Labels are stickers that are affixed to products, packages, documents or other items for marking, identification or information purposes. Labels can be of different shapes, sizes, colors and materials, depending on the purpose and printing method.
Ribbons are special foils used for printing labels on a reel. Ribbons consist of three layers: carrier, coating and pigment. The pigment is the one that transfers the color to the label under the influence of the heat of the thermal printer head. Ribbons can be of different types, depending on the composition of pigments and coatings.
The most common types of ribbons are:
- Wax – ribbons that have wax-based pigment and a coating that enables good adhesion to paper labels. These ribbons are the cheapest and most common, but have poor resistance to wear, moisture and chemicals. Wax ribbons are used for printing labels for products, storage, retail and other applications where long-lasting prints are not required
- Wax/Resin – ribbons that have pigment based on wax and resin and a coating that enables better adhesion to paper and synthetic labels. These ribbons are more expensive than wax ribbons, but they are more resistant to wear, moisture and chemicals. Wax/Resin ribbons are used for printing labels for products, storage, tickets, health care and other applications where medium durability of the print is required.
- Resin – ribbons that have resin-based pigment and a coating that enables excellent adhesion to synthetic labels. These ribbons are the most expensive and of the highest quality, but have the highest resistance to wear, moisture, chemicals and extreme temperatures. Resin ribbons are used for printing labels for products that are exposed to harsh working conditions, such as the automotive industry, electronics, textiles and other applications where high durability of the print is required.