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Printing Plastic Cards - Overview of Printer Accessories Best Practices

Printing plastic cards is becoming more popular as the demand for card-based identification and membership systems increases. Printing plastic cards is not an easy task but with the right printer and accessories, you can create professional-looking cards quickly and easily. In this article, we will discuss the features, benefits, and pros cons of plastic card printers as well as the types of card printer accessories available, the mistakes people make using them, and the best practices when printing cards.

Plastic Card Printers

A plastic card printer is a machine that embosses plastic cards with digital images, text, or logos. These printers can produce simple membership cards, airline tickets, or custom plastic cards with photo identification. They can also print on both sides so information can be printed on the back of the card as well. Plastic card printers are becoming increasingly popular as businesses look to secure their premises by requiring cardholders to show identification.

Features Benefits

  • High-Definition Printing: Plastic card printers use high-definition printing that allows for vivid colors, precise text, and intricate logos.
  • Customizable Cards: Plastic card printers are fully customizable which allows you to create unique cards for any business or individual.
  • Speed: Plastic card printers are able to print quickly and can produce up to 500 cards in an hour.
  • Durability: Plastic cards are more durable than paper cards and can withstand water and extreme temperatures.

Pros Cons

  • Pros: Plastic card printers are fast, reliable, and cost effective. They are also very user friendly and have a wide variety of features.
  • Cons: Plastic card printers can be expensive and require maintenance. They also require a significant amount of setup time to configure them for each job.

Card Printer Accessories

Card printer accessories are essential for creating professional-looking cards. Here are some of the most popular accessories for plastic card printers:

  • Ribbons: The ribbon is the ink source for a card printer. There are several types of ribbons available that are designed for different types of printing jobs.
  • Data Cards: A data card holds the data that is printed onto the plastic card. Data cards come in different sizes and are usually pre-programmed for specific applications.
  • Encoders: An encoder is a device that is used to store data onto the data cards. Encoders come in several types, and each type has its own set of features.
  • Software: Card printing software is essential for creating cards quickly and easily. There are several types of software available, such as desktop software, online web-based software, and mobile apps.
  • Magnetic Strips: Magnetic strips can be added to cards to enable secure access control or track customer purchases.

Mistakes People Make Best Practices

When printing plastic cards, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can lead to poor quality cards. Here are some common mistakes to avoid the best practices when printing plastic cards:


  • Not Choosing The Right Printer: Plastic card printers come in many different sizes and speeds, and it's important to choose the right printer for the job.
  • Incorrectly Configuring The Printer: It's important to configure the printer correctly to ensure the best results.
  • Incorrectly Configuring The Data Card: Data cards need to be properly programmed for the card printer to work properly.
  • Incorrectly Placing The Ribbon: Ribbons must be placed correctly in the printer to ensure quality prints.

Best Practices

  • Choose The Right Printer: Choose the printer that best fits the job at hand in terms of size and speed.
  • Configure The Printer Properly: Use the manufacturer's instructions to configure the printer correctly.
  • Use High-Quality Ribbons: Use ribbons that are designed for the application.
  • Test The Cards Before Use: Perform a few test prints on the cards before using them.
  • Carefully Handle The Cards: Avoid bending or scratching the cards, as this can lead to poor results.

Summary Review

Printing plastic cards is an increasingly popular task as businesses and individuals look to secure their premises or create unique cards for their members. Plastic card printers are fast and reliable machines that can produce vibrant and durable cards quickly and easily. Card printer accessories such as ribbons, data cards, encoders, software and magnetic strips are essential for creating professional-looking cards. It is important to avoid common mistakes such as incorrect configuration and incorrect placement of the ribbon. These mistakes and best practices can be avoided by carefully reading the manufacturer's instructions and testing the cards before use.