Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Understanding ID Card Printers

What kind of cards are you looking to print? Is it single or two sided? Are both sides in color? How many will you have to print? What does your budget look like? All of these factors effect what printer you need!

Finding the printer that fits your needs can be a little tricky. There are so many brands and acronyms. We started looking at this with our Printer Jargon post but wanted to look at it a little more in depth today.  

First let’s look at DTC and Retransfer printers. If you’re looking at this thinking what the heck does that even mean, don’t worry. Both of these terms refer to how your printer works.

DTC, also known as direct to card, is the more common version. DTC printers use heat and dye-sublimation to adhere color from ribbons onto the card itself. These printers use a print head and layer the color panels onto the card. When you use a full color ribbon (YMCKO/T) your results are a full color printed card. Many of these printers boast near photo quality images and advanced color match between your monitor and the printed card.

Retransfer, sometimes referred to as reverse transfer, is a newer kind of printer. This printer adds an extra step where it prints your image onto a clear film that is then adhered to your card using heat. The advantage to this is tamper evidence and edge to edge printing. The color image is a one layer instead of 4 layers as it can be with direct to card printing. These printers also boast high image and color quality.

Now you might find yourself thinking, okay, they print differently, so what?
DTC printing is faster and fewer materials are required for printing a card. You can get high quality prints as well.
Retransfer printers are more secure but they are more costly. So once again it depends on your needs.

Dye Sublimation (Dye Sub) and Resin Ribbon both refer to ribbon type. In Dye Sub printing, the color panel is changed from its solid form directly to a gaseous state then solidified on the card. Resin is melted onto the card. Resin ribbons are recommended for printing bar codes and QR codes onto cards.

So if you’re looking to print a scan-able code onto a card, be sure to utilize the resin panel.

Other factors to consider are how many cards you are printing. This is where those entry level/ low volume, midrange/medium volume, and high volume/industrial words come in to play. With this you need to look at how often you are assigning cards. While at first the card issuance might be high, what does it look like for the rest of the year? Does it make more sense to contract a printer instead of buying your own machine?

A plastic card printer can be a great investment for your company. There is a lot that can go into that decision though. If you have questions we here at Modity Inc are happy to help. Its our job to help you find the right printer!

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