Thermal Transfer Overprinters

Full Line of Thermal Transfer Overprinters for Printing and Labeling Applications

The Videojet® line of Thermal Transfer Overprinters (TTO) delivers maximum uptime advantage and high-resolution, variable content for flexible packaging and labels. The printers include a host of class leading benefits – long ribbon lengths, fast print speeds, error prevention features and simple operator interaction – optimized to meet your application needs.

What is TTO Printing?

TTO stands for Thermal Transfer Overprinter. TTO Printer is an ideal printing product for most flexible film packaging applications. The printing process produces a very high-resolution code onto the package that is easy to read and ensures no degradation of the aesthetic quality of the packaging film artwork and design.

What are the benefits of thermal transfer overprinter technology?

Improved Print Quality: TTO Printing technology virtually eliminates human error and downtime that occurs when operators incorrectly insert stamps, make spelling mistakes, and lose stamps.

Real -Time Variable Data: TTO Printers contains a real-time clock computer chip, it has the ability to print variable information including dates, lot codes and time.

Increased uptime: TTO Printers design ensures that it is fast and simple to change ribbons and the ribbon length can be very long (up to 1,200m). Software control of ribbon tension and movement (which are critical parameters in any ribbon-based coding technology) ensures the amount of unused ribbon is kept to a minimum.

How does thermal transfer overprinter work?

1. The TTO should be positioned on the packaging machine, such that the flexible film passes under the TTO printer unit; more specifically, the film should pass directly under the TTO printhead and over the top of a hard but pliable rubber surface (known as a platen pad or platen roller).

2. When it is time to print, a signal is sent (via the packaging machine or a photocell) to the TTO unit, that informs it that the pre-selected code needs to be printed.

3. The TTO commences the print process:

3.1 The printhead lowers towards the packaging film

3.2 As the printhead lowers, it contacts with the TTO ribbon.

3.3 The printhead and the TTO ribbon make contact with the film.

3.4 All 3 (printhead, ribbon, film) make contact with the hard rubber surface and this produces a pressure between the printhead and the rubber.

3.5 Once the printhead contacts with the rubber, the miniature printhead elements are switched on and off, which generates heat at the printhead.

3.6 The heated elements produce enough heat to melt the dry ink film of the ribbon, turning the ink to a liquid.

3.7 The pressure of the printhead, coupled with the heating of the elements and the wetting of the ink, transfers the ink to the flexible film and the required image is formed on the film.

3.8 Once the complete image is printed, the printhead returns to its ‘rest’ position inside the TTO unit and waits for the process to commence again.

How to select suitable thermal transfer ribbon?

TTO ribbon has a very thin layer of dried ink on one side of a polyester film and a suitable printhead lubricant on the other side. The ink layer is either a mix of wax and resin or only resin. A wax/resin mix is often used in general purpose applications across most flexible film packaging environments. Using a resin only ribbon is more common in demanding applications where there may be an environmental impact such as extreme heat or where adhesion becomes a challenge from a chemical resistance perspective.

The ribbon type recommended by most thermal transfer suppliers will depend on the individual application and the exact coding requirements.

What are different types of Videojet TTO ribbons available?

Long length TTO Ribbons:

Enables extended run times with fewer ribbon changes

Applications: wrapped confectionery, bagged snacks, candy bars and sleeve wrappers for bottles

Extreme temperature:

Optimal choice for hot-fill applications 180-195°F

Applications: fresh-made soups and packages filled with hot products


General use solution for mid-range speeds

Applications: salty/savoury bagged snacks, fresh and frozen foods like vegetables, meat and poultry, dried fruit, and candy

Super standard:

Provides extra adhesion and super durability, recommended when film type and speed often varies

Applications: glossy labels, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical labels, cosmetics, nutritional and ingredient statements


Ultimate adhesion, well suited for applications requiring resistance to temperature or chemicals

Applications: glossy packaging, medical devices, pharmaceutical, automotive and high end cosmetic labels

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What is thermal transfer overprinter?

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