What is a Thermal Transfer Overprinter?
A thermal transfer overprinter (TTO) is a printing technology that is used to apply variable information, such as batch codes, barcodes, best before dates, logos, etc., in monochrome colors onto packaging films or labels. It is commonly used in manufacturing, food processing, and packaging industries, including human and pet food, pharmaceutical manufacturing, comment packaging, beverage, dairy, cheese, and more. The TTO uses a near-edge printhead that applies heat onto a ribbon, melting the ink onto the substance, producing long-lasting and high-quality prints.
Benefits of TTOs
The TTO technology offers numerous benefits, such as efficiency and cost savings. For instance, TTOs print within less than 60 seconds, and it reduces the need to change characters physically, which is required in hot stamps. Additionally, TTOs offer ribbon savings, with a minimum length of 600 meters and a maximum length of 1000 meters, and the ribbon-saving option ensures no ribbon waste. It can be up to 0.5 millimeters between each print, and the cost per print is low. For example, a roll of ribbon that measures 32mm x 600m costs around $26 + GST, and it can produce up to 150,000 prints.
Using thermal ribbons, TTOs enable businesses to print information accurately on various surfaces, online or offline mode, without smudging or fading. This ensures the information remains legible, allowing companies to easily track their products with batch code numbers. The quick printing speeds offered by TTOs also reduce production times, increasing production volumes in less time. Furthermore, the flexibility of customization options available with TTOs allows operators to create unique designs quickly and efficiently according to changing trends or customer demands.
Setup & Operation
To ensure optimal performance from a thermal transfer overprinter, proper setup and operation procedures should be followed. Setting up a thermal transfer overprinter requires several steps, such as ensuring the machine is installed in a dust-free and dry area, installing the template software on a PC, and uploading the template to the printer. TTOs can be operated in online and offline modes, and they can print real-time variable data. Maintenance is required every quarter or RDO to maximize efficiency and prolong the life of TTOs.
Different Types of TTOs
There are several different types of TTOs available, in print widths of 32mm, 53mm, 107mm, and 128mm. They can be used depending on the amount of information required to be printed onto the product. TTOs can also be traversing, printing from right to left, up and down using an XY mechanism SAVEMA XY Movement Mechanism system. It is suitable for multi-line packaging machines that can pack more than one horizontal and vertical at one time, such as thermoform machines. TTOs can also be fixed, mounted in a fixed bracket onto the machine, such as a flow wrapper, bagging machine, or label applicator.
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