Thermal Transfer is a digital printing methodology used in a variety of commercial and industrial printing applications. Some applications of thermal transfer, such as color office printing, have been displaced by other digital printing methods such as inkjet and color electrophotography. However, thermal transfer remains the dominate printing technology in other areas such as auto-identification, barcode, flexible packaging, tag and label printing. The reasons for this dominance will be discussed and include printing speed, printer reliability, broad receiver latitude, high image durability and low ribbon cost. Unlike other digital imaging methodologies, thermal transfer printing supplies are competitively produced by a number of different manufacturers. This has fostered a great deal variety of consumable offerings and very low pricing. Thermal Transfer printing is also evolving to serve a diverse number of niche digital printing applications such as on-demand CDR/DVD printing and ceramic imaging.
Daniel J Harrison, Pam Geddes, "New Developments in Thermal Transfer Imaging" in Proc. IS&T Int'l Conf. on Digital Printing Technologies (NIP17), 2001, pp 508 - 510, https://doi.org/10.2352/ISSN.2169-4451.2001.17.1.art00012_2