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International Dragon Boat Federation uses Zebra card printers for competitor IDs

Central to a sport spanning over 6000 years, the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) promotes dragon boat racing worldwide. A software and printer solution has now been developed specifically for processing Dragon Boat regatta participants, using Zebra’s ZXP series 3 printers to print personalised race ID cards and streamline the competitor accreditation process.

Check out the IDBF/Zebra video at the following link;

Zebra Card Printers

 For more information on how to create a custom ID solution to meet your needs call an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.

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Magicard Rio Pro Xtended Personalizes Extra-Long Plastic Cards

The Magicard Rio Pro Xtended personalizes extra-long plastic cards for ticketing, accreditation and product labeling. Cards up to 110mm long can be printed entirely in full colour using the double-printing mode. The printer can also handle pre-printed cards up to 140mm long, printing a CR80-sized (86mmx54mm) area in full colour in a single pass or an area up to 110x54mm using double-printing. In monochrome mode, the entire length of a 140mm by 54mm card can be printed.


Print extra long plastic cards

Superior print quality enabled by ICC profiles

Monochrome print on pre-printed cards up to 140mm long

Colour print up to 110mm x 54mm cards

Built in USB and Ethernet connection with Windows 7, XP and Vista (32/64 bit) compatibility

50mm wide variant for product labelling

Standard HoloKote with option to customise  

Adjustable card feeder

For information on the Rio Pro Extended or any Magicard Printer call an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.

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Evolis Zenius Printer – Setting New Standards in Card Printing

Evolis is introducing their newest ID card printer – the Evolis Zenius. 


From the Evolis website, the following advantages can be found with this new printer:


 Zenius makes it easy for you every step of the way! Discover a wealth of advanced features loaded in a contemporary yet compact design.

  • Card feeder and output tray located at the front of the printer
  • Manual feeder
  • Control panel with LEDs


Equipped with state-of-the-art printing technologies, the Expert version of Zenius can be upgraded onsite with multiple encoders. These flexible features ensure that you will always be in line with your current and future requirements in plastic card printing.

  • Direct access to ports
  • Onsite integration of specific modules*
  • Magnetic and smart card encoders can be combined within the same printer*


Compact, lightweight and silent:

With a low sound level  and its amazingly small size, Zenius can be accommodated in virtually any environment, be it a welcome desk, a sales counter, or an office desk. By its really low weight, Zenius is the lightest printer in its category.

  • 46dB(A)
  • 7.3 lbs



Zenius has earned the coveted ENERGY STAR certification and complies with the reduced energy consumption guidelines from the ErP European Directive

  • Standby and Sleep modes
  • ENERGY STAR certification
  • Compliance with the ErP European Directive

For additional information about this new Evolis Printer, contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696.

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Rewritable ID Card Printing

Many of the ID card printers recently released offer the feature of rewritable ID card printing.  Many ID card operators have no clue what rewritable means in the context of PVC card printing. 

The concept of rewritable card printing allows a card to be customized approximately 500 times during its lifetime.  Using an ID card printer without a ribbon, specialized cards can be personalized for temporary use.  At the end of use, the card can be erased so that it can be re-customized and used at a future time.

Benefits if using rewritable printers are many.  Some of them are:

  • Cost effectiveness as there are no costs relating to ribbons and the cards can be reused up to 500 times.
  • Cutting -edge marketing tool as the card can be customized on the spot.
  • Can be used for for magnetic stripe and contactless applications.

The technology behind this printing comes is explained best from a leading card printer manufacturer, Evolis.  They explain the printing technology of their rewritable ID card printers as follows: 

Rerwitable Printers
 Rewritable printing technology does not require a ribbon to personalize cards. The card itself holds a thermosensitive material that turns visible when heated to a temperature of 356° F (180° C) and then rapidly cooled.

The application of a lower temperature, generally in the 230-320° F (110-160° C) range, will erase any color pattern. This process leverages two chemicals that interact with each other according to selected temperature thresholds.

This heating/cooling process is handled thanks to a thermal head, similar to the one used in the Evolis printers. Note that this process can be rolled back, allowing the same card to be reused and reprinted up to 500 times.

Rewritable cards 
 In a blank rewritable card, the thermosensitive material is applied as a plastic layer over a substrate. The most common substrates are PVC for 0.76mm (30 mil) cards and PET for 0.25mm (10 mil) cards.

PVC cards can be supplied with magnetic stripes and contactless chips to support advanced applications. PET cards often come with a magnetic layer on the reverse side of the rewritable surface

For more information about Evolis printers or other ID card printers, contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696.

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How Dye Sublimation Printing Works

Printer RibbonDye sublimation printing is chosen often because of the quality photographic printing results that this type of printing provides. The printing process is also known as dye sub. In this process, a thermal transfer provides a specific amount of colored dye pigment to section of a card surface. In ID card printing, this colored pigment is derived from a printer ribbon, transferred by the print head and deposited onto the plastic card surface. The pigment is able to bond chemically with the card due to the heat used in the transfer process.

The printer ribbon is a roll of film, sometimes in a cartridge, that consists of a number of repeated panels. The yellow, red and blue panels (YMC) provide various colors available while black and clear panels provide black color and an overcoat panel. The YMC panels hold heat sensitive dyes that can be combined in various amounts to create a broad range of colors. The black panel is a plastic resin and is not mixed with the other panels. It is used to provide solid black color that is most frequently used for barcodes on a badge. The protective coat, the O panel, is applied to the entire surface of the card to provide extra protection and durability to the card.

All of the colors needed from the panels are transferred when the print head of the printer is activated. The print head contains about 300 pixels per inch. Each individual pixel is separately activated and heated to transfer a specific amount of color, black or overlay panel to an area of the card. The dye is vaporized due to the heat and bonds to the plastic card surface. They dye does not become liquid, but changes straight from a solid into a gas.

Because of the way the vaporized dyes permeate the surface of the card, a gentle gradation at the edges of each pixel is created – not the conspicuous border between color and substrate produced by inkjets. Also, because the color infuses and bonds with the card material, it is less vulnerable to fading and distortion over time.

Most ribbons are set up in the Y (yellow), M (magenta), C (cyan), K (black), O (overlay) order. There are specialized panels and variations to this standard with the addition of security options and other printer features.

For information about PVC cards, contact our ID card experts toll free at 888-485-4696.

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Tips for Troubleshooting ID Card Printer Errors

Overall, ID card printer systems are easy to use. Installation involves installing a plug and play printer driver on your computer system. The ID badge software can be downloaded and after typing in the license key, the majority of the printing system is installed and ready to begin.

One of the more difficult preprinting activities may be the badge design. Getting managers and other authorized people to agree on the final look is often the most time consuming process.

Once printing has started, the printer system is fairly to use. Occasionally they need a bit of human assistance to continue providing quality cards. Printer ribbon and PVC cards need to be monitored and added regularly during printing jobs.

Printers do malfunction and many of the issues can be easily fixed. Issues with printer ribbons and card feeding are the most common problems with ID card printers. Following are some common errors and basic troubleshooting.

Unable to Feed Card Message

This error message will display on the LED or LCD screen when a printer cannot detect card stock in the input hopper. Either the cards are not loaded, have run out or are loaded incorrectly.

To fix this error, check the card hopper to ensure that the cards are indeed located in the hopper and are not stuck together. You may need to carefully fan the cards, without touching the card surface, to ensure that the cards are not stuck together. Straighten them back into a single stack of cards and place the cards back into the hopper. Close the hopper cover and continue attempting to print by pressing the resume button.

If the printer will still not receive the cards from the hopper, cancel the print job by pressing the cancel print button. You may need to power off the printer, wait for a small bit of time and turn the printer back on. The original errors will be cleared and you can attempt to print the card again.

Ribbon Sensor Error Message
This error occurs when the printer is unable to locate the next panel on the print ribbon. This may man that the printer ribbon has broken or has been damaged in some way. A ribbon that does not advance correctly will cause a printer error. To fix this error, you will need to open the printer and remove the printer ribbon. You need to look at the ribbon for tears, wrinkles or breaks and repair them.

To fix a tear or break in the ribbon, connect the two ends of the ribbon with a piece of scotch tape. Wind the ribbon forward past the taped section and place the print ribbon back into the printer. If the ribbon is wrinkled, straighten out the ribbon, and advance the ribbon past the damaged section of the ribbon so that the printer does not access that section of the ribbon. When the ribbon is placed back into the printer after being repaired, you can press the resume button to direct the printer to continue printing.

Card Jam Error
Most all ID card printers will input 30 ml cards. Some printer models will accept various card thicknesses ranging from 10 ml to 40 ml. The printers are sensitive to the specific card thickness that is being placed in the card hopper.

To resolve a card jam error, open the printer cover and remove the print ribbon. Press the cancel, pause, forward or backward buttons to move the rollers back and forth. This should free the jammed card. Remove the card, replace the print ribbon and close the cover. You should be able to resume printing with a new card from the hopper.

By following manufacturer instructions found in your operations manual, the correct adjustments can be made to continue printing. If your printer displays something not defined in your manual, it is always best to contact the manufacturer or your ID card printer distributor for additional assistance.

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Organizations that Use ID Card Printer Systems

Photo ID card systems produce custom printed cards similar to your driver’s license or your credit card. The majority of cards printed on a card printer are for member or employee identification purposes. Other applications such loyalty cards or discount cards can also be printed on these systems. Many types of industries print ID cards on a daily basis. Although reserved for large organizations and governments a few years back, plastic ID card printer systems have become more reasonably priced and smaller organizations are finding the benefits of the systems a worthwhile expense.

Although almost any organization can find a beneficial use for printed plastic cards, some types of organizations find that card printing is a critical need for the success of their business. Popular business types that commonly use plastic cards are corporations, educational institutions, government and membership organizations.

Corporate – From complex Fortune 500 companies to the smaller mom and pop businesses, all organization are concerned with the preservation of their property and the protection of their employees. Based on company size and reach, various security processes are put in place to ensure safety of all aspects of an organization. Employee, contractor and visitor identification is often a required element for people that are onsite at a facility. Protection of both employees and assets are increased with the requirement of wearing or carrying valid identification when on campus.

Education – All educational institutions are filled with people who are working or learning. From the smallest preschool to large state universities, the verification of eligibility for someone to be on campus is important for the security of everyone involved. Some educational institutions require their faculty and students to wear their identification card while on campus. Many identification cards, especially for universities, are multifunctional and provide options such as access and debit.

Government – Security has increased dramatically in government offices. From federal offices to state and local departments, identification is a normal and is becoming more sophisticated with advanced security techniques. Due to current budget constraints, department heads are constantly looking for ways to increase the value of using identification cards by combining the cards with access functionality, debit options and more.

Financial – It is common for many financial institutions to be able to provide instant issuance of a printed card with personalization. With card printers in branch offices, financial institutions can satisfy customer demand.

Membership organizations – Fitness centers, spas, time share holders, homeowners associations and other membership groups often provide members with authorized membership card. Benefits for cards holders include discounts, access or verify specific information at member events. The possibilities of membership card uses are unlimited.

Popular ID manufacturers to review for your printer needs are: Fargo Printers, Evolis Printers, CIM Printers, Magicard Printers, Datacard Printers, and Zebra Printers

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Tips for Card Printer Maintenance

When you are given the responsibility of operating a photo ID card system, it is good to know a bit about how to care for the printer and supplies. The following tips will help to provide quality custom printing results for years to come

Keep your System in a Clean Environment

Make a special place to store your printer ribbons and PVC cards. Both printer ribbons and PVC cards arrive in plastic wrapping to ensure cleanliness. It is best to store ribbons and cards in their original packaging until needed. This will keep the printing supplies free of dirt.

The process of handling the cards and ribbons is also important. If you touch the surface of the card with your fingers, it is possible to transfer oil and other residue from your fingers on to the card. The oil and dirt will often interfere with the printing process. It is often possible to see fingerprints and dirt on the completed card.

Understand your Card Requirements Prior to Printer Purchase

Compared to just a few years ago, purchasing an ID card printer is a bargain. Although you do want to be concerned with pricing, the more important question to answer is what you need on your completed card. Some printers are intentionally manufactured to handle high volume printing needs. Other printers provide extra security features. Some entry level printers are available for small organizations that are looking for a solid custom card printer for low volume basic ID card printing. Some printers can be upgraded after purchase, but it is best to review your needs and your options prior to purchase so that you aren’t disappointed in the printer performance as your organizations needs change.

Using Cleaning Kits

By reviewing the owner’s manual that comes with the card printer, you will understand the card manufacturer’s recommendations for printer cleaning. Specific kits are manufactured for each printer model and they contain swabs, pens and other needed items to clean the inside and outside of the printer as suggested in the manual. Some manufacturers will provide an initial cleaning kit with their printer in the original purchase to get the printer owner off on the right foot.

Using Dust Covers

If your environment is dusty, it is important to make a plan to keep the printer as clean as a whistle.
If your environment is a bit dusty, you may wish to consider a dust cover to protect the card printer when not operating. Covers are manufactured for specific printer models and assist in keeping the printer clean.

Benefits of ID card printing in house are many. With an understanding of basic printer maintenance, the results of your printing will be pleasing for a long time.

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Benefits of Your Photo ID Badge System

Those who own or manage a business with several employees will find that an ID card printer system will provide a number of benefits for your business. Photo ID card printer systems provide custom printed identification cards. The printed cards provide many benefits that are worthwhile for many business types.

One benefit of employee identification cards is that they can be designed and used as a method of clocking in and out for payroll purposes. By printing a unique bar code on the card or by using mag stripe encoding or smart card encoding, employees can scan their card as they arrive and leave the workplace. With this method of clocking in and out, paperwork is reduced and accuracy of the payroll reporting is increased.

Another important reason for ID badges is for basic identification. When there are a number of employees at your business, it sometimes becomes difficult to know each person by name. When identification is worn, it is easy to know the person’s name as well as other details indicated on the card. Employees who feel recognized by others, especially management, in an organization feel a sense of belonging that helps morale.

A badge printer system also benefits a business that needs extra security options in the business. If you have areas in the facility that are restricted to certain employees, you can secure the room with access control. The ID card printer can encode technology cards that can be used to allow cardholder access.

There are many other additional uses for custom printed cards depending on your organization’s needs. Gift cards are useful for retail shops. Debit cards and check out cards can be used for educational, healthcare and other markets. Other uses are possible for custom printed cards from the basic printed card to technology and smart card implementations.

By obtaining an ID card printer system, you can completely control the production, disbursement and use of the cards used in your organization. The benefits of custom badges produced in house are worthwhile for many businesses.

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Products In An ID Card Printer System

When looking for a turnkey ID card printer system, it is important to find a system that contains all of the pieces that will make your photo ID card making a smooth event. A number of different items are available that may or may not be needed for your printing needs.

Prepackaged systems from manufacturers include products to make a small number of basic ID cards. These systems are great although you may need to add additional items. An example of this is if you will have your employees wear their badge. Most manufacturer generated ID card systems do not include a slot punch or badge attachments to allow the card to be worn. Following are some of the products that are included in custom ID card systems that are recommended by our ID card experts. These products are only needed if they make sense for your card application.

ID Card Printer – This handy machine allows the design you have created to bond with a plastic credit card size PVC card. Coming in single or dual sided printing options, printers can also be found that print only monochrome. Other professional series printers can provide high security elements needed to prevent counterfeiting.

ID Card Software – This important piece of an ID card printer system makes designing and printing cards easier than trying to set up a template in other software programs. The software has a design side that allows a person to lay out their card design and save it. Some ID badge software options contain a database that allows data and photos to be saved for reporting and reprinting purposes. Some software is able to import and export from outside databases.

Printer Ribbons – Each ID card printer uses specific printer ribbons. Some ribbons print full color while others print only one color. Some ribbons print a single side of an ID card while others print both sides or a half panel on the card. Transfer ribbons are necessary in some printers that use reverse transfer printing methodology. Overlaminate ribbons are used in printers that have a lamination station.

ID Cards – PVC cardstock comes in different sizes and thicknesses. Cards need to be image grade quality or above to hold a good quality print. Cardstock is typically white although many colors are available. Standard 30 ml CR-80 cardstock will print in all ID card printers. Some printers will print cards as thin as 10 ml or as thick as 40 ml.

ID Camera – ID cameras for photos can range from a simple web camera to a digital camera. The quality of the camera will determine the quality of the printed photo on the card.

Badge Holders and Attachments – Various types of badge holders and attachments are available for wearing and securing ID cards. Popular options are badge clips, lanyards, and reels. Other badge wearing options are available for specialized environments or needs.

Slot Punch – If your card will be worn, it may be necessary to place a slot punch hole into the badge. Slot punches provide a professional hole that will not crack the plastic badge.

Data Capture Devices – Some situations require additional special information on the card. Using capture devices, things such as fingerprints and signatures can be obtained and printed on the badge.

Dust Cover – This handy product protects your printer when not in use. Keeping the printer clean is an important element in quality ID card printing.

Cleaning Kits – The inside of the printer must be kept dust and dirt free to provide cards that have sharp results. Manufacturers have specific cleaning kits for each printer model and recommended instructions for cleaning the printer.

Extended Warranty – Depending on your situation, an extended warranty may be a requirement. Various warranty options are available based on the printer model and the manufacturer.