In the world like we live in today, photo ID badges are no longer a novelty but a necessity seen in businesses across the country. Many of these badges feature full color photos and printing on both sides. Many include smart card chips, magnetic stripes, bar codes and other pieces of technology that allow employees to access buildings, sign in and out of work and more.
Many businesses pay thousands of pounds to have these photo ID badges created.
Could this be done in-house to save money?
As with just about anything done in-house, creating photo IDs on location will save you money. Although a little overwhelming at first, once all the pieces are put together, creating a photo ID is relatively easy and requires little time. ID card printers are now compatible with all PC systems running Windows XP and Vista.
The first thing any business will need to create photo identification badges in-house is a photo ID card printer. There are several models available from a variety of manufacturers including Zebra Card Technologies. Zebra Card printers all print edge-to-edge ID cards in full high-resolution color. A few options that can be selected in the printer range are the ability to print on both sides, encode smart cards and write to magnetic stripes. Printers also vary by printing speed, hopper capacity and other technical variables.
Almost all ID card printers manufactured today use a process called die sublimation, which uses a printer ribbon with four panels. These panels are yellow, magenta, cyan and black (YMCKO). The fifth panel called an overlay (O), places a clear panel over the printed card to extend the life of the image and prevent scratches.
Die sublimation printers use a thermal print head to burn the image onto a plastic PVC ID card. If full color printing is out of your budget, single color monochrome ribbons are available for most printers and are a fraction the cost of a full-color ribbon.
In order to layout, design and create a photo ID, you need to invest in some card creation software. The most popular ID card software is CardFive Vision from NFive which includes an easy-to-use template, making it easy to type text, paste pictures and create a base template for all your ID cards.
Along with the printer, software and ribbons, you will also need cards. Most ID cards used are known as 30 mil CR-80 – the same size and thickness of a standard credit card. The “80″ in CR-80 is the size of the card. Thirty-mil is the thickness of the card. Although less common, some businesses use a thinner 10 mil thickness for cards.
Businesses that use proximity cards will often use a 10 mil CR-80 card with an adhesive back. Once printed, a backing is removed from the pressure-sensitive card where it is then stuck to the proximity card. Many CR-80 PVC cards are also available with smart chips (integrated circuit card) and magnetic stripes.
Once printed, many ID cards are slot punched in order to be used on a lanyard, badge reel or badge strap clip. Many businesses will also use a badge holder, horizontal or vertical, to hold the ID card where it can then be attached to a lanyard or strap clip. Using lanyards, badge reels or strap clips makes it easy to present and access identity cards.
Maintenance on ID card printers is easy. A wide assortment of cleaning cards and ribbons are available, which help keep the thermal print head clean and running at top efficiency. Many printers will let you know when they need to be cleaned. If an older printer is being used, symptoms of a needed cleaning may include blurred text or irregular colors. Regular maintenance will keep the ID card out of the shop and will allow you to print ID cards on a regular and uninterrupted basis.
Whether you need an occasional ID card, replacement cards or need to print 100s of cards for a business, photo ID card printers save money and are convenient to use.
Feel free to contact Modulus Card Printers for more information on ID card printers.