There are two ways to realize the printing of plastic cards: Re-transfer to the card and Direct to the card. The main difference is that the former print head does not contact with the card surface, i.e, printing firstly the image to the Print Film, secondly re-transferring to the card surface, while the latter print head prints directly to the card surface. The technology used is Heat-sublimation or in other words so-called “Dye-sublimation/Resin-Sublimation”. Whichever they are, all use heat to transit the resin to the print media by attempering the semiconductor heater elements to control color ratio and intensity.
The theory for Direct To Card Printer: Card Printer receives the printing instructions from PC, then the Print Head analyzes and uses heat to transit the resin to the print media-PVC card surface by attempering the semiconductor heater elements to control color ratio and intensity. The key is to assure fine contacts of the print head to ribbon to PVC card surface(Non-PVC material will not achieve good dye from ribbon), the print head will press to the card while heating and raising up once finished printing, otherwise, it will break the ribbon. This will result in a slightly unpainted area or white edge. Also, it will have the high-quality requirements of the PVC card surface flatness, not meeting the requirement or using a chip card will leave white speckles.
How to solve the problem? If customers want to print large-area patterns on a large scale, the suggestion is to preprint those invariant areas with an industrial printing machine, then print variant contents like photos and personalized information with the printer. Direct To Card Printer suits customers who care more about the printing cost than the image.
The theory for Re-transfer printer: Card Printer receives the printing instructions from PC, then the Print Head analyzes and uses heat to transmit the image to the print film, then press and infuse to the card surface. It fixes the problem that the Direct To Card Printer could not achieve a good printing on the uneven card(Built-in electronic chip or RFID circuit) surface or even break the print head and can achieve a photo-realistic printing in high resolution, edge to edge printing. It supports printing on contact, and contactless IC, ID, and magnetic stripe and super thin(0.25mm), SIM cards, even printing image very close to the chip position, no need to worry the chip location or print head damage. It supports PET, PVC, ABS, and PC material cards. As the print head does not touch the card surface, it extends the print head lifespan significantly.