thermal transfer ribbons

experience.performance let our waxes sharpen up your image

Controlled melting point waxes

Crude waxes can exhibit significant variability, both batch-to-batch as well as between different sources. Paramelt are able to select and refine a broad range of both mineral and synthetic base waxes to provide a tightly controlled starting point for ink formulation in terms of melting point, melting range and viscosity.

Specialty wax blends

Paramelt has access to an extensive range of natural and mineral waxes and resins as well producing its own, wax stable, pigment concentrates. We are able to produce tightly controlled blends under GMP manufacturing conditions allowing customers to simplify and reduce costs in their manufacturing operation.

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our range of speciality waxes for thermal transfer ribbons

Paramelt offers a range of selected mineral and synthetic waxes for use in thermal transfer applications, where the melting and rheological characteristics are carefully controlled to provide consistent performance in this critical application.

In addition to these base wax types, Paramelt is able to further engineer the materials to offer customized products with even more tightly controlled characteristics for enhanced printing performance. The following illustrations highlight the considerable thermal and flow impact that can be achieved by targeted refining.

In broad terms, mineral waxes consist of linear chains of hydrocarbons, the so-called n-alkanes or paraffins.

These linear molecules show a direct relationship between melting point and chain length. Most paraffinic waxes are refined from crude oil by vacuum distillation over a defined temperature range, reflecting a distribution in chain lengths.

Depending on the source of the crude oil, this boiling point fraction will contain a different distribution both of chain length and degree of branching. As a result, the melting and congealing behaviour of the resultant ‘wax’ is highly dependent on both the feedstock as well as refinery process conditions.

chain length vs melting point

In addition to the mineral waxes, linear hydrocarbon waxes can be produced by synthetic means via the so-called Fischer-Tropsch process or low molecular weight polyethylene waxes using both Ziegler-Natta and metallocene catalysis.

Whilst synthetic processes do allow a more consistent and reproducible molecular weight distribution, these waxes still benefit from further refining to tighten up the distribution to give sharper response behaviour for thermal transfer printing both in terms of melting and rheological behaviour.

Wax ribbons
Wax ribbons form the largest segment in the thermal transfer market. These ribbons are widely used in combination with paper based or paper like substrates, where substrate adhesion is relatively straightforward and long-term durability is not specifically required for applications such as ticketing, address labelling and FMCG.

In these applications, the wax ink is typically based on a blend of mineral, synthetic and natural waxes to offer control of melting behavior (print head temperature), flow and setting, adhesion and robustness of the final image against abrasion and thermal exposure. Tackifier resins are often incorporated to boost cohesion and assist with specific adhesion requirements.

Wax/resin ribbons
For applications requiring additional durability, increasing levels of resin and natural waxes are used, and at the upper end, polymers such as EVA may be introduced, in order to boost the internal cohesion of the formulation as well as the scratch and rub resistance. Critical applications include examples such as pharmaceutical and medical labels, blood bags and food packaging, where traceability must be assured.

In addition to the sourcing and modification of base raw materials, Paramelt are able to develop and produce bespoke blends of the key components in wax based TTR inks, either as a concentrate for subsequent dilution in the customers’ facility or as a ready to use product recipe.

Paramelt also have a dedicated color concentrate facility, allowing for the controlled dispersion of critical pigments in vegetable and mineral media to complement its wax blending capabilities.

Paramelt’s manufacturing facilities are able to handle materials across a broad viscosity range from 1 to 1 million mPa.s and are operated under ISO and GMP conditions. In addition to the highly controlled production environment, the operation is supported by well-equipped, quality and analytical laboratories for optimum characterization and control.

Please contact us to select the right product for your process and performance requirements.

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