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.
Have you ever noticed that some PVC Cards are thinner than others? No they don’t hit the gym more often – they are just a variation of PVC card stock that is used for different purposes in the ID industry. Thin PVC cards are typically only 10 mil, or 0.010″ thick.
In one example, thin PVC cards are used to produce professional business cards. Doing so will produce a card that is more durable than its ordinary paper counterpart. Designed properly, it will include high-quality imagery, including photo quality logos and even a personal photograph. Not only do these PVC cards hold up better – a PVC business card will help you stand out from the pack!
Thin PVC Cards that are also adhesive-backed are commonly used with proximity-access cards, such as the HID Prox II Clamshell. Clamshell-style cards are too large and thick for standard ID-card printers. Instead, print first on a thin PVC card, and then affix it to the thicker technology card. Not only does this allow for reuse of expensive proximity access cards, but it allows them to double as photo-ID cards!
Our adhesive-backed thin PVC cards can be printed with most any direct-to-card printer, and are just slightly smaller than standard CR80 PVC cards. This smaller size allows the cards to fit neatly onto a proximity card without overlapping the edges. Note that not all ID card printers can accommodate thin PVC cards. They specifically should NOT be used in retransfer-type printers, like Fargo HDP series or the Evolis Avansia. This is due to the extremely-high heat these printer can generate. So be sure to check the usage guidelines for your specific printer model.
Sometimes when printing secure ID cards we forget it is also important to secure the system that creates the cards. There are several printer models are available with advanced printer security features to deter theft and unauthorized access.
One of the easiest ways to safeguard your ID card printer is with password protection. The Fargo DTC4500 and Zebra ZXP Series 8 printers can be password protected. When activated, users must enter the security code in order to use the printer. ID software programs can also be password protected adding an additional layer of protection to your printing program.
To secure the printer to its workstation, some printers are set up to support a lock. This effective theft deterrent is available on several printers, including the Datacard SP75 plus and the Zebra ZXP Series 3.
Your card supplies are another important item to protect as replacing stolen supplies can be costly, especially expensive HID proximity or smart cards. Make certian to store them in a locked location so your printer supplies don’t get into the wrong hands reducing the risk of fraud.
For more information about ID Card Printer security, contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.
When printing your HID Access cards follow these instructions to achieve best results. Start by printing a test card with a regular CR80 PVC Card to ensure your template and design are up to your standards, then;
– Always check cards for manufacturing debris. Sometimes there are small pieces of vinyl on the card. Carefully clean cards using 99% pure Isopropyl alcohol and a soft, lint free cloth.
– The office where you print the cards should be neat, clean and free of airborne particles. If not purchase a dust cover for when the printer is not in use.
– Check the printer’s roller frequently. Clean the printer roller after printing 50 cards (or fewer).
– Fine scuff marks may appear on the surface of cards. These marks do not affect the printer, nor the printed images. These scuff marks occur during final inspection and testing.
– Printer manufacturers discourage printing cards which are pre¬punched. The slot edge may tear the printer ribbon or interfere with card position sensors. Therefore, print your cards first, then slot punch them. For cards that are already punched, do not print in the area near the slot. If the card has an embedded contact chip, keep the printing at least .0625 in [1.5875 mm] away from its edges.
As always for information contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.
Proximity Cards are made with layers of PVC and a glossy surface intended for Photo ID printing. Proximity cards and contactless smart cards contain an antenna coil and integrated electronic chip. Care should be taken to follow these printing recommendations for best results.
As you may encounter color variations or printing voids with direct to card printers due to surface imperfections caused by the embedded chip and antenna you should;
Avoid large areas with solid or half-tone backgrounds when designing card artwork and use artwork with varied color or pattern to minimize these color variations and printing voids.
If the design must print over the internal chip, we recommend the use of a reverse transfer printer such as the Fargo HDP5000.
Do not place a photo portrait over the chip location or opposite the edge of a magnetic stripe.
When designing card artwork it’s best to print a few test cards, and be ready to make artwork adjustments as needed.
If your printer is capable of edge-to-edge printing, test several cards to check the printer’s capability. For more infrmation contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services.
Access or proximity cards will have slot punch indicators, small dots visible on the card back
which show the only allowable slot locations for the card. While it is perfectly acceptable to slot punch your access cards, we strongly suggest using badge grippers or clamps instead. These attachment devices work the same as slot clips, and better maintain the structural integrity of your technology card.
If you must slot punch the card, carefully center the indicator marks to the punch, and punch only where the indicator marks appear. Any other position may damage the interior circuitry and thus cause the card not to work.
Always test the first card after printing and slotting. Once you are satisfied with the results you can go ahead and print the rest of the batch. For more information contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.
Concerned about the security of your ID Card Program? Well, by adding a holographic overlay to your ID Card design you can help protect your program from being infiltrated by counterfeit cards. This feature helps guard against illicit replication and tampering.
There are three ways to place a holographic image over your card design. The first is with a laminating card printer that applies a holographic overlaminate during the printing process with a special ribbon all in one pass. Printers such as the Fargo DTC4500 or the HDP5000 can feature this functionality.
The second way is with a special holographic ribbon that applies the image during a second pass. You simply change out your ribbon and rerun the cards to achieve the desired effect. This allows users of printers like the Evolis Pebble or Dualys to achieve the same results as a more expensive laminating printer.
Finally. you can purchase a holographic overlay that is applied by hand. Although more expensive on a per card basis, it allows you to add a holographic image to cards when the volume might not dictate the purchase of an entire ribbon or a laminating printer.
Different printer manufactures have generic images on the ribbons but you can also have a custom image designed with your logo or artwork. Contact an expert at Safe-Card ID to learm more about custom holographic ribbons or if a holographic ribbon is availible for your printer.
Similar to the scratch-off lottery tickets you can buy at a local convenience store, certain printers, like the Evolis Pebble and Dualys offer a scratch off ribbon that can produce the same effect. These ribbons are great for use with promotional offers or gift card programs. These specialized ribbons print scratch-off material over a pre-printed portion of the card and are typically used to cover a number, special code, or the value of the card.
Scratch-off ribbons produce a gray/silver effect that can be scratched off just like the lottery tickets mentioned above. Once you print your color cards, you need to change the ribbon and make a second pass for each card so the material covers the required area on the already printed card. Using the printer driver set the ribbon to ‘K’ when you are ready to apply the scratch-off material to the cards.
Not all printers are compatible with scratch-off ribbons. Call an expert at Safe-Card ID Services to check your specific model before purchasing a scratch-off ribbon.
Since we create and print ID Cards for a large number of business onsite at Safe-Card ID Services, the Art Department sees all kinds of photos. The honest truth is a perfectly designed card needs an equally great photo, which can be achieved with a backdrop and tripod. By taking photos at a uniform height with a consistent background color, ID cards are harder to counterfeit and helps ensure the cards appear standardized.
Safe-Card ID offers a wide variety of backdrops for your photo ID pictures. Multple colors are availible to choose from and solid colored backdrops help center the focus on the person in the photo. Also, many backdrops are portable, allowing ID card photos to be easily printed off-site.
Tripods minimize blurry photos by stabilizing the camera. Simply attach a camera to the top of the tripod before snapping a picture, guaranteeing all photos are taken at the same height and angle. Our patented HD Image Cam Pro ID Camera comes with a tripod and monitor mount that are also conveniently compact and idea for business travel.
Call an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today to make sure your employees have the great photo they deserve on thier ID Card or Badge.
ID Card and Badge printers come in all shapes and sizes but are limited in ability in terms of the card sizes they can print. Todays’ card printers are made to print on standard CR80 size cards, with a number of them also capable of printing on CR79 and only a very few that can print CR100 size cards.
– CR79 cards measure 3.303″ x 2.051″ and are slightly smaller than a standard CR80 size card. CR79 cards typically have an adhesive back and are commonly used for printing and adhering to a clamshell HID Proximity card.
• CR80 cards are 3.375″ x 2.125″ (exactly the same size as a credit card) and are the standard, most commonly used size of PVC card. They are great for almost every ID card application.
• CR100 cards are much larger measuring 3.88″ x 2.63″ – that’s 42% larger than a standard CR80 card, making them easier to see from a distance but too big to hide in a wallet. CR100 size cards are often referred to as “oversize” or “military-size” cards. These are great for event passes. Printers that can handle these cards such as the Fargo HDP600 are usually manufactured to order and are very expensive.
Before ordering any type/size of PVC cards it is very wise ensure your printers specifictions to ensure it can handle them or call a specialist at Safe-Card ID Services.