Cohesive Ink Failure in Thermal Transfer Printing

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Thermal Transfer Ribbon (TTR) printing is a useful digital marking technology for printing on-demand bar code labels. Over the past decade, a number of advances have taken place with both the printing mechanism and media to enhance image performance in terms of print speed, image durability, print quality, resolution, and cost of ownership.

This technical paper investigates a printing defect referred to as “ink split”, a phenomenon that manifests itself under certain printing conditions. As part of this investigation, the TTR printing model is revisited. Empirical evidence of the ink split defect is reviewed. Conventional thermal transfer ink layer construction is described. A cohesive failure mode is described in terms of the printing model and includes a description of crack propagation that occurs within the ink structure during the printing process.

From this analysis we have found that complex ink formulations and multiple ink layer constructions in conjunction with high print speed have the potential to produce this ink split defect. The severity is influenced by temperature and nip pressure conditions. Furthermore, this defect can be reduced and eliminated by several different print system modifications.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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