The thermal transfer printing process involves the use of a ribbon along with rolled or fan-folded labels. Like direct thermal, heat plays a part in thermal transfer printing; however, the heat does not come into contact with the media. Instead, the hot printhead melts ink in the ribbon to create a sharp, crisp image on the label’s surface. Heating elements inside the printhead turn on and off, forming graphics, text, or barcodes. Due to the superior quality and durability of the images produced, thermal transfer printing is a popular choice for a variety of applications. Since there is less wear on the printhead with this system, equipment tends to last longer. Additionally, thermal transfer printing can be used with many different label substrates. A thermal transfer printing system is ideal for applications that require excellent scanability and long shelf life.