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ID Card Printer Ribbons, Film and Cleaning - The Basic Overview

ID Card Printer Ribbons and Film - The Basics

Ribbons, Cleaning Supplies, Cases and Accessories by Printer Manufacturer & Model -

This list may include Genuine and Generic Ribbons - Each Type are Listed as such.

<--- Select your printer manufacturer from the list on the left for a list of Genuine and Generic Compatible ribbons and accessories. Be sure to ADD TO CART to view our lowest prices!

Types of Printers - Supplies and Overview

- Dye Sublimation (Dye Sub) Printers like the Evolis Pebble require a single ribbon to print on ID Cards - Dye-Sub printing prints directly onto the surface of the card by laying down layers of ink from panels on the roll that are pre-inked in the primary colors (Yellow, Cyan, Magenta and blacK) to create all of the colors in your design.  This method leaves a very small border around the card so as to protect the print-head from damage. 

Some Dye Sub Printers are single color only (Examples - CIM K10, etc.)  These printers can only print a single color per pass.  Most ID Card printers on the market today are Dye Sublimation Printers.

Some Dye Sub Printers are dual sided printers (Examples - Evolis Dualys, Evolis Quantum, etc.)  These printers have the option of using either a duplicate YMCK panel or a sequenced extra K only panel for printing on the rear of the card in a single pass.  Ribbons with this extra sequenced panel are denoted as being the YMCKK or YMCKOK variety.  Dual sided printing in a single pass is a nice feature, but is substantially more expensive than printing the card with a single sided printer on both sides.  This can be done quite easily.

Cleaning Rollers - Some Dye Sublimation ID Card printers employ a cleaning roller that removes dirt, dust and other foreign materials from a card surface prior to the card entering the printing chamber.  Please remember to replace the rollers every time you replace the ribbons.  This ensures a good quality print every time.

- Reverse Transfer (ReTransfer) Printers like the DNP CX Series printers require both a film and ribbon to print on a card.  Like Dye-Sub this method of printing uses YMCK colors but instead of printing on the card, the printing is reverse image printed on a laminate that is then bonded to the card. This method of printing provides "full bleed" (edge to edge) printing capabilities.   All ReTransfer Printers sold by IDCardz.com have the capability for dual sided printing.

ReTransfer Printing is an amazing technology that allows you to print FULL PHOTO-REALISTIC COLOR, FULL BLEED IMAGES in perfect color without the pitfalls of traditional dye sublimation card printing.  The durability and longevity of your card is substantially improved by bonding the substrate film with the card material. The ReTransfer process encapsulates the printed image within a bond of extremely durable material and increases the card life substantially. Additional security overlays may be adhered on top of the bonding film to increase durability and improve security. Custom secure holographic overlays are available.

Cost savings are seen in the reduced wear and tear on the print heads. Since the printer is printing on a substrate material (film) that is very thin and strong there is less wear on the print head because there is very little variation in size or texture on the surface area of the film. Since the film is a standard thickness the print head does not have to move to accommodate thickness variations in the cards.

Consistency of Printing is a result of the process that prints directly on the transfer film. Each print is extremely high quality and there is little variation in the print quality because of the way that the film and ribbons are loaded into the printing chamber. Once the film has the reverse image embedded, it is then laminated to the PVC material. In a traditional printer there are several variables that affect the print quality including card size variations, edge smoothness, foreign material on the card surface, ribbon tightness and as the ribbon is used there is a tendency of the ribbons to stretch or move slightly out of alignment. This is not the case with ReTransfer printing as this process is very tightly controlled.

Y=yellow C=cyan M=magenta K=black O=overlay.

OEM Printers - Some printer manufacturers make similar ID Card printers for other companies to market and sell.  This is known in the industry as an OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer. 

They all accept the same ribbons and cleaning rollers.  All produce the same quality prints and use the same quality replacement parts.

Cleaning my ID Card Printer - Cleaning and proper care of your ID Card printer is extremely important not just for improving the quality of the cards you are printing but also for the longevity of your investment.  ID Card Printers are designed to give years of trouble free service if maintained properly.  Refer to the manufacturers guidelines on how to clean your printer and follow this regimen every time you replace the ribbon in your printer.  This will ensure years of return on your investment.

Hazards to Avoid - ID Card Printers are durable products when used properly.  But they have some fragile technology components that can be seriously damaged if mishandled.  Please be aware of the following pitfalls when using, storing or maintaining your ID Card Printer.

  • Avoid High Heat and Humidity - this can seriously damage and shorten the useable life of a printer and all printer consumables.

  • DO NOT WEAR JEWELRY WHEN CHANGING RIBBONS, FILM, or CARDS in your printer.  Most ID Card Printers use ceramic print heads to generate and dissipate the heat required to thermally transfer the image and seal it to the card.   These print heads can be VERY easily damaged by a diamond ring, necklace or other jewelry if it comes in contact directly with the print head.  This is a very costly and frequent mistake.  DON'T DO IT.

  • Electronic Components Don't Like Water - You may be tempted to put your favorite plant next to your printer to liven up your work area or have a soda while printing a large print job - DON'T even think about it.  One mishap with the watering can or a can of soda can completely and irrevocably damage a $2000 printer.

If you have any questions, please contact us directly at sales@iqbio.com

All PVC card products, smart cards, and ID Card Printer ribbons are non-returnable.


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