Plastic Card Printing

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Plastic card printing is a major industry, what with the proliferation of identifying cards and cards that have a specific value. Barcodes and other coding are integral parts of plastic card printing because exact identifiers are necessary. Identification (ID) cards are used in every business, academic, and governmental field.

Employee ID cards alone make up a large percentage of plastic card printing. Whether for schools, conferences, or entry into buildings, ID cards are essential in today's world. Healthcare plans issue a card authorizing treatment to each subscriber of the plan. Security personnel carry identifying cards, and clubs of all kinds provide a card for members. Casinos issue gaming cards. Gift cards are available from grocery stores and bookstores. Telephone companies provide calling cards, and loyalty cards are a big part of the customer rewards in some businesses.

Plastic Card Printing Systems

Of course, the greatest percentage of plastic cards is consumed by credit cards, the ultimate in "plastic." Many card blanks are PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is a substance inkjet printers and inks can print on. Normally impervious to liquid, PVC can be penetrated by specialty inks that then migrate inside the PVC and leave permanent markings.

Printing systems for plastic cards range from the relatively simple--drop in the card, snap in the ink cartridge, and print--to the sophisticated. One of the best of these security systems is for use by the military. It has a holographic overlay capability, and a computer with software and accessories installed, magnetic stripe encoders, and a digital S-video camera with zoom and auto-focus.

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