Due to its high performance, thermal transfer is the most popular printing technology for the marking of variable information on labels and flexible packaging. This includes elements such as barcodes, logos, text, expiry dates and batch numbers. This data is vital in the identification of electronic products and components, and essential in the tracking and tracing of parts and products throughout the manufacturing process.
According to Frikkie Koegelenberg, COO of PDC, the robustness of thermal printers makes them well suited to the manufacturing environment. "They are low maintenance, can print on a variety of media, and their consumables are easy to use and replace. They provide a print speed compatible with the high throughput of many production and packaging lines at a competitive print cost."
Koegelenberg explains that three components are essential to guarantee a good printing quality: a thermal transfer printer, a print medium and a high quality ribbon. "Because the ribbon is such an integral element to the print quality, the choice of the right brand of ribbon is arguably the most essential decision a company can make when they use thermal printing," he says.
He explains that for manufacturers of electronic components, labelling and packaging is essential to ensuring the integrity of the final product. For this reason, many companies in the electronics industry use thermal transfer printing.
"The manufacture of components such as printed circuit boards involves various phases where product identification is necessary: From the actual production process, which employs aggressive substances, to its final placement in consumer products, the printed information must stand the test of time and remain legible."
inAni's new AXREL thermal transfer ribbons were designed specifically for the electronics industry. Offering optimum durability in line with the highly specific demands of electronic products, particularly printed circuit boards, PCB and electronic sub-assemblies, these ribbons guarantee legible and durable printing.
"The inAni ribbons are halogen-free and have guaranteed compatibility with the specific label materials used in the electronics industry. These must be resistant to high temperatures and the various treatments applied to circuit boards and other components, and the ribbons not only provide high quality printing at high temperatures, they also show no degradation from abrasives. They can be used with solvents, high gloss papers, and synthetics," Koegelenberg says.
He adds that inAni thermal transfer ribbons can be found for any industry. "inAni ribbons are designed to meet the needs of the specific industries that have specialist requirements. Whether it's the electronics sector or textile manufacturing – or anything in between – each industry using thermal transfer printing does so because they have stringent conditions in their manufacturing and distribution processes. The ribbons are also available with a speciality resin for flat head printers, ensuring that they can be used in a variety of manners."
The new inAni AXRTX ribbons, for example, were designed specifically for the textile industry. Product use and cleaning methods subject printed textile labels to a variety of aggressions, so the printed image label must offer durable resistance to a number of processes, including cleaning and usage. The inAni ribbons ensure that information remains legible while withstanding the stresses that the product is subjected to during its life cycle, from production to usage.
"These ribbons were the result of understanding the unique needs of the textile industry. They guarantee compatibility with the range of receptors used in the textile industry, and ensure resistance to the various solvents the final products will be subjected to, including machine wash and dry cleaning. The quality of the final product is unmatched, with colour fastness guaranteed. Resistant to stonewash, ironing, and even to bleach, inAni has provided a solution that is ideal for any process in textile manufacturing," Koegelenberg concludes.