How to Print on Plastic Cards

How to Print on Plastic Cards

Business How to

It might seem that plastic cards are everywhere you look. They’re used for credit card payments, photo id and loyalty programs with businesses.

In this article, you’re going to know about how to print on plastic cards. By understanding more about the printing process, there’s every chance that you’ll learn more about which type of plastic card printing is right for you.

Plastic Card Printers

Plastic card printing allows the user to produce highly customized plastic cards for a wide range of needs. The technology utilised in plastic printing follows a unique procedure and is very distinct from paper printing. First and foremost, the information printed on plastic must be durable. It has to be unambiguous and time-tested. Encryption is also an essential aspect of plastic card printing and frequently stores vital information using magnetic strips. Direct-to-card printing and refiling are the two most prevalent methods for the production of plastic cards.

Direct-to-Card Printing

The key difference between Direct-to-Card printing and Retransfer printing is in the process of transferring the image onto the PVC card. To accomplish this, direct to card printing, also known as Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer utilises both a monochromic technique of thermal transfer and the process of sublimation.

Dye Sublimation

Dye Sublimation is considered to be the printing technique which produces the highest quality photographic results. Sublimation means turning color into vapor without becoming a liquid first. This ensures minimal mess and spillage.

The most important part of the equipment is the ribbon stored within the printer. Within the ribbon, there are several color panels (namely black, clear, yellow, magenta and cyan). Any combination of these panels can be used to create every color across the spectrum. The color panels are heated as required by the portable printer head.

The physical layer of color is then vaporized and transferred to the first layer of the polyvinyl-chloride (PVC) card surface, where the color dye bonds chemically with the plastic surface. The colors quickly solidify. Further layers are transferred and superimposed as required to achieve the desired color. This technique has one of the fastest plastic card printing speeds.

Monochrome Thermal Transfer

Monochrome thermal transfer, on the other hand, uses a monochrome ribbon. A single layer of color is applied to the PVC card at one time, instead of several color panels being used at the same time. A particular region of a color panel is heated by the printed head and then transferred to the plastic card. Varnish is typically used to make the print lasts longer. This is the most cost-effective printing technique when only a single color print is required. Bar codes are often produced using a monochrome thermal transfer.

Retransfer Printing

Retransfer (reverse transfer) printing is a little more straightforward. This printing method has two distinct phases. Firstly, a translucent coating that does not appear in direct-to-card printing is employed. The design image is printed onto the transparent film in reverse. This is done with the sublimation technique, where different layers of color are applied until the design color is achieved.

The transparent film is then put on the PVC card and the original layout is seen. Additional coating or coating layers are not required. Retransfer printing makes for great durability and can be applied to a larger range of mediums than some direct-to-card printing techniques, which rely on the chemical bonds within the plastic surface.

The Best Plastic Card Printing Machine

A PVC card printer is just another term for an ID card printer. PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a common plastic synonym, while PVC is a robust material, suitable for the creation and printing of ID cards, most quickly. Therefore, a PVC card printer may refer to any picture ID manufacturer type.

How do PVC Card Printers Work?

PVC plastic card printers can use any number of methods to transfer a design onto an ID card. Some of the most frequent printing methods on PVC cards are color sublimation and reverse transfer.


Plastic cards may even be used to establish access and validate club membership: their resources cannot be denied. Plastic cards are flexible and durable and are an essential component of membership and customer loyalty for many companies.



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