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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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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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Can I Pre-Punch My PVC ID Cards?

pvc cardsThe simple answer to that question is yes. All you need to do when ordering  your Image Grade PVC card stock is to ask to have them pre-punched. We will ensure the card expert that punches the cards on your behalf maintains the graphic intergrity of the cards by wearing gloves to ensure the oils from the skin do not touch the surface of the card.

If you would prefer to punch the cards yourself, Safe-Card ID Services offers a wide range of slot punches for all volumes of cards to all budgets. Remember no matter which slot punch you use, it can and will only punch one card at a time.

The catch about pre-punching you cards is that if you are using a direct to card printer you run the risk of damaging the print head causing a nce white line appear across your printed card. A print head will cost about $500-700 to replace.

One solution to this problem is to use a re-transfer card printer, such as the Fargo HDP5000. Re-transfer printers print onto the underside of a film that is heat rolled onto the card surface, so the print head never touches the card.

To learn more about pre-punched cards or a re-transfer printer give an expert at Safe-Card ID Services a call today.

 

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Visual Security and Your ID Card Program

A number of visual security features can be added to your ID card program to decrease the likelihood of fraud or counterfeiting. While some of the features are specific to the brand and model printer you own, a few features can be implemented regardless of the type of printer. These include peel-and-stick holographic markers that can be applied by hand before printing or a holographic overlaminate. There are also whole card holographic stickers you can apply after you print a card. While most over-laminates require a laminating module in the printer you can laminate cards with a holographic ribbon on the Evolis line of printers as shown in the image to the left.

To learn more about how to incorporate these features into your ID card program give an expert at Safe-Card ID Services a call.

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Important Steps in Extending the Life of Your ID Card Printer

The purchase of an ID Card Printer is an investment in the safety and security of your students or staff. Like any piece of equipment, your printer won’t last forever if it’s not cared for properly. Follow these important steps to extend the life and performance of your ID card printer;

1. Only use brand-approved printer supplies. These days there is a generic brand of everything, and while they can mean savings in the short run, in the end they can cause extensive damage to your printer. Each manufacturer has its’ own supplies and each might require a different ribbon and cleaning kit. Be sure to use the right supplies with your printer by calling an expert at Safe-Card ID Services.

2. Keep it clean. Your printers warranty will state how often you must clean your printer, typically every 700-1,000 prints. Safe-Card ID Services recommends cleaning the printer every time you change the ribbon.  Regular cleanings ensure your ID cards always come out looking beautiful.

3. Mandate proper training. The greater number of people you have using your printer, the more likely it is to be misused or damaged. Train individuals in your office or organization who will be using the printer to make sure it’s handled properly.

4. Store it in a Case. Protect your printer from dust and potential damage by storing it under a dust cover or in a case. A case is a must to protect your printer from the elements if you are transporting it between buildings or events.

For more information on extending the life of your ID Card Printer or for your printer supply and accessory needs contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.

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Direct to Card Printers vs. Retransfer Printers

Card printers have the ability to print crisp, life-like images but it is important to understand the two most common printing technologies and the results they produce before purchasing your printer.

Direct-to-Card (DTC) Printing

Direct-to-card technology is currently the most common form of card printing. The direct-to-card printing process transfers images directly onto PVC cards. Direct-to-card printers are available in a wide price range, with varying features and capabilities. Direct-to-card printers, like those from Evolis, Magicard and Zebra are an economical choice for those where print quality is not as much of a priority as the printer leaves an unprinted, white edge on cards.

Retransfer Printing

Retransfer technology is the latest printing technology, and is growing in popularity. Retransfer printing applies images onto a special clear film that is then fused onto the surface of a blank card. Retransfer printers like the Fargo HDP5000 allows greater flexibility to print on a wider variety of cards, including proximity cards, smart cards, pre-punched cards, key tag cards, or any type of card with an uneven surface. The fact that retransfer printers print images to a clear film, its print quality is vibrant and crisp. Retransfer is an ideal choice for those requiring high quality, vibrant images and those with a need for advanced technology. It’s ideal for high security and large applications, especially when smart cards or other technology is being used.

To better understand the difference in these two printer technologies and which best suits the need of your organization, give a call to an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.

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National Healthcare Program in India Uses the Evolis Pebble

The health card issued as part of the Indian National Healthcare program is core to the project’s goal of offering free healthcare services.  This card used comes in a smart card format, which was considered to be the most simple and reliable.

Such a health card has multiple applications and ensures that none of the stakeholders to this program is deprived. More precisely, the health card enables beneficiaries to choose a partner – a private or public hospital – without having to pay any money in advance.

To learn how the Evolis Pebble helps meets the demands of such a large program click here

To learn more about the Evolis Pebble or any of the Evolis Printers contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.

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Emergency Services Uses FARGO ® HDP5000 Card Printer and Encoder for Durable ID Cards

Action Ambulance of Eastern Massachusetts provides 24-hour emergency and non-emergency medical services  from 13 different locations. The identification cards worn by emergency personnel face challenging conditions, not only from extremes tempuratures and inclement weather, but also from blood and other fluids, of patients being treated.

In addition to printing its own ID cards, Action Ambulance Services also prints photo ID cards for other government entities involved in collaborative efforts with the organization. The challenge was to find a printer that provided lamination, high quality printing and quick turnaround that could run off of the company’s existing computer network. 

An detailed search lead to the  FARGO® HDP5000 Card Printer/Encoder as the solution.

To learn more about the Fargo HDP5000 or any of the ID Card Printers in the Fargo line up call an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.

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Perfect Color Fidelity for Magicard Rio Pro Users

You can now reproduce color images better than ever before thanks to a new embedded ICC profile for the Magicard Rio Pro. Brian Meyrick, Magicard Senior Software Engineer, explains: “Images can originate from many sources such as digital or mobile phone cameras, scans, image libraries or other online resources and as such can exist in many different color formats. Our challenge was to ensure that whatever the image source, format or software used along the workflow, the Rio Pro would produce an accurate result, faithful to the original image when printing on to a PVC card. The new ICC embedded profile provides an excellent solution.”

The profile is available in the newly-released Rio Pro driver – version 1.6.1, which can be downloaded from here. Note that the driver default setting is Gamma 1 – to select the ICC profile you will need to click on the advanced tab and change ‘color correction’ to ‘color management (built in to driver)’

For more information about the Magicard Rio Pro or any of Magicard’s other fine card printers contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services TODAY.