13291L-001 Rev. A S4M Maintenance Manual 10/27/05
Ribbon is a thin film that is coated on one side with wax, resin, or wax resin, which is
transferred to the media during the thermal transfer process. The media determines whether
you need to use ribbon and how wide the ribbon must be.
When ribbon is used, it must be as wide as or wider than the media being used. If the ribbon is
narrower than the media, areas of the printhead are unprotected and subject to premature wear.
When to Use Ribbon
Thermal transfer media requires ribbon for printing while direct thermal media does not.
To determine if ribbon must be used with a particular media, perform a media scratch test.
To perform a label scratch test, complete these steps:
1. Scratch the print surface of the media rapidly with your fingernail.
2. Did a black mark appear on the media?
Coated Side of Ribbon
Ribbon can be wound with the coated side on the inside or outside (Figure 16). This printer
can only use ribbon that is coated on the outside. If you are unsure which side of a particular
roll of ribbon is coated, perform an adhesive test or a ribbon scratch test to determine which
side is coated.
Figure 16 • Ribbon Coated on Outside or Inside
Note • This section applies only to printers that have the Thermal Transfer option installed.
If a black mark... Then the media is...
Does not appear on the media Thermal transfer. A ribbon is required.
Appears on the media Direct thermal. No ribbon is required.
Out side I nside