TTR Components


TTRs are composed of 5 layering ingredients: backcoat, PET film, a release layer, ink, and an adhesive layer.

TTR Components


The backcoat is a specially formulated chemical coating used to protect the print head from the ribbon. It comes into contact with the print head and provides smooth travel and excellent heat transfer. Backcoating is especially important in the thermal transfer printing process for its protection of the print head.

PET Film

This polyester film is the "carrier" for the ink, adhesive layer, and the backcoat. Essentially, the chemical layers that make up the ribbon are all applied to this base film.

Release Layer

This acts to bond the ink to the PET film during the coating process, and promotes transfer of the ink to the label during the printing process.


This provides the printed image, and can contain wax, resin, or a mixture of the two.

TTR Components 2

Fiberboard Cores

Ribbons are usually wound on fiberboard cores. These cores must be manufactured, prepared, and stored carefully to optimize the quality of the ribbon rewind during manufacturing and to maintain the quality of the ribbon during use.


This protects the ribbon during shipping and makes it easier to load the ribbon into the printer.


Many thermal transfer printers have optical sensors to shut the printer off when the end of the ribbon is reached. Without the inclusion of a suitable trailer film, print head damage can result.