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ID Card Printers: How They Are Different from Regular Printers

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If you plan to make a large number of ID cards, you owe it to yourself to learn more about ID card printers. These specialized printers are a cost-effective tool for making high-quality ID cards on site. For businesses and institutions where this is a long-term priority, making a one-time investment in this technology can save you money and hassle down the road. It's crucial, however, that you select ID card printers rather than regular printers, because they are two completely different pieces of equipment. This guide will tell you everything you need to know.

ID Card Printers: The Basics

The principle behind ID card printers is essentially the same as any other kind of printer. The primary difference is simply that these printers print on plastic rather than paper or other materials, and they can handle functions like lamination in addition to printing. The card dimensions are typically 85.60 × 53.98 mm as standardized under international regulations, and most printers rely on a single-feed orientation, meaning that only one card is printed at a time.

The actual printing process is relatively simple. A card is simultaneously passed under a thermal print head and a color ribbon. The heat transfers the color onto the card according to a design created by the user. Resolution can vary, but it is typically 300 dots per inch. ID card printers can also add features like a magnetic stripe or a florescent print depending on the needs of the user.

Operating ID card printers varies depending on the make and model, but they are typically hooked up to a computer and operated using a proprietary software. This software gives the users the ability to customize a number of features of the ID card, but in most cases the interface will be familiar to anyone that has used a regular printer before. Other supplies involved include specialized cleaning kits and fresh color ribbons.

Selecting the Right ID Card Printers

In order to get the most out of your investment, it is important that you select the ID card printers that are best equipped to meet your needs. There are a couple of factors to keep in mind:

  1. Cost – The cost of ID card printers can vary significantly, from less than $1,000, to close to $10,000. Before selecting a model, consider how often you will use the printer, and what kind of capabilities your printing needs require.
  2. Volume – Different makes and models of ID card printers have different printing speeds and volume capacities. If you expect to print large numbers of cards, or to print a bulk batch of them, make sure the printer you select can keep up with the load.
  3. Type – There are three basic types of ID card printers: single-side, dual-side, and laminating. Single-side printers print on one side of the card each pass, dual-side print on both sides simultaneously, and laminating printers print both sides and add lamination in a single pass. Select the printer that is best equipped to handle the design of your ID card.
  4. Size – You don't want your ID card printer to be just another machine cluttering up your office, so take into account how much room you have to work with and how often you will be using the printer. You might also need a printer that is easily portable.
  5. Modularity – The ID cards you use today might be totally inadequate to meet you needs tomorrow. Look for ID card printers that offer a modular design which allows you to add or subtract capabilities and print cards with varying levels of complexity.

If you would like to speak to an expert directly about ID card printers, contact a representative from Evergreen ID systems

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