Markem-Imaje, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Dover Corporation and manufacturer of product identification and traceability solutions (as well as inkjet, thermal transfer, laser and print-and-apply label systems) has released an innovative back coating that minimizes the friction and drag between a thermal transfer ribbon and a printhead “that can double the life of printheads compared to non-coated base layers.” The base layer coating on Markem-Imaje’s Label MI Ribbons also reduce the build-up of electrostatic which can damage a printhead and other printer components – as well as avoiding dust from labels and the wider printing environment from migrating onto the ribbon. This leads to higher print quality for a longer period of time as spotting and streaking become less likely, said the company. The base layer in a print-and-apply (P&A) ribbon is typically seven times thinner than a human hair. It must resist heat while being thermally conductive. These factors create significant manufacturing challenges, said Markem-Imaje. “Poor quality base layers with inconsistent thickness and insufficient conductivity result in poorer print performance, increased head cleaning and excessive printhead wear. They’re also more susceptible to ribbon wrinkle resulting in poor code quality.”
This not only has cost implications in the printing process itself, but also in terms of reprints which may be required to ensure that labeling meets ever more stringent barcode requirements, said the company. The three types of thermal transfer ribbons in the Markem-Imaje Label MI range address basic to complex P&A applications. Each of the various ribbon types offers a high print finish and variations on heat tolerance, barcode quality, rub resistance, material versatility and speed-versus-energy performance:
- The Premium Selection is for use on all kinds of self-adhesive materials including coated and glossy papers and synthetics that require particularly high levels of rub resistance or solvent resistance. They’re typically used in applications such as shipping and inventory, pharmaceutical and outdoor settings.
- The Performance Range provides ribbons for top-end print performance on high quality, coated and standard papers, ensuring durable codes and full barcode compliance. Common applications are cosmetics, healthcare and electronics.
- The Prime Choice is designed for entry-level applications’ printing on coated or uncoated papers and targets existing print-and-apply labellers and desktop printers looking for a cost-effective way to ensure reliable code quality.
“Regardless of your choice of thermal transfer ribbon, you can rest assured that you get the best quality code, more production uptime, optimized cost and first-class global support from Markem-Imaje,” added Mike Kirk, Product Marketing Manager at Markem-Imaje.