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It’s official: barcode technology is evolving in a major way.

From finding you and your company better ways to track your inventory, to helping you to paint a more complete picture of your patient in the healthcare industry, the barcode market has exploded in recent years.

So, if you’re considering purchasing all the latest in barcode technology for your company, you’re certainly not alone. However, thanks to all these advancements, taking proper care to ensure that you’re making the right buying and operating decisions is essential.

This means that you’ll need to understand one of the most important details when it comes to barcodes and label printing — thermal transfer ribbon.

So, which one is right for your printer?

Read on to find out.

The Main Types Of Thermal Transfer Ribbon

Let’s move on to talking about the three main types of thermal transfer ribbon. In this section, we’ll briefly describe what differentiates these types from each other, as well as what each type is most often used for.

Option One: Wax Ribbon

If you’re on a budget and are interested in printing standard types of labels, then there’s a good chance that you’ll most likely invest in wax ribbon for your printer.

In fact, the majority of people looking to buy new ribbon end up purchasing the wax option.

This ribbon works well with top-coated paper stock.  Using this ribbon on synthetic material is not recommended due to smearing problems.

Keep in mind, however, that because of both its price point and the material that it’s made from, wax

This means that it will work for labels where you need a paper label that will not smear or turn brown, such as the direct thermal label material.  Some uses are organizing inventory, labeling shelves, and making identification labels for products that will be stored in a warehouse.

Option Two: Resin Ribbon

Next up on our list of the possible types of thermal transfer ribbon is the option made from resin.

Think of this as the most heavy-duty option, suitable for lots of jobs but really only necessary for a few.

Most people that choose to work with resin ribbon are those who are sending out or storing the object being labeled in extreme conditions. Think snow, wind, and rain, or even freezing temperatures (like in a hot warehouse or in cold storage, for example.)

Resin ribbon also works incredibly well for those who will expose their labels to dangerous and heavy chemicals and solvents. So, if you’re looking to create labels for items stored in a lab, this will likely be the best option for you.

This type of ribbon is also extremely resistant to scratches and smearing.  The images it creates can stand up to high and lower temperature exposure.

You will want to use resin on synthetic materials as it will lay a permanent image that will survive for longer periods of time.  It works with vinyl, gloss and matte polyester, polystyrene, and much more.

This ribbon is not designed to be used with paper label material.

Resin ribbon is used for making labels that must withstand friction and work well outdoors, in labs, or placed near or on electronic equipment. It’s even used to label car parts.  This ribbon creates a very durable image!


Option Three: Wax/Resin Hybrid

So far in this post, we’ve talked about the two extremes of thermal transfer ribbon for barcode and label printers, wax and resin.

If you’re looking for something that’s in the middle of the road between these two options, then a wax/resin blend will likely be your perfect choice.

It works with polyethylene, polypropylene, paper that’s been coated, polyolefin, and more. Most people find that they use the wax/resin blend option to create labels that experience a mild amount of abuse and exposure to wear and tear.

This means that this blend is used to make labels for retail stores, to show compliance instructions or proof, and even for labeling prescription medication and other pharmaceutical options and tools.

It’s also used to label things like plants, dirt, and even lumber and other types of raw materials.

It only needs a medium amount of heating energy to function properly, and it’s resistant to an above-average amount of scratch and wear, as well as bleeding and smudging.

If you plan to use cleaning chemicals near these labels, you likely won’t have any problems.

In a nutshell, if you feel like you’d like a little extra protection, but don’t want to go to extremes, then this might be the option for you.

Where Can You Find The Best Barcode Printers And Technology?

Now that you know more about the kind of thermal transfer ribbon that’s right for your printer, it’s time to start thinking about where you can go to find the best labeling supplies.

That’s where we can help you.

Spend some time on our website to learn more about the variety of printers and other technology that we have to offer.

Take your inventory and asset management to the next level in the new year, and let us help you to make it happen!


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