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Hot stamping vs. thermal transfer printing

9. March 2022 // Werner Schicks

In recent years, it has been widely heard that hot stamping is a dying printing technology in the marking industry. Many marking equipment vendors prioritize the virtues of thermal transfer printers (TTO) higher than the capabilities of hot stamp coders.

At DIAGRAPH – as a manufacturer of both thermal transfer printers and hot stamping devices – we believe that there is a justification for both technologies as they are characterized by very different capabilities.

The benefits of hot stamp coders

  • Hot stamp coders deliver constant print quality at very high speeds (up to 800 prints/minute). They consist mainly of mechanical components, which makes service and maintenance easy.
  • A hot stamp coder is almost indestructible and it is almost always possible to repair it economically.
  • Since the print image is composed of surface-hardened steel engravings in hot stamping, the ideal application is to be found where the print image only needs to be changed occasionally. The green dot and the recycling symbol are typical examples.
  • Longer set-up times compared to thermal transfer printers can be largely compensated by using an additional interchangeable magazine and interchangeable type holder. With this you can minimize the times for foil changes and print layout changes, if necessary.
  • It is possible to print many different materials without any problems.
  • In addition, the print image is also embossed into the product (depending on the surface hardness of the material), which increases process reliability or can also be used as sole coding without a color ribbon.

The advantages of thermal transfer printers

  • When it comes to printing barcodes, graphics and a variety of variable data onto films and labels, it’s hard to beat the versatility of thermal transfer printers.
  • Our thermal transfer printers are network-capable and can therefore be connected to all common database types. This also makes it possible to process complex print images reliably and in real time.
  • With the appropriate design software, the print images can be conveniently created on the computer. The software offers numerous assistants that accompany the creation of GS1 barcodes step by step, for example.
  • Since thermal transfer printers can be used in continuous and intermittent applications, there are also many options for mechanical integration.
  • Our thermal transfer printers are very different in their print image sizes. They cover print areas from a few square millimeters up to 213mm x 1000mm.


  • Hot stamp is particularly suitable for high printing rates and fixed print images. Hot foil coders are cheap to buy, easy to maintain and very robust.
  • Thermal transfer printers offer a variety of solutions as soon as variable data needs to be printed or a connection to a database is required. They enable very small but also very large print images on foils and labels.

Request advice

If you want to find out which technology is best for your application, our experts would be happy if you contact us.

ITW Diagraph GmbH

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +49 (0)931-250 760

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ITW Diagraph GmbH

Friedrich-Bergius-Ring 30

97076 Würzburg


Tel. +49 931 25076 0

Fax +49 931 25076 50

[email protected]


Tel. +49 931 25076 911

[email protected]


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