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Thin PVC Cards – What’s the Lowdown?

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.

Use Cases:

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!

Usage Notes:

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.

Final Thoughts:

We offer a variety of PVC cards in our web-store, including quality products from Evolis, HID Global (Fargo) and Magicard.

Should you have any concerns or questions about your specific needs, feel free to call us toll-free at 888.485.4696 to speak with an ID-printing expert. We’re always glad to help!

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How Long Can I Expect My ID Card Printer to Last?

As with any piece of technology, your card printer will not last forever regardless of how much money you spent on it new. The typical life of a card printer varies significantly from user to user, and in most cases has nothing to do with the actual number of cards printed but more with the maintenance schedule and the number of people using the printer. Most direct to card printers come with coverage for 2 years, like the Fargo DTC1000 and some 3 years like the Evolis Pebble or Dualys, so you should expect to have it for at least that long. For professional level systems and secure applications, choosing a re-transfer printer such as the Fargo HDP5000 will provide more peace of mind, since re-transfer card printers come with lifetime print head coverage.

So what happens when your printer stops working and the warranty coverage is up? Some repairs can be done onsite with guidance over the phone while others will require a technician to diagnose the issue. Advances in technology have pushed printer price down, so be sure to compare the cost of a repair to the cost of a new printer. Depending on the age of your printer, it is sometimes more cost effective for you to put your money towards a new printer. 

In some situations you will be forced to upgrade since older printers and drivers will not work on Vista or Windows 7. When purchasing a printer be certian to ask about the availability of an extended warranty and a loaner program so you can minimize downtime.

Call an expert at Safe-Card ID Services to learn more.

 

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Ways to Secure Your ID Card Program

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.

 

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What’s the difference between HiCo and LoCo magnetic stripe PVC cards?

Magnetic stripe cards are available in two varieties, HiCo and LoCo. So what’s the difference? The difference is simple and as the name states HiCo cards are more coercive, while LoCo cards are less coercive. A higher coerciveness is more secure, but not always a better solution.

As an example, LoCo cards are more affordable. LoCo cards may not last as long as HiCo Cards, but LoCo cards are ideal for use in a card program that reissue cards frequently. With their higher level of coercivity, HiCo cards are better for long term use. They are able to hold information longer before wearing out that is why your debit or credit card is likely a HiCo card.

Magnetic stripe cards from Safe-Card ID Services are an ideal choice for access control, membership tracking, and financial transactions just to mention a few. To learn more contact an expert at Safe-Card today.

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HID Access Card Printing Tips

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.

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Practice Safe Handling With HID and Access Cards

HID Access Cards

HID and access cards are typically shipped to you shrink wrapped and since they can cost significantly more than traditional PVC it is important to follow these tips;

Take care not to scratch the cards when opening the wrapping, especially when using a sharp implement.

Handle cards by the edges, not by the flat finished surface.

Use lint free gloves or finger cots to prevent hand oils from transferring to the
cards, which can cause smudging, fingerprints or other distortions
when printing.

Card image quality may vary even with careful card handling. This can be due to printer setup variations, lot to lot material variations, environmental changes, printer types, background color selections and other variables.
HID and access cards have been quality tested to meet requirements for high quality images. Failure to achieve a desired image quality is typically not the fault of the card.

For more information contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.

 

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Access & Proximity ID Card Design Tips

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.

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Proper Access/HID Card Slotting

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.

 

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Add Holograms to Your ID Card Program

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.

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ID Card Printers and Scratch-Off Ribbons

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.