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Labels & Printing Supplies: A Brief Overview

Labels, tags, stickers, ribbons? There are so many consumables options for businesses, it can become confusing and overwhelming. It’s important to know what type of printing supplies will work best with your printer and for your specific application.  When do you use a ribbon, tag, or wristband?  Know the difference between different types of consumables as well as where and how to use them.


Ribbons are used in thermal transfer printing for both barcode and RFID data.  The ribbon is a wax layering that helps the ink stick onto the label.  There are three general classes of ribbons: wax, mid-range, and resin.  Ribbons and thermal transfer printing is necessary if there is any threat to the tags such as being exposed to weather or harsh chemicals.

RFID Tags:

RFID tags are small plastic card-like tags with an integrated circuit attached to an antenna inside and they can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Data is stored in the integrated circuit and passed through the antenna into a reader. Many RFID tags can be read by a reader very quickly, which means RFID tags are useful for high-volume scanning.


In hospitals, wristbands are used to identify patients.  Wristbands make it easy to track patients throughout all different stages in the hospital, beginning with admission.

Using RFID wristbands allows hospital staff to identify the patient without disturbing them.  There is no line of sight required so the patient can sleep comfortably while the nurse quickly scans their wristband.

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