Labels and ribbons: Questions to Heiko Weber
- Heiko Weber
Head of labels and ribbon department
The market offers thousands of labels. Which material suits for thermal transfer printing?
For the most part it is papers and plastics. Papers are highly versatile. In our customer’s applications from different industries, they are in use in smooth and wood-free standard, with a rough surface or first-class with a special coating. When it comes to high resistance to humidity, heat and tear, plastics like polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester and polyimides are first choice. I am thinking, for example, of production lines in the metal and electronics industries, goods that are stored outdoors, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics.
What about special applications?
With our present range of labels we should satisfy almost every demand. Let me provide three illustrating examples. As for marking typeplates, we offer plastic labels with a metallized surface. Our self-laminating label foils made of PVC smoothly follow the shapes of cables and other round materials. And window and door manufacturers are provided labels with protective lamination aiming at easy removal after the wood finishing.
Is it possible to print thermal direct labels with a cab thermal transfer printer?
It depends on the type of printer. In case the device had been designed for both printing methods, yes. Thermal direct is limited to printing on thermal-sensitive paper. This discolors by direct heat impact of the print head. As for thermal transfer, things are different. At this, a ribbon melts color onto the label. It is possible to print on a wide range of papers, plastics and special materials. By using a ribbon, other colors than just black can be printed.
You have mentioned ribbons – what decides about their quality?
Depending on the application and the label material, we provide the qualities wax, resin/wax and resin. Wax ribbons make sense especially when printing on paper, because wax melts very well into the label material. Resin/wax mixtures make flexible in case of universal printing on smooth paper and plastics. In rough surroundings, when plastic labels are printed, there is hardly an alternative for resin ribbons. This is mainly due to their ruggedness. Synthetic resin is scratch and smear proof and resistant to chemicals and oils.
Is it beneficial to get all hardware, labels and ribbons from one provider?
Definitely! Only if the printer, labels and ribbon fit together, product marking can meet even the highest demands on quality, reliability and safety. You get this if you acquire our products. The surfaces of our labels are optimized for high resolution in thermal transfer printing. The diameters of the rolls and cores as well as the windings correspond with cab printers. In addition, our labels are optimized for automated processing, to result in maximum process reliability. Our ribbons have special back coatings to better dissipate residual heat and avoid static electrification. This improves the quality of the imprint and extends the lifecycle of the print head.
When removing a label, anyone has already bothered about adhesive residues. Is there a cab solution?
There is! Adhesive residues on a substrate are not only a nuisance but they also pose a risk to the company’s quality assurance. If a new label is stuck onto the old one, barcodes and other relevant information can no longer be detected. Our solution for smooth multiple application on a product is called cab labelbase. cab labelbase is easy to handle: Just fix it to the desired position, stick a label onto it, done! In case the label is removed, no residues are left.