It might seem that plastic cards are everywhere you look. They’re used for credit card payments, for photo id and for loyalty programmes with businesses. Plastic cards can even be used for building access and to confirm a club membership: it’s hard to deny their resourcefulness. Plastic cards are versatile and durable, and for many businesses, they’re an important part of membership and customer loyalty.
At PSC Systems, our plastic card printing process is one of our most important operations we offer. We produce every type of card design imaginable and provide a personalised service to our valuable clients. Whether you’re looking for a one-off order or looking to set up a regular batch production, we can help. Our high-quality products are sure to fit your need, and we communicate with you every step of the way.
In this article, we’re going to look at 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 is right for you. We’ll talk you through the quality procedures we follow and explain why our plastic card printing service is the best that you can get in the United Kingdom.
Plastic Card Printers
Plastic card printing allows the user to produce highly customised plastic cards for a wide range of needs. The technology used to print on plastic follows a unique process and is quite different from printing on paper. First of all, information which is printed on to plastic must be durable. It must be clear and able to stand the test of time. Encryption is also an important feature of plastic card printing and magnetic stripes often store valuable information. Direct-to-Card printing and Re-transfer printing are the two most common plastic card printing techniques.
The key difference between Direct-to-Card printing and Retransfer printing is in the process of transferring the image onto the PVC card. Direct-to-Card Printing – also known as Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer – makes use of both a monochrome thermal transfer and dye sublimation process to achieve this.
Dye Sublimation is considered to be the printing technique which produces the highest quality photographic results. Sublimation means to turn colour into vapour without becoming a liquid first. This ensures minimal mess and spillage.
The key piece of equipment is the ribbon, stored within the printer. Within the ribbon, there are several colour panels (namely black, clear, yellow, magenta and cyan). Any combination of these panels can be used to create every colour across the spectrum. The colour panels are heated as required by the portable printer head.
The physical layer of colour is then vaporised and transferred to the first layer of the polyvinyl-chloride (PVC) card surface, where the colour dye bonds chemically with the plastic surface. The colours quickly solidify. Further layers are transferred and superimposed as required to achieve the desired colour. This technique has one of the fastest printing speeds.
Monochrome Thermal Transfer
Monochrome thermal transfer, on the other hand, uses a monochrome ribbon. A single layer of colour is applied to the PVC card at one time, instead of several colour panels being used at the same time. The print head heats up a specific area of one colour panel which is then applied to the plastic card. A varnish is usually applied on top of this to make the print more durable. This is the most cost-effective printing technique when only a single colour print is required. Often, barcodes are printed using a monochrome thermal transfer.
Retransfer (reverse transfer) printing is a little more straightforward. There are two clear stages to this printing process. Firstly, a transparent film is used, which doesn’t feature in the direct-to-card printing process whatsoever. The design image is printed on to the transparent film in reverse. This is done with the sublimation technique, where different layers of colour are applied until the design colour is achieved.
The transparent film is then applied to the PVC card and the original design is displayed. There is no need for additional coating or varnished layers. Retransfer printing makes for a 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.
To learn more about our plastic card manufacturing service, contact us on 0151 346 1640 and our team will be happy to talk.
Why You Should Contact PSC Systems
At PSC Systems we are the UK experts when it comes to plastic card printing. We know how to print on a huge range of plastic cards and will be able to advise you on which format will suit you best. Unlike other printing companies, we don’t just assign your project to a standard template. We treat each order individually and recognise your unique needs.
We communicate with you the whole way too. After you’ve provided us with your design, whether it’s at the draft stage or is a professional company logo, we don’t move forward until you’re happy. The next stage of the printing process is to look at the encryption you’ll need, before taking your complete design to the manufacturing stage. We only use the best quality machinery, and our printing process follows a rigorous quality procedure.
Your new PVC cards will arrive at your door within 5-7 working days. We guarantee to use the best quality plastic cards possible, and you can rest assured that your new order will provide a durable solution to your business needs. Whether you’re looking to print credit cards, membership cards, photo ID cards or even access cards, our team of specialists will provide a solution at a competitive rate.
Fill in the contact form at the bottom of this page to get a free quote from us today. It doesn’t matter how well-formed or work-in-progress your idea may be: we can help. If you’d prefer to speak to one of our friendly team members, then please just click ‘Request a Callback’ and our talented team will be in touch today.
Posted on Thursday, August 29th, 2019 at 9:46 am in Latest News.