Surprise price increase on thermal transfer ribbons? - Readability Ltd

Have you been hit with a surprise price increase on your thermal transfer ribbons this year? We’ve heard all about it…

Published by Sam Edney on 02nd February 2023 | General

For those who don’t know, a thermal transfer ribbons is a roll of clear plastic (PE) film. Coated on one side with coloured ink and depending on the printing requirements/material substrate, manufactured using either wax, resin or a mixture of both. Typically, thermal transfer ribbons are used for printing variable information that needs to be either scanned or read- think about barcodes, expiry dates and batch codes to get you on the right track.

For so many years, companies in all industries have been told that OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) branded thermal transfer ribbons are the best option out there and nothing compares. Despite understanding compatible ribbons work in a similar way, several customers have told us that they have been afraid to make the move due to:

  • Sellers of OEM branded ribbons explaining how using their branded ribbon guarantees functionality.
  • Being tied into expensive contracts because they have been told by engineers that they will not offer printer maintenance/support if OEM branded ribbons are not purchased.
  • Simply that compatible ribbons will not work on an OEM branded machine.
  • The quality compatible ribbons is not as good with print being unclear or smudging, hence the lower price.

Thermal transfer ribbons from Readability are sourced from the same global manufacturers who produce the branded ribbons that so many buy. They are often made in the same factory, to the exact same specification. So, what’s the difference between compatible and OEM branded ribbons? The logo printed on the side of the packet.

Readability is currently working closely with a large, UK based tea company who have not only received another price increase on their Markem ribbons but have also have some issues with quality. With our current climate being the way that it is and with costs continuously on the rise, this price increase is proving difficult to absorb. Making the change to a compatible ribbon once it had been tried, tested and approved has saved the company between £1,000 and £2,000 a year.

Saving money is not the only benefit. Purchasing compatible thermal transfer ribbons with Readability provides you with access to:

  • A variety of compatible ribbons, near-edge or flat head, for Markem & ICE coding machines, Toshiba Tec, Ice and VideoJet’s- to name a few.
  • Full-service, on-site maintenance contracts for all printers including ICE Coders, Markem Smartdate X40’s and X60’s with dedicated engineers and next day call outs.
  • Wax/wax resin/ resin ribbons for a variety of material substrates.
  • Supported, tested and trialled ribbons
  • 100% performance guarantee

We don’t want you to fall into the OEM branded ribbon trap and definitely don’t want you to spend more than you need to. Readability have over 30 years of experience in selling high-quality thermal transfer ribbons and are here to support you in finding the right solution- at just a fraction of the cost. A number of our existing customers have benefitted from making the change for the reasons above. Samples can be sent out, just drop us an email to or call us on 01440 712273.

Interested? Contact us today to discuss your resealable pouch packaging requirements.

Connect with Sam on LinkedIn for regular packaging posts or for more information.

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