Worldwide Contact

How to find the right ribbon for Thermal Transfer print on a label?

Thermal Transfer is used for making lasting impressions on different materials. A specific label substrate requires a suitable Thermal Transfer Ribbon. The type of exposure (e.g. chemicals, abrasion, light) also determines whether a wax, wax resin or resin label should be selected. On this page we explain more on how to pick the right ribbon for your label.

Barcodes printed on labels

How to match Thermal Transfer Ribbon and Label?

The first step is to find a label material that suits your application in terms of appearance, durability and expected exposure. Based on this, a Thermal Transfer Ribbon can be selected that prints well on the label material and meets the same requirements in terms of durability and exposure. Some label substrates work better with wax, while others need a wax resin or resin to achieve the optimal results.

DNP Thermal Transfer Ribbons are tested on different materials. To make the first step in selecting the right ribbon for your label, you can use our ribbon finder. Enter the label substrate and the printer type and find matching ribbons. You can further refine your search by adding the industry and ribbon type. Feel free to contact us when you need more specific advice

Printing on rough/uneven materials

Some materials, such as uncoated paper and Tyvek® have an uneven surface. Wax ribbons are the most natural choice for these materials as the wax will melt into the cavities, overcoming the unevenness and securing a dark print result. In many cases, more resistance and durability is needed, making it necessary to use a wax resin or even a resin ribbon.

DNP has developed several wax resin ribbons, such as TR4500 and M255, that do an excellent job on these materials. For the toughest jobs, we even offer a resin that works on uncoated paper: V300. Use our ribbon finder to determine which Thermal Transfer Ribbons work well on your label.

Layering of Thermal Transfer Ribbons - Resin

Printing on very smooth materials

Very smooth materials require specific ribbons in order to be properly printed. It can be a challenge to apply a Thermal Transfer print on a glossy label with a varnish or made from vinyl. In these cases it is important that a ribbon contains a special adhesive so the print can be “glued” to the substrate. Such adhesive layers are commonly found in resin ribbons, such as V300 and R300.

On the wax resin end, DNP has developed M265, which also works well on varnished labels. You can use our ribbon finder to determine which ribbons work best with your label material.