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High-quality Thermal Transfer Ribbon

Thermal Transfer Ribbon for precise print quality

►lasting, accurate and affordable printing
► broad application spectrum

What is a Thermal Transfer Ribbon?

Thermal Transfer Ribbon is an essential component of Thermal Transfer Printer. The ribbon is made of a polyester film (short for: PET), which is coated on both sides with different material:

On one side there is wax, resin and a layer of paint. The other side is covered with silicone to protect the thermal transfer printer print head.

Function and use

In Thermal Transfer Printer, the Thermal Transfer Ribbon is selectively heated by individual heating elements in the print head. This results in the precise transfer of the colour layer of the carbon strip to the medium to be printed.

The modern technology is suitable for a wide range of applications: Examples are the lettering on packaging labels or technical labelling in commercial applications. If varying, product-specific information has to be reliably printed for labelling, the process offers a qualitative solution. Find out more about the right thermal transfer ribbon for printers here.


Advantages and disadvantages of Thermal Transfer Ribbon

If a conventional ribbon is of poor quality, it will result in problems such as defective print products or damaged print heads. Even rectifying them results in additional effort — and consequently, loss of profit. Well-known products, on the other hand, guarantee reliable printing with high durability. The carbon strip used, a thin strip of plastic film, is provided with both colour and a binding agent of an invariant formulation. Thermal Transfer Ribbon brands guarantee the customer a high-quality print result of lasting quality.

Diagraph's line of thermal transfer ribbon for printers has numerous advantages. The benefits are in the areas of quality, costs, efficiency and the necessary personnel expenditure:

  • Thermal transfer printers generally require comparatively less space.
  • The technology is ready to use as no warm-up time is required.
  • The printing process is not noisy.
  • Thermal Transfer Printer work well even for resolutions of up to 600 dpi (dots per inch), so they generate an ideal print image with very good contrast and convincing edge sharpness.
  • The print results are smear-resistant and abrasion-resistant as well as durable.
  • As a technique, thermal transfer printing is suitable for high printing speeds.
  • The process is inexpensive and requires comparatively little maintenance.

In terms of disadvantages of the products, however, it should be noted that only monochrome printing is usually possible. As a result, grayscale can only be printed in half-tones. The sensitive issue of data protection crops up frequently when using Thermal Transfer Ribbon. It is of vital importance in safety-critical applications that the data to be printed, which can be deciphered from the ribbon, as unreadable. Under no circumstances should it be possible to decipher commercial and security related data. In contrast to an ink system, where printing by-products have to be disposed of and made unidentifiable.

Difference between thermal transfer printing and thermal direct printing

It is important to differentiate the process of thermal transfer printing from direct thermal printing: With the second technique mentioned, printing is exclusively carried out directly on thermally sensitive special paper. Thermal Transfer Ribbon is not required in this case.

However, printing is only possible on thermo-sensitive paper. This has a significantly shorter lifespan. As a result, this technology is mainly used for mail items such as letters and newspapers. Other areas of application are parking tickets, receipts and admission tickets. The advantages of cheap printing, the high process speed and easy operation are offset by the disadvantage of the short lifespan of the special paper, which is not particularly UV-resistant.

Process Thermal transfer printing Direct thermal printing
MaterialPaper, cardboard, plasticThermosensitive paper
Print permanenceMedium to long-termAlways short-term
Thermotransferfolien in schwarz, weiß, gold, blau, gelb, rot und weiteren Farben

Ribbon colour

Other than the black thermal transfer ribbon, thermal transfer ribbons in other colours are also available. The coating of the ribbon determines the consistent monochrome output. Be it, black thermal transfer ribbon or gold thermal transfer ribbon, the high-quality range from Diagraph takes market requirements into consideration. It offers customer a tailor-made solution for their commercial needs.

Thermal Transfer Printing applications

Depending on the type of ribbon selected, the products are suitable for a wide range of applications - for example as a thermal transfer ribbon for textiles.

Durable printing on the following materials is possible using thermal transfer printing:





Coated and uncoated paper


Due to the properties described, the precise and inexpensive thermal transfer using ribbon finds application in the food industry, healthcare, pharmaceuticals or retail.

Frequently asked questions about thermal transfer ribbons

Still have questions? You can find more detailed information here.

How does thermal Transfer Ribbon work?

Temperature-sensitive transfer ribbons are required for thermal transfer printing. It works on an efficient principle: During printing, the ribbon passes between the print head and the print medium and is specifically controlled by the application of heat.
Depending on its size and its resolution, the respective print head has numerous separately controllable heating elements. If such an element is heated in a targeted manner, the colour layer on the thermal transfer ribbon melts. The colour of the film is precisely transferred to the respective medium by means of thermal energy.

What types of thermal transfer ribbons are available?

Thermal transfer ribbons made of wax or resin are available. Thermal Transfer Ribbon are well-established for printers, which is made up of a mixture of the two materials (wax-resin).

Which label materials can be used?

It is possible to use polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC or adhesive paper as label materials. The choice of material depends on the required features.

Which film is suitable for which purposes?

The relevant application and the industry determine which ribbon is suitable for the selected medium. Before purchasing the thermal transfer ribbon, please read the relevant product information.

Here you will find information about the best possible coordination of thermal transfer ribbon, carrier material and printer settings. It should be noted that the transfer of information using thermal transfer ribbon is only possible in black or in monochrome. Multicolour printing therefore requires different solutions.

Technical data

Thermal Transfer
Typ 200 Typ 202 Typ 405 Typ 408 Typ 409
Suitable for
Printing speedmediumfastmediummediummedium
MaterialWax / ResinWax / ResinResinWax / ResinWax / Resin
Suitable for
Paper coatedYesYesYesNoYes
Paper not coatedYesYesYesNoYes
Industry sectors
Shipping logisticsYesNoYesNoYes
Retail tradeYesYesYesYesYes
Packaging filmsYesYesYesYesYes
Contact with foodYesYesYesYesYes
Technical data
Wax / ResinWax / ResinWax / ResinWax / ResinResinWax / Resin
ColoursblackBlack, whiteblack, red, green, blue, white, orange, brown, purple, yellowblack, red, green, blue, whiteBlack, grey

Are you unable to locate your thermal Transfer Ribbon? We will gladly assist you in finding a suitable ribbon!
Please contact us on 0931 250760 or via our contact form.


All information at a glance.

This is what our customers have to say

fritz holding logo

I was very pleased with the quick response from customer service. That's what I call a great service!

Oliver Rück, Industrial Engineering Specialist, Richard Fritz Holding GmbH, Aurach

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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]

Office hours

Monday to Thursday

08:00 - 17:00


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