How do ID Card Printers Work & Why do I Need Ribbons?

by ID Card Group 4. December 2017 08:01

Find My Ribbon Tool at IDCardGroup.com

ID card printer technology works by running a heater printhead over a ribbon, which transfers the colors to your card to make your design. With different print technologies and ribbons, you can make almost any design!

How ID Card Printers Work?

Most ID card printers use one of two types of card printing technology - dye sublimation or reverse transfer printing. Both technologies require a printhead, a ribbon, and a blank card.

With dye sublimation printing (also called direct to card printing), the printhead applies the ribbon directly to the card. This printing method is known for its fast print speeds, making it ideal for organizations that need to quickly and efficiently print cards.

With reverse transfer printing, your design is first applied to a clear transfer film, then that film is applied to the card. This process allows for true over the edge printing because the transfer film is slightly larger than a CR80 card and will wrap completely around the face of the card. Because the printhead doesn't come into contact with the card, just the film, reverse transfer printers are recommended for printing on cards with uneven surfaces, like technology cards.

Different Types of Printer Ribbons

Single-Color Monochrome – Monochrome ribbons come in an array of colors and can print single-color images and text. 

YMCK – Full, four-color ribbon plus a Black (K) panel. This ribbon does not have a clear overlay panel, so it can be used with reverse transfer ribbons or laminating printers.

YMCKO – Four-color with overlay. YMCKO ribbons are by far the most popular ribbon type because of its versatility. These ribbons include a clear coating overlay to give your cards extra protection from tampering or wear and tear.

YMCKOK – Four-color with Black on back. A full-color ribbon that can also print black text or bar codes on the back of your plastic cards.

Easily Find Ribbons on ID Card Group

ID Card Group's Find My Ribbon tool makes it easy to locate color, monochrome, and overlaminate ribbons for ID card printers from AlphaCard, Evolis, Datacard, Fargo, Magicard, IDP, Zebra, and more.

This tool is located in the right hand column of every page on ID Card Group. To use the tool, first select your printer make (the brand) and then select your printer model.

 

Questions?

Contact our ID experts at (877) 868-0012 or sales@idcardgroup.com for help finding the right ribbons for your ID card printer. We'll make it easy for you!

ID Card Group offers a price match guarantee, provides free shipping on orders over $100, and accepts purchase orders.

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