Infos About Card Printer

Informations & interesting facts about card printers and ribbons

Printing plastic cards is in principle just as easy as printing on paper. However, there are a few special features that you should consider and know before buying such a device:

Do I need special knowledge?

No, you definitely do not need that. If you can connect and operate a normal paper printer, you will have no problems with card printers.

How do I connect my printer?

Plastic card printers are connected to the printer in the same way as conventional paper printers, using a USB cable or network cable. For plug-in printers, it is not even necessary to install a driver. For all other printers, the appropriate printer driver is installed either via the CD supplied or as a download.

Do I need a special software?

No, you can print directly from all common programs such as Word or Open Office. But if you want to encode your plastic cards, no matter if magnetic stripes or chips, you need a special program and of course the corresponding encoding stations in the printer and special cards.

How do I change a ribbon?

The manufacturers have made this as simple as possible. You only have to open the cover or the front flap of the printer, the old ribbon can easily be removed from the printer and a new one can be inserted just as easily. Re-transfer printers require 2 ribbons to be loaded in a certain way - but this is also very uncomplicated and done within 1 minute.

Why are there special cleaning kits for card printers?

Over time, dust and particles settle in the printer. These are also often found on plastic cards. In order to obtain a consistently good print image and to guarantee a smooth card feed, cleaning should be carried out after approx. 1000 prints.

How do I clean my card printer?

In most cases a special cleaning card is inserted into the printer to clean the mechanism and the rollers. This can be repeated several times with one and the same cleaning card until the printer is dust free and ready for use again. This takes just 2 minutes, but it protects your card printer and is important for warranty claims.

Can I print on any card colour?

In principle, yes. However, the printing inks may appear differently on coloured plastic cards than desired. The card colour and the printing inks mix, so that a blue print on a green card, for example, suddenly appears brown-grey. A print in black, white, gold and silver is possible on all card colours and does not change the appearance and colour image.

A colourful (YMCKO) print is only perfectly possible on white plastic cards.

How does a thermal transfer printer work?

These are the all-rounders among the card printers (Evolis Zenius, Evolis Primacy, Zebra ZC series etc.). In this case, heat is used to print directly from the ribbon onto the plastic card. There is a wide range of different, single-colour printing ribbons as well as colour ribbons for colourful printing.

  • Low acquisition costs
  • Inexpensive monochrome ribbons
  • Special colours like gold and silver
  • Special ribbons such as scratch off or for a signature field (depending on manufacturer)
  • Compact and space-saving printers
  • Very easy to use
  • Upgradeable with coding options and turning station (depending on manufacturer)

  • No over-the-edge printing
  • Image quality does not match re-transfer print

What is a re-transfer printer?

These card printers are specially designed for an excellent, colourful print image (Matica printer, Evolis Avansia etc.). Unlike the thermal transfer printers, the card is first printed on a special carrier foil, which is then re-applied to the card with high heat. This enables brilliant printing results and over-the-edge card printing. If this outstanding print quality is not enough for you, you can opt for the high-end devices (Matica XID8600 or Evolis Avansia) with a resolution of up to 600 dpi.

The advantages:
  • Particularly good print quality, near offset print quality
  • Resolution up to 600 dpi for finest lines and micro fonts
  • Absolute over-the-edge printing
  • Optional special lamination and security modules
  • Upgradeable with various coding options and turning station

  • Higher acquisition costs
  • No single-colour printing ribbons

Which plastic cards can I use?

The plastic cards we offer in the standard size 85 x 54 mm and a thickness of 0.76 mm usually work with all card printers. For special high-end printers you may need special composite cards. If you want to print a different card format or thicker or thinner cards, this depends on the configuration of your printer.

How fast do the machines print?

A distinction is made here between colour and monochrome printing. Of course this depends on the individual devices and your computer settings, but a guideline value is as follows:

Colour printing per card page: 20 - 60 seconds

Monochrome print per card side: 3-9 seconds

Which is the right printer for me?

We cannot answer this question in such a general way. It depends on your requirements and wishes regarding the printer and of course a little bit on the estimated budget. We would be happy to find out for you which printer models are ideal for your project - simply contact us by e-mail at or call us on +49 8094 - 66 899 85 or write us a Whats App on +49 152 - 54 53 64 54.

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