Thermal Printing vs Hot Foil: What’s the difference?
PackMark Blog October Thermal vs Hot Foil


Pyrotec Newsletter, October 2019:
Thermal Transfer Overprinting (TTO) and hot foil stamping are significantly different. However, both require heat, pressure and dwell (time) to apply an image to a packaging material.

With heat transfers, a pre-printed image using silkscreen, gravure, flexography or digital printing is released onto a release paper or film. On the other hand, hot stamp images are created by a die. Heat transfers can be one-colour or multi-coloured images, while hot stamping is generally one colour.

Hot foil stamping is a manual operation that melts onto a substrate from a heated template pressing onto a ribbon. Application can be continuous or intermittent.

With thermal transfer printing, the printhead makes contact with the flexible substrate. Tiny heating elements are precisely heated to transfer the image while digital software controls the process. As with hot foil stamping, application can be continuous or intermittent.

The 8018 from Markem-Imaje, locally available from Pyrotec PackMark, delivers efficiency and quality. For companies wanting to improve their corporate image and profitability, manual hot foil technology can be replaced with real-time digital coding.

Benefits include:

  • Impeccable thermal transfer print quality throughout the roll.
  • New resin ribbon producing codes that do not rub off or smudge.
  • Improved print speed up to 150 packs a minute with a 10mm two-line date code.
  • No manual adjustment required from the first print to the last of the roll.
  • Optimised ribbon usage thanks to 1mm gap between prints.
  • A radial ribbon saving option to further reduce ribbon consumption and cost.

One of the biggest benefits customers see when they switch from hot foil to thermal transfer printing for flexible packaging lines is the reduction in operating costs. While the initial outlay for a thermal transfer printer is greater than that for hot foil, operational and consumable costs for the TTO are cheaper.


For more information about switching from hot foil stamping to thermal printing, visit