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IntelliTech University

IntelliBar Thermal Ribbon Selection

Thermal transfer printing is the technology of choice for producing high quality labels. Designed especially for label printing, IntelliBar thermal transfer ribbons produce sharp, high-contrast, long-lasting label images with excellent bar code scannability.

Elements of a Thermal Ribbon

As shown in the diagram below, thermal transfer ribbons consist of three important elements: a protective backcoating, a synthetic film, and the thermal transfer ink. Proper backcoating is important. It extends the life of the printhead. The backcoating reduces the coefficient of friction as the ribbon travels over the printhead while dissipating heat and static thereby extending the head’s life. The backcoating must be properly formulated to prevent a backcoating deposit buildup on the printhead.

thermal transfer ribbon layers

The film is manufactured to ensure its smoothness, high heat resistance, high thermal conductivity, high tensile strength, and chemical resistance. The film also provides important protection for the printhead against abrasion from the label or tag media being printed. Ink formulations are important because each is designed to create the best printed image on a different and particular kind of media.

How to Choose a Thermal Ribbon

IntelliTech uses four thermal transfer ribbon ink formulations. Each is manufactured with high quality materials to exacting specifications to fit particular operating conditions and purposes.

Dura Wax XT

For economical general purpose printing on paper labels and tag stocks and works well with smooth uncoated stocks to produce excellent high-density bar codes in both normal and rotated orientations (picket fence and ladder). They provide very good smudge and abrasion resistance. View Comparison Chart »

Rugged Wax/Resin XT

Have excellent compatibility with a wide range of thermal transfer printing stocks (coated paper, labels and tags, polyesters, polypropylenes and polyimides). They are more smudge and scratch resistant than wax formulations. View Comparison Chart »

Dura Wax/Resin XT

Have excellent compatibility with a wide range of thermal transfer printing stocks (coated paper, labels and tags, and synthetic face stocks) but are not recommended for uncoated paper stock. They provide super image durability, are suitable for some harsh environments, are provide better smudge and scratch resistance than Rugger Wax/Resin ribbons. Dura Wax/Resin ribbons will produce excellent small font images. View Comparison Chart »

Dura Resin XT

Are recommended for permanent bar codes because they provide excellent durability in harsh environments. These ribbons are recommended for extended outdoor or extreme industrial uses and where chemical resistance is required. They have excellent scratch and smudge resistance and are unaffected by washing with strong detergents or solvents. Dura Resin Plus ribbons are recommended for use on highly durable synthetic label and tag stocks (polyesters, polypropylenes, and other plastics.) They are not recommended for coated or uncoated paper stock. View Comparison Chart »

Ribbon and Media Performance Guidelines

The chart below will help you with ribbon and labels combinations. We recommend that you always test these combinations to be sure that they fulfill your labeling requirements.

Legend    Recommended Recommended     Test for your application Test for your application     Not Recommended Not Recommended

  Dura Wax XT Rugged Wax Resin XT Dura Wax Resin XT Dura Resin XT
Environmental Factors
Scratching
Test for your application Recommended Recommended Recommended
Smudging
Test for your application Recommended Recommended Recommended
Household Chemicals
Test for your application Test for your application Test for your application Recommended
Harsh Solvents
Not Recommended Not Recommended Test for your application Recommended
Extreme Heat
Not Recommended Not Recommended Not Recommended Recommended
Maximum Heat Resistance
212 °F 266 °F 356 °F 392 °F
Paper Label Materials
Coated Paper
Recommended Recommended Recommended Test for your application
Un-coated Paper
Recommended Recommended Recommended Not Recommended
Glossy Coated paper
Recommended Recommended Test for your application Test for your application
Coated Tag
Recommended Recommended Test for your application Test for your application
Uncoated Tag
Recommended Recommended Test for your application Not Recommended
Synthetic Label Materials
Polyester Matt Chrome
Test for your application Test for your application Recommended Recommended
Polyester White Top Coated
Test for your application Test for your application Recommended Recommended
Polyethylene
Test for your application Test for your application Recommended Test for your application
Polypropylene
Test for your application Test for your application Recommended Test for your application
Vinyl
Test for your application Test for your application Test for your application Test for your application
Tyvek
Recommended Recommended Recommended Test for your application
Kimdura
Recommended Recommended Recommended Test for your application
Other Synthetics
Test for your application Test for your application Test for your application Recommended
Plastic card
Not Recommended Not Recommended Test for your application Recommended
Comments
Comments
For broad label adaptability and high speed printing For excellent scratch/smear resistance For film label stock printing. UL Recognized*
Legend    Recommended Recommended     Test for your application Test for your application     Not Recommended Not Recommended

* UL Recognized with:
Flexcon: THERMLfilms Select 10853 gloss clear overlaminate, 21830 White Polyester, 21860 White Polyester, 21940 TC White, 22830 TC Silver Polyester, 22940 TC Silver, 31800 TE White Polypropylene , TC-387 non while Polyesters, PP200 Polypropylenes with TC387
Fasson: Topcoated Polyester Films, Print-Treated Polyester Films, Cold Seal Overlaminate. See UL Approval Reference = MH 17205