Author Archives: SafeCard ID Team

The Basics of Determining Which Type of Ribbon You Need

Let’s face it. There are a lot of options when you’re looking at printer ribbons. Sure, it can be pretty straightforward to determine whether you need a black monochrome (K) ribbon or a full color (YMCK) ribbon, but then you run into the Os, Ts, Fs, and other permutations of the color spectrum. This guide should help you sort through these options.

This is a great place for me to remind you, however, that you are always welcome to call us (toll-free: 1-888-485-4696) and have an expert walk you through this choice. Our first priority is getting you the equipment you need. For those of you who (like me) are a little averse to calling and would rather read, this (lengthy) one is for you:

Step 1: Determine what kind of printer you have. This is crucial to making sure that you get the right ribbon. These are even among the first questions we’ll ask you if you call!

a) The brand of the printer will determine the ribbon brand you need.
b) The model (i.e., Evolis Primacy) will determine what kinds of ribbons you can use.
c) If you have a single-side or dual-side printer, you will need ribbons that are compatible.
d) If you have a laminating module (if you have a Fargo DTC4500e with a laminating module you need different ribbons than if you have a Fargo DTC4500e without one!)

Step 2: Find out if you need ribbons that will print in multiple colors or just one. We have monochrome (one color!) ribbons available in a variety of different colors, so if you need something that you don’t see on our website, just call and we’ll help you out.

It may be tempting to order a full color ribbon “just in case” since black and other individual colors are included, but if all you need is a monochrome black ribbon, you’ll save yourself a lot of money if you just order the K or KO ribbon. In addition, if you are printing barcodes or QR codes, scanners will not consistently read black print that is derived from a combination of yellow, magenta, and cyan (YMC).

 

KO

Black Monochrome with Overlay Labeling

 

One more piece to consider in this step: on what color cards will you be printing? If you have bold or dark color cards, regular color or black ink will not be accurately rendered, so you want to look at a metallic monochrome such as silver, gold, or white-resin, to make sure that your content is clearly visible.

Step 3: Dual or single side printer. If you have a single side printer, you should steer clear of anything with a repeated color (YMCKK, YMCKOK, and YMCKTK are the most common). This extra K (black monochrome) indicates that your ribbon can print color on the front and monochrome black on the back in a single pass, which makes it perfect for most dual side printing. In our product descriptions, we’ve clearly indicated which ribbons can only be used for dual side printing to help you avoid this.

 

YMCKOK

Dual Side Full Color/Black Ribbon with Overlay Labeling

 

Luckily, for many folks, a YMCK(O/T) ribbon will work. While it looks like this will only print on one side, your dual side printer will simply use a second set of panels to print on both sides. What’s important to remember about this is that your dual side printer will only get half as many cards as the number of images indicated on the product page (because each side of the card counts as a different image).

**Reminder: If you’re printing a barcode on the back, make sure to set your print driver to only use the K panel when rendering full-black images on the back—barcode readers won’t consistently read the “composite” black mentioned above.**

 

YMCKO

Full Color Ribbon with Overlay Labeling

 

Step 4: Determine what method your printer uses to get the color onto the card. There are two common ones.

a) Direct-to-Card printing: This method transfers ink directly to the card. If you print in color, and don’t have a separate UV overlay that you’re applying, make sure to purchase a ribbon that includes an overlay (O) panel. The UV resistant overlays and varnishes protect the color images on your cards, which will otherwise fade in as little as a few days when exposed to direct sun.
b) Transfer printing: This method prints a reverse image on the underside of the film then fuses the film to the card, negating the need for the overlay panel included on many ribbons (the transfer-film IS the overlay too).
c) I know! I said two! But lamination isn’t a method of getting ink onto your cards. It does, however, provide protection for your image and also keeps you from needing a separate overlay panel on your ribbon cartridge. So if, for example, you’re using an HDP5000 with the laminating option, you can use just the YMCK ribbon, with the lamination layer serving as your UV shield.

This covers the basics of what you need to know to order ribbons for your card printers. If your business has more advanced needs (such as holographic film or fluorescing ribbons), please call to speak to one of our experts at 1-888-485-4696. If you have follow-up questions or would just like more information about a specific option, drop a note in the comments.

When to punch your PVC card

We often are asked by clients that are responsible for producing ID cards for their organizations if they should punch required slots in their plastic ID cards prior to printing, or if the printing should be done first.

We recommended that ID cards NOT be punched prior to printing. The act of punching a card-slot leaves a very small raised edge on one side of the card. Though practically invisible, this raised edge can almost always be felt with your finger-tip – making for a potential problem. If the raised edge should come in contact with your device’s print-head during the printing process, the print-head itself can be damaged. If the raised edge is significant enough, it could happen after just a few prints. But even a small and subtle raised-edge can cause problems over time, as card after card contacting the print-head can cause abrasions and scratches. And, as replacement print-heads for most ID card printers cost $500 or more, we strongly recommend that card printing occurs prior to punching the cards’ slots.

Similarly, we also recommend against the use of pre-punched cards. Although the large industrial presses and punches used by card manufacturers are significantly better than light-office versions, they still can leave the same raised edges that can cause irreversible damage. If you MUST use pre-punched or die-cut cards, then we further recommend considering a re-transfer style printer (like the Evolis Avansia or Fargo HDP5000). Due to the method of printing, re-transfer printers are much more tolerant of pre-cut cards than are DTC (direct-to card) printers.

For specific questions regarding your ID card printer system, contact our expert staff toll-free at +1 888.485.4696.

Evolis Primacy – How to Do a Routine Printhead Cleaning

Below you will find a video illustrating the correct way to complete a routine print-head cleaning using a cleaning card on the Evolis Primacy ID card printer.

1.  Open the top printer lid.
2.  Remove the print cartridge.
3.  Close the printer lid.
4.  Open the cardstock hopper and remove the cards.
5.  Shift the card thickness gauge to the right (“Max”).
6.  Put the cleaning card in the card input area.
7.  Turn the cleaning cycle on.
8.  Remove the cleaning card from the card output hopper.
9.  Open the top printer lid.
10. Replace the print cartridge.
11. Close the lid.
12. Open the card-stock hopper and load with your standard cards.
13. Shift the card thickness gauge to the correct card thickness for your cards.
14. Close the hopper.

Contact our ID card experts at 704-535-5200 for Evolis Primacy supplies and information.

Evolis Primacy – How to Do an Advanced Printer Cleaning

Following is a video of cleaning instructions illustrating how to properly clean the Evolis Primacy printer using an Evolis cleaning kit.

1. Open the lid on the top of the printer.
2. Remove the print ribbon.
3. Close the lid.
4. Open the card intake hopper.
5. Remove cardstock.
6. Shift the card thickness guage all the way to the right.
7. Open a cleaning T card.
8. Push the printer on button.
9. Insert the T card in the place where cards enter the printer.
10.When the strip ejects, place a cleaning card in the cardstock intake area.
11.When finished, the card will eject in the output hopper.
12.Open the lid on the top of the printer.
13.Replace the ribbon removed in step 2.
14.Close the lid.
15.Open the card hopper and replace the cardstock.
16.Shift the card thickness guage to the correct thickness for your cards.
17.Close the card hopper.

 For information about the Evolis Primacy printer, our ID experts are available toll free at 888-485-4696.

New Video: The Fargo HDP5000 Printer – Imagine

HID Global, a leading manufacturer of ID card printers and security products provides a over the edge printer that exceeds the standards of the majority of ID card printers on the market. The following video illustrates the features of this rugged printer.

The printer shown is available in single and dual sided options. Other options include high security elements such as standard and custom holograms for a single side or both sides of the printer, mag stripe encoding, smart card encoding and more.

If you have specific questions about how this Fargo card printer can meet your organizational requirements, please contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696. We would be happy to provide information about the Fargo HDP5000 to ensure you receive the correct printer system for your upcoming ID card program.

How to Remove and Replace an Evolis Pebble Printhead

Our technical area is busy with different questions our customers have about printers and how customers can get the most efficient operation from them. One popular question about the Evolis brand printers is about the printhead removal and replacement. The following video was prepared to demonstrate how to remove a printhead from the Evolis Pebble printer and then replace it wil a different printhead.

Steps:
1. Remove the hopper.
2. Open the top cover.
3. Push the support mechanism in to release the printhead.
4. Slide the printhead up and over the metal holder.
5. Unplug the wire harness.
6. Reverse the steps to put the new printhead into place.

Once the above steps are completed, the printer is ready for use.

If you need information about the Evolis printer brand, please contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696.

Evolis Printer – How to Change a Print Ribbon

The Safe-Card ID video team completed another instructional video to help Evolis printer owners know how to correctly change a printer ribbon in an Evolis Pebble and Evolis Dualys printer. Follow the steps below and you will be set to print.

Changing a print ribbon:

1. Open the printer cover.
2. Remove the ribbon from the packaging.
3. Lay the ribbon as indicated on the instruction panel in the printer, making sure that the ribbon runs over the top of the two spools.
4. Close the lid.
5. The printer will cycle through to start printing on the right panel.

If you need information about PVC card printing system, contact our experts at 888-485-4696. We would love to hear from you.

Know someone who could use these tips? Feel free to share with options below.

New Litho Grade Graphic PVC Cards

PVC CardsIn April of 2012, Safe-Card ID is adding litho grade PVC cards as a lower priced option in our PVC cardstock lineup. The PVC cards are the same size and thickness of traditional ID cardstock. 3.375″ x 2.125″ or 85.6 mm x 54 mm. The cards are 30 ml thick which is the same thickness as a standard credit card.

These cards will run through card printers as any 30 mil image grade cards. These cards, however, are not inspected in the same way as our standard grade cards. Almosst all of the cards are perfect graphic quality, but the fallout rate may be little higher than industry standard as the cards are not 100% inspected prior to release. There may be an occasional scratch or flaw on some of the cards found in the package.

Our ID card specialists would be happy to speak with you by phone or live chat about your card project and whether this cardstock would meet your card printing needs. Feel free to contact them at 888-485-4696.

ID Cameras – Benefits of TWAIN Drivers

HD Image Cam Pro

Wonder what all the fuss is when you speak with our ID experts and they advise you to make sure your camera has a TWAIN driver for the best results in making photo id badges? Without a TWAIN driver, your process of taking photos for your ID cards goes something like this:

1. Have your employee pose for a picture and take it.
2. Save the photo taken to a folder on your computer.
3. Open the picture in a photo editing software.
4. Resave the picture.
5. Open the ID card software and import the selected photo into the photo box from the saved folder.

By using a camera with a workable TWAIN driver, most of the above steps are elminated. The picture can be taken in combination by the computer keyboard and the ID card software. The snapped picture will immediately show up in your software eliminating the steps of creating folders and saving pictures for future use.

Our current popular mid range camera is the HD Image Cam Pro. This camera has a TWAIN driver and has been tested with most popular badge design software on the market. Our ID card experts would love to assist you with more information about this camera solution.

Asure ID 7 Video by HID

HID has released a video illustrating the best features of their Asure ID 7 software. This software allows organizations to design and print custom ID cards that meet the specific organizational requirements. For a quick four minute overview, please view the following video.

If you need specific information about this software and how it may apply to your application, please contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696. We would be happy to ensure that you select the correct version to provide just the cards you need.

We look forward to hearing from you!