated paper stocks together with polyester, while polypropylene and polyethene films also go hand in hand with wax resin ribbons. Products that are exposed to constant handling and temperature changes make use of labels with a printout transferred using a wax-resin ribbon. It also finds use in outdoor labels like nursery and lumber tags and in places like industrial refrigerators and freezers. Shelf labels, pharmaceutical prescriptions and shipping labels – all make use of a wax resin ribbons as well.
With a heat resistance of 120C°, smudges are a thing of the past with wax-resin ribbons. This is simply because when an image or text is being printed (transferred) under high temperatures, the ink (in this case toner powder) sticks to the label more firmly and lasts longer.
Besides temperature changes, a wax-resin ribbon can also withstand abrasion, scratching, sunlight and mild chemicals, while its printing speeds ranging from 20 to 30 cm per second. It can also withstand moisture and water splashes thanks to the high melting point of the resin which contributes to a more durable printout since it’s being printed at a higher temperature.
Since the wax-resin ribbon makes use of both the resin and the wax part, it consists of two layers that bring the best of both worlds, making this type of ribbon the most versatile one. Although it may not be the best choice out of the three, it is a very cost-effective option providing users with solid printing quality and long-lasting printouts which can endure in a wide range of settings.