Thermal Transfer Overprint (TTO) and TTO Ribbon Selection

Definition of Thermal Transfer Overprinting

Thermal transfer overprinting is a digital printing technology that applies codes to flexible packaging, such as flexible films or labels, by using a thermal printhead and a wax or resin thermal transfer ribbon. Widely used in the food, medical and pharmaceutical industries, including packaging candy, bagged snacks, candy bars, bottle sleeves, vegetables, meat, poultry and other fresh and frozen foods, pharmaceutical and nutritional labeling and many other applications.

near edge printing

Near-edge printing and TTO (Thermal Transfer Overprinting) are interchangeable. Thermal transfer overprinting machine adopts near-edge printing technology. In TTO printers, to achieve higher printing speeds, the near-side printhead is angled at approximately 45° and the heating elements are located at the edge of the printhead. Since the media only comes into contact with the ribbon as it passes under the printhead’s heating elements, ink transfer must be instantaneous. The distance between where the image is printed and where the ribbon and receiver are separated from each other is significantly shorter compared to flathead printers. Therefore, near-edge ribbons must contain a release layer to allow rapid ink transfer to the substrate.

The printhead in a TTO printer contains a ceramic coating that covers a row of thermal pixels at a resolution of 12 printed dots per millimeter, enabling high-resolution codes. The print information is transferred to the thermal printhead, which heats the individual print dots as needed. The ink in the ribbon is transferred to the material in the intended area of the package.

Advantages of thermal transfer overprinting and simulation technology

Thermal Transfer Overprinter (TTO) technology provides superior quality and accuracy for flexible film packaging through the use of thermal printheads and wax-resin (or resin) thermal transfer ribbons. Near-edge thermal printing ensures a perfect balance of high printing speed and printing quality. The floating head can be adjusted according to the thickness of the printing material. Plus, near-edge thermal printing can print on the most extreme media at speeds up to 40 ips (inches per second).

Improve print quality

Thermal transfer printers use a 300dpi (dots per inch/12 dots per millimeter) printhead to produce consistent and repeatable high-resolution codes.

Ability to print real-time variable data

TTO enables you to print variable information including date, batch number and time etc. Analog encoding techniques such as hot stamping or ink rollers use fixed stamps, making it impossible to encode real-time data onto packaging.

increase uptime

The TTO (Thermal Transfer Overprinter) design ensures quick ribbon changes. Usually the ribbon length can be up to 1200 meters. This increases printer uptime.

Improve efficiency

Unlike hot stamping, which requires a warm-up time to bring the type holder to the proper temperature, TTO technology can go from power-on to print in less than 60 seconds. This advantage allows TTO greater flexibility and productivity in film packaging applications.

Reduce Ribbon Costs

TTO (Thermal Transfer Overprinter) ensures that unused ribbon is kept to a minimum, i.e. a 0.5 mm gap between prints. This allows more to be printed per ribbon roll and ensures the highest possible printing efficiency.

How to choose thermal transfer ribbon for TTO (thermal transfer printer)

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Structure of TTO Ribbon

TTO (Thermal Transfer Oveprinter) ribbons consist of three layers, a thin dry connection layer, a polyester film and a layer coated with lubricant on the back to extend the life of the print head. Since the TTO (Thermal Transfer Overprinter) substrate is flexible packaging, the ink layer of the TTO ribbon is either a wax/resin mix or only resin.

W603 Wax/Resin Ribbon for Standard General Purpose Applications

General uses for wax/resin tape include candy wrapping, bagged treats, candy bar and bottle wrappers, salty/salty bagged treats, fresh and frozen foods such as vegetables, meat and poultry, dried fruit and candy. Wolfbarco’s W601 Wax/Resin Hybrid Ribbon is a UL recognized premium wax/resin ribbon with excellent image durability making it the ideal ribbon for these general purpose flexible packaging applications. W601 has excellent abrasion and heat resistance, excellent printing darkness, and high-definition characters and images. The ribbon uses less printhead energy than competitive wax/resin formulations and prints at speeds up to 10 ips. Check out the W603 Wax/Resin Ribbon here.

W605 premium wax/resin ribbon for special applications

Like the W602 wax/resin, the W605 is a UL recognized premium wax/resin ribbon. The W605 utilizes a thinner polyester substrate, resulting in a more thermally sensitive ink, enabling the product to deliver resin-like performance at lower printhead energy and faster printer speeds, typical of wax/resin products. W605 provides extra adhesion and superior durability. It is an ideal ribbon for medical, pharmaceutical and electronic applications. Example applications include glossy labels, drug and nutritional labels, cosmetics, nutritional and ingredient claims. Check out the W605 Premium Wax/Resin Ribbon here.

The thermal transfer overprint (TTO) technology is a widely used printing technique in the packaging industry. TTO printers use a thermal printhead to transfer ink from a ribbon onto a substrate, which can be a label or flexible packaging material. TTO printing offers high-resolution prints with excellent clarity and durability, making it an ideal choice for applications requiring high-quality prints and barcodes. In this article, we will delve deeper into the TTO printing technology and discuss the importance of selecting the right TTO ribbon.

TTO Ribbon Selection Guide

The TTO ribbon is a critical component of the printing process, as it directly affects the quality and durability of the printed image. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the right TTO ribbon:

Substrate Material: The TTO ribbon’s choice depends on the substrate material. Different materials require different ribbon formulations to achieve optimal print quality and durability. For example, printing on glossy surfaces requires a ribbon with a higher wax content than printing on matte surfaces.

Ink Formulation: TTO ribbons are available in wax, wax/resin, and resin formulations. Wax ribbons are the most economical option and are suitable for printing on paper and some synthetic materials. Wax/resin ribbons offer better resistance to abrasion, heat, and chemicals and are ideal for printing on synthetic materials. Resin ribbons offer the highest durability and resistance to harsh conditions and are the best choice for printing on materials like polypropylene, polyester, and vinyl.

Print Quality: The TTO ribbon’s quality directly affects the print quality, so it is crucial to select a high-quality ribbon that can produce sharp and clear prints with no smudging or fading.

Printer Compatibility: It is important to select a ribbon that is compatible with your TTO printer to avoid any compatibility issues that may result in poor print quality or damage to the printer.

Hangzhou Sinoco Industry Co.,Ltd – Your Reliable TTO Ribbon Supplier

Hangzhou Sinoco Industry Co., Ltd is a leading supplier of high-quality TTO ribbons. We offer a wide range of ribbons for various applications, including wax, wax/resin, and resin formulations. Our TTO ribbons are compatible with most TTO printers and substrates, ensuring optimal print quality and durability.

At Hangzhou Sinoco Industry Co., Ltd, we understand the importance of selecting the right TTO ribbon for your printing needs. That’s why we offer a personalized consultation service to help you select the best ribbon for your application. We also provide a fast and reliable delivery service to ensure that you receive your order on time.

In conclusion, selecting the right TTO ribbon is critical to achieving high-quality prints with excellent clarity and durability. At Hangzhou Sinoco Industry Co., Ltd, we offer a wide range of TTO ribbons and personalized consultation services to help you select the best ribbon for your printing needs. Contact us today to learn more about our TTO ribbon products and services.

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