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Diagraph's Blog


Diagraphs Blog covers the latest in coding and labeling products

What is a hot stamp machine?

Hot Stamp Machine


By Jen Arnold, Hot Stamp Account Manager


Hot stamp machines or imprinters, often referred to as hot foil coders, utilize simple and reliable mechanical technology.  Hot stamp printing is a process in which heated type is pressed firmly against the item you are printing with a ribbon/foil between.  The ribbon/foil transfers pigment from a polyester carrier onto the product.  It can produce a high quality, permanent smudge-resistant mark.  Hot stamp machines are typically used to mark non-variable codes such as date codes, lot numbers, expiration dates and product codes on labels or packaging.


Hot stamp coders feature engraved or cast type characters, dies or wheel numbering units – typically made out of metal or silicone. To change the code, the machine operator must manually change the type characters or slugs. This is a relatively easy task and can be easily achieved with basic training.


To make the mark, the block of characters/logo is heated and then stamped down by means of pneumatic air pressure. The raised surface of the characters makes contact with the pigmented foil/ribbon, pressing it onto the surface of the substrate. The result is a clean code.


This technology is considered extremely durable and reliable. Blocks of characters can last for tens of thousands of impressions over the course of many years.  Hot stamp machines offer a clean and simple coding solution; the technology is widely used throughout the food and pharmaceutical industry.  Hot stamp coders are also ideal for dusty and sticky manufacturing environments which are considered challenging for delicate non-contact inkjet coders.


Hot stamping machines also integrate nicely with reel fed labeling or packaging machines.

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