Thermal Transfer Ribbon Categories

There is no absolute rule used consistently throughout the AIDC industry, but the wax to resin ratio of a thermal transfer ribbon formulation generally determines which of three categories it falls under.

Wax Formulation Characteristics

  • Contains highest percentage of wax
  • Lowest melt points
  • Requires least amount of heat for printing and prints at lowest print energy settings
  • Least durable
  • Least expensive
  • Prints best on paper and low-end synthetics

Wax/Resin Formulation Characteristics

  • Contains higher percentage of resin than wax formulations
  • Increased heat resistance
  • Requires more heat for printing and higher print energy settings
  • More durable
  • More expensive
  • Prints well on papers and low-end synthetics

Resin Formulation Characteristics

  • Contains highest percentage of resin
  • Requires most heat for printing and highest print energy settings
  • Most durable
  • Most expensive
  • Prints best on synthetic and high-end films

Thermal Transfer Ribbon Ingredients

All thermal transfer ribbons contain a mixture of wax and resin ingredients.


Wax Ingredients

  • Natural or synthetic, like paraffin, beeswax, and carnauba
  • Generally soft, but solid at room temperature
  • Low melt point
  • Water resistant
  • Melt and flow during printing for compatibility with rough materials

All resins are not created equal. Each has their own unique properties and capabilities. The amount of resin a formulation contains can be important, but the type of resin used is even more important. Every DNP thermal transfer ribbon formulation contains wax and resin ingredients that are carefully chosen to create specific chemistries that provide each product with unique durability, printability, heat resistance and chemical resistance.

resin 250x250

Resin Ingredients

  • Natural or synthetic, like urethane, synthetic rubber, silicone, polyester, and polyolefin
  • Can be crosslinked or hardened, resulting in increased durability and chemical resistance
  • High melt points
  • Insoluble in water
  • Soften and become tacky during printing for compatibility with smooth, synthetic materials

V4085plus Versatile Resin-Enhanced Wax

DNP has selected a unique, proprietary resin for V4085plus Versatile Resin-Enhanced Wax that allows it to print high-resolution text and barcodes on a wide range of materials, from uncoated papers to mid-range synthetic films and even flood-coated labels. This resin also provides increased scratch and smudge resistance and allows the ribbons to print at high speeds, up to 12 inches per second (IPS).

So, when testing and purchasing any thermal transfer ribbon, remember what matters is not the amount of resin but rather the specific performance properties of that resin. DNP’s technical experts can also answer your questions, solve problems, and recommend products. Call them today at 855-NOW-4DNP.