Card printers from Zebra, Evolis, HID Fargo and Entrust Datacard are the market leaders in the field of card printers. Card printers offer you various possibilities when it comes to printing personalised plastic cards. Simpler card printers from Evolis or Zebra print your cards in a cost–effective manner in black and white, while higher priced models are able to print in full colour with high resolution and also laminate the cards. The printers can be used in various areas. To print employee ID cards and access cards in companies, as tickets for local transport or admission cards to larger events, festivals and conferences.
Ribbons for plastic card printers
At some point the most efficient ribbon for your own plastic card printer will reach the end of its service life. Then comes the time to order new ribbons. In doing so, make sure you choose the right ribbons from the right manufacturer for your plastic card printer. Either simple single coloured ribbons for monochrome thermal transfer printing (in black) or multicoloured ribbons for multicoloured printing are available. This involves the classic YMCK printer colours (Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Black). A number of ribbons for plastic card printers offer an additional cartridge to reliably coat the card (overcoating). This preserves the actual printing and the card can be simply rinsed if it is lightly soiled. Note the YMCKO designation for ribbons with an overcoating function.
Using cleaning materials
Cleaning cards are indispensable when it comes to cleaning card readers and card printers. These cards are soaked in a cleaning solution and ensure that the contacts are cleaned in a gentle manner.
The cleaning swabs, which resemble cosmetics cotton buds, are used to remove deposits on the print heads. Here it is rather important to remove individual colour particles, which leave unwanted marks on the printed cards.
Cleaning rollers, cleaning cartridges and cleaning tapes clean the blank cards before being printed. It is important that the cards are absolutely free from dust, so that they can be neatly printed. Since dust accumulates on the cleaning rollers, they need to be replaced on a regular basis. It is dependent on the respective model when it comes to selecting which cleaning material is the right choice for the card printer.
Software for card printers
The high–quality Card Presso software is already included with the majority of plastic card printers. Alternatively, you can buy the software individually or upgrade the version included in the scope of supply. A total of six different versions of Card Presso are available:
- XXS Lite is the entry–level version with all the basic functions for designing and printing your own plastic cards. The database is limited to 50 data records.
- XXS also includes a database with unlimited data records.
- XS offers the option to establish data connections to existing databases (including .XLS and .CSV) and to use QR codes.
- XM enables you to use photos in the database, use a FaceCrop tool for facial recognition and 2D bar codes and establish a local MS Access data connection.
- XL has an ODBC interface and enables contactless coding of RFID chips and smartcards.
- XXL offers additional functions, such as DESFire, web print servers and Net Licence for up to 16 PCs.
Selecting suitable software is dependent on one?s own requirements. As such, it is sufficient for a small sports club, which wants to print plastic cards as membership passes for its 40 members, to use the XXS Lite version of Card Presso. For a larger club or an event organiser, who wants to print 200–300 passes, it should be the XXS version. A minimum of the XS version is recommended for companies, who permit access to internal company databases, to use the data for card printing. If membership passes, club cards etc. are provided with RFID chips, the XL version of Card Presso is the best choice.
Card Presso is a user–friendly piece of software which is easy to install. It is available for both Mac OS X and Windows, whereby not all functions are available for Mac OS X versions. Encoding for smartcards, RFID and NFC, as well as access to MS Access databases is possible only in the Windows version, for example.