Thermal transfer technology

Thermal transfer technology

Mark quickly and cost-effectively

Compact thermal transfer technology from Phoenix Contact.

Your advantages

  • Reliable, thanks to proven printing method, and guarantees high availability
  • Service-friendly thanks to maintenance-free operation
  • High quality, thanks to clear printing quality, barcodes and font heights from 1.6 mm
  • Compact and robust devices

Printing method

Thermal transfer printing method  

Thermal transfer printing method

In thermal transfer printing, a special, multi-layer ink ribbon is fed between the print head and the component. In this print head, a heating element is integrated for each pixel. The heating element can be controlled from a computer. These heating elements, known as dots, are arranged in a straight line. They dissolve the color layer and this is how they transfer the print image onto the component to be marked, line by line.

This process is quick and flexible. However, it requires a corresponding surface finish, so that the ink ribbon adheres to the component without any gaps. Many systems are available for soft materials, such as labels, but for hard materials such as polycarbonate, there are very few.

Ink ribbons

In thermal transfer printing, the ink ribbon is a key component. It consists of several layers. The back coating is designed in such a way that abrasion is as low as possible, and the static charge is reduced to protect the print head. The back coating is covered with a PET film, which carries the heat-sensitive color layer.

Structure of a thermal transfer ink ribbon

Structure of a thermal transfer ink ribbon

There are three different color layer types. In the thermal transfer printers from Phoenix Contact, resin ribbons are used, which contain an additional separating layer between the ink and PET film.

  • Mainly suited for paper print media
  • Creates a sharp, clearly legible print image on a rough surface
  • Low wipe- and scratch-resistance
  • Used with low print energy
  • Suitable for films and plastic surfaces
  • Wipe- and scratch-resistant print images with high heat resistance
  • Print image very long-lasting and resistant to solvents and chemicals
  • Higher melting temperature than wax ribbons, require more print head heating capacity and a lower printing speed.
  • Transferred to the material at higher print energy
  • Combine the properties of wax and resin ink ribbons
  • Suitable for paper and plastics
  • The print image is wipe- and scratch-resistant and provides good heat resistance
  • Lower resistance to solvents and chemicals in comparison to pure resin ribbons
  • Can be used in high print speed ranges and therefore applicable to a wide range of applications
  • Applied with medium print energy


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C6 The Exchange
Calmount Park
Dublin 12
D12 XE18