When encountering thermal printing problems, it is common to put the blame on the ribbon. However, it is important to remember that there are three elements to successful printing that need to be correct. These are the ribbon, receptor. and printer settings.

Below are some of the common problems and possible reasons for why they occur.

What’s the difference between Thermal Transfer printing and Direct Thermal printing?

In direct thermal printing, the printhead heats up thermally compatible labels which causes designated areas on it to turn black (resulting in your print). Direct thermal printers don’t require a printing ribbon. Direct thermal printing is best for short-term use labels that don’t require a lot of durability.

Thermal transfer printing is best for long-term use labels because of its greater print durability. TT printing requires a printing ribbon—instead of printing directly on the label, a TT printer’s printhead heats up the ribbon which then transfers print onto your labels.

The printed image is patchy or faint
  • The printers heat and speed settings may need to be adjusted.
  • There may be dust on the label.
  • The label substrate may not be compatible with the ribbon grade.
  • The printhead may be dirty.
The ribbon is wrinkling
  • The printhead may be misaligned.
  • The printers heat setting may be too high.
  • The ribbon unwind tension on the printer may be too low.
  • The ribbon may be too wide for the label being used.
The ribbon snaps during printing
  • The printhead may be dirty causing heat build-up.
  • The heat setting on the printer may be too high.
  • The printhead pressure may be too high.
  • The ribbon may be incorrectly loaded on the printer.
  • The ribbon rewind tension may be too high on the printer.
  • The backcoating may be faulty on the ribbon.
The printer will not detect the ribbon
  • The ribbon sensor on the printer may be in the wrong setting.
  • The ribbon may be incorrectly loaded in the printer.
Excessive Sticking between ribbon and label
  • The heat setting on the printer may be too high.
  • The printhead pressure may be too high.
  • The angle at which the label exits the printer is too steep.
The printer will not stop at the end of a ribbon
  • The ribbon sensor may be dirty or obstructed.
  • The ribbon sensor may be out of position.
  • The ribbon trailer may be incorrect for the specific printer.
The printed image is scratching off
  • Make sure the correct grade of ribbon is being used.
  • Check compatibility between ribbon and label.
Premature printhead failure
  • Ribbon width is smaller than label width.
  • The heat setting on the printer may be too high.
  • The printhead pressure may be too high.
  • The label surface is uneven (e.g. Containing a hologram)
  • Insufficient printhead cleaning.
What are the main parts of the barcode ribbon?

The working principle of barcode ribbon:

The thermal transfer imaging method was invented by Mille in 1953, with the development of microelectronics technology, lithography technology, semiconductor heating element technology and laser technology, especially high sensitivity. With the development of thermal transfer imaging functional material technology, thermal transfer barcode printer, as a non-contact printing computer peripheral hard output device, has become a special printer with a high market share.

The thermodynamic principle of imaging is to drive a semiconductor electric head or laser through a computer signal to transfer heat to the imaging material of the support, so that the imaging material is thermally melted and transferred to the image receiving medium, thereby forming characters and images. Thermal transfer imaging material is coated on the tape base, which is called bar code ribbon or thermal transfer ribbon.

Bar code ribbon application fields:

Thermal transfer ribbons are a versatile product. With the rapid development of my country’s information technology and the continuous expansion and deepening of computer applications, people’s demand for high-speed, high-quality output printing is increasing. The traditional printing methods on the market are difficult to meet the needs of users in terms of price, printing quality and printing speed.

Since the thermal transfer ribbon adopts high-strength ultra-thin film and high-concentration ink, and adopts the one-time use method, the printed characters are of high quality, the ribbon has a long service life, and it overcomes the phenomenon of inkjet and is easily dissolved for water and Other flaws, the thermal transfer method does not require any print media and can achieve high definition printing on plain paper, recycled paper, wax paper, plain film, envelopes, labels and fabrics.


The basic composition of barcode ribbon:

① Thin and tough polyester or other high-density material base.

② Primer before the bottom to ensure uniform ink color and ink color during the printing process.

③ Wax or resin-based ink layer.

④ The outer coating on the ink layer to protect the ink and enhance the adhesion of the printing material during the printing process.

⑤ The back is coated with primer, which prevents static electricity, heat and reduces friction, thus protecting the print head.

How to store barcode ribbons?

Barcode ribbons also have a lot of contact in people’s daily life, such as receipts printed in supermarkets, etc. The demand for such products is not small, and it is usually more convenient to buy a large number of wholesales. Since there are too many purchases, they need to be stored. When storing, you need to pay attention to some things or it will affect the use. So what should you pay attention to?

The storage conditions of barcode ribbons are not harsh, mainly pay attention to humidity and temperature. When storing, it should be in an environment of minus 5 degrees to 40 degrees above zero, and the humidity in the environment should be 20% to 80%. Fifth, the general storage period is one year, so everyone should consider the speed of use when purchasing. Avoid bumps when handling.

In addition to paying attention to temperature and humidity, the location where the barcode ribbon is stored should also be kept away from fire sources, high-temperature objects and liquids. It will inevitably cause fire or be corroded by liquid and damp and cannot be used. Do not expose it to sunlight for a long time, as doing so will also damage the product. Hope everyone can use it normally.

What is the reason why the actual effect of the barcode ribbon is blurred?

What is the reason why the actual effect of barcode ribbon printing is blurred:

①The temperature setting of the copier is not matched with the carbon ribbon. Generally speaking, the printing temperature of the wax-based ribbon is lower, and the printing temperature of the resin ribbon and the mixed ribbon is higher. If the copier uses carbon ribbons of different sheets to print unscientific temperature matching, it may cause the carbon powder on the ribbon to not migrate to the printed sheet normally, resulting in blurred prints.

②The printer nozzle is damaged. If the print is blurred due to the damage of the printer nozzle, the hazy area should be fixed and the vertical orientation is the same. In such a situation, you can try to replace the printer nozzle. If the common fault is cleared after the replacement of the printer nozzle, it should be the printer nozzle.

③If there is a problem with the quality of the ribbon itself, if the printing is blurred, if the printing standard is not changed, the fault can be detected by removing and replacing another roll of the same brand and the same type of ribbon. Generally, the ribbon itself caused by unstable quality.

④In addition to the above factors, the blurred printing may also be the problem of the printed sheet. I’ve had problems in the past with partial printouts on matte silver PET. At that time, I found that every dozen or twenty sheets would be difficult to print out, and there was no periodicity. It was later discovered that the print was blurred due to fingerprints on the surface of the printed sheet (maybe oil or sweat in the hands of employees during the production process).