Barocode Ribbon

Key in thermal printing process

A barcode ribbon is a spool of ink-coated material (usually polyester) that is used in thermal transfer printers to create barcode images on labels or other media.

The ribbon is composed of three layers: the base film (typically polyester), the ink layer (wax, resin, or a combination), and the backing layer (to protect the ink layer during storage and handling).

Types of Barcode Ribbons:

  • Wax Ribbons:

    Ideal for printing onto paper labels and tags, wax ribbons offer excellent smudge resistance and are cost-effective for general-purpose applications.

  • Resin Ribbons:

    Resin ribbons provide superior durability and resistance to abrasion, chemicals, and harsh environmental conditions. They are commonly used for printing onto synthetic materials such as polyester or polypropylene.

  • Wax-Resin Ribbons:

    Combining the properties of wax and resin ribbons, wax-resin ribbons offer a balance of durability and print quality, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.

Printing Process:

  • In thermal transfer printing, the barcode ribbon is heated by the print head of the thermal printer, causing the ink to transfer from the ribbon onto the label material.

  • The heat from the print head melts the ink on the ribbon, which is then transferred onto the label substrate to create the desired barcode image.

  • The selection of ribbon type (wax, resin, or wax-resin) depends on factors such as the label material, application requirements, and environmental conditions.

Quality and Compatibility:

  • The quality of the barcode ribbon directly impacts the clarity, durability, and readability of the printed barcode labels.

  • It is essential to use high-quality ribbons that are compatible with the specific thermal transfer printer model and label material to achieve optimal print results.


  • Barcode ribbons are used in various industries and applications, including retail, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and inventory management.

  • They are essential for printing barcode labels, tags, and stickers used for product identification, inventory tracking, shipping and receiving, asset management, and compliance labeling.

In summary, barcode ribbons are essential consumables in thermal transfer printing, enabling the creation of high-quality barcode labels for various applications. By selecting the appropriate ribbon type and ensuring compatibility with the printer and label material, businesses can achieve accurate and reliable barcode printing for their operational needs.