General Questions

How do I choose a PVC card printer?

To choose the right printer for your organization, the most important factors include anticipated volume, single or dual-sided card printing, and whether you need added features such as magnetic stripe encoding or smart card encoding. For additional durability, printers are available with an added lamination process. For added security, you can choose a printer that will apply a custom hologram to your card.

For organizations with fewer than 100 employees, what is the approximate cost for a complete photo ID badge system?
For under $3,500, you can purchase a high quality, easy to use badge system for your office. This includes full-featured stand alone ID software, a digital camera with interface software, cards and ribbon, and a single-sided color PVC card printer.
Our company has fewer than 100 employees. Can you make our ID badges for us?
T&G ID Systems offers fast turnaround for small businesses. We design a badge with your company logo and information, and you send us your employee names and photos via email. Badges are produced within two days. You can also send your employees to our office to have their ID made in under 10 minutes. Complete pricing is shown on our website under “ID Badge Service”.
What are other uses of the card printer in addition to visual ID badges?
Other uses include gift/loyalty cards, visitor badges, time clock cards, membership cards, discount cards, event name badges, or luggage tags.
How flexible are the design capabilities?
ID software is very open and flexible. First, you choose whether the card will be vertical or horizontal. The software allows you to import logos and other graphics. You choose fonts and size for all your text fields. The size and location of the photo is flexible. Adding color backgrounds allows you to make distinctions between cards.
If I have access cards for my facility, can I convert to a photo ID badge that also works as an access card?
Any facility using proximity readers for door access can have photo ID badges printed directly to 30 mil PVC access cards, thus eliminating the need to have two separate cards. Photo IDs with a self- adhesive backing can be attached to existing access cards to simulate an all-in-one card.
Does the ID software allow more than one barcode printed on an ID badge?
In many school applications, there is a need to have two barcodes on the student ID badge. The lunchroom may use a different barcode from the library. The AsureID software allows multiple barcodes to be printed on one badge.
Can there be multiple ID stations in place that only print to one central printer?
PVC card printers can be ordered with an ethernet option that allows the printer to be networked and therefore multiple ID stations can use one central printer.
What are the various ways to wear an ID badge?
ID badges can be worn on a neck lanyard, retractable badge reel, a magnetic bar set, inside a badgeholder, or with a standard strap clip. Lanyards and reels can be customized with logos and text. Our ID Attachments catalog can be accessed from our homepage.
How long does it take to get custom neck lanyards?
Custom lanyards and reels are delivered within 20 days from proof approval. Basic custom lanyards with text only are available on a three-day turnaround. See our custom lanyard design tool on our website.
Our ID badges need some sort of enclosure for extra protection. What is available?
Badgeholders come in many different styles. Most are clear vinyl and can have the option of being open to allow the badge to be removed anytime, or locked at the top so that the badge is securely enclosed. To see all the styles available, our ID Attachments catalog can be accessed from our homepage.
Our badges are worn outside on a daily basis. What can be done to slow the fading from the sunlight?
T&G offers peel-n-stick UV protection overlays for ID badges. These are applied to the top of the badge after they have been printed by the PVC card printer.
For additional security, can a hologram be added to our existing ID badge?
T&G offers peel-n-stick hologram overlays for ID badges. These are applied to the top of the badge after they have been printed by the PVC card printer. The hologram image contains a repeated pattern of a seal and key.
What is the typical life span of an ID card?
Using a standard 30 mil PVC card and the dye-sub printing process, most ID cards will last up to two years before they might begin to fade or crack. For a longer life, higher quality composite PVC cards can be used. Also, printers are available with lamination capabilities to further protect cards and extend life. New reverse transfer printers (the Zebra ZXP8) also provide increased durability.
What do YMCKO and YMCKOK mean?

The letters represent the pigment colors or coatings printed on your badge.

  • Y=Yellow
  • M=Magenta
  • C=Cyan (blue)
  • K=Black
  • O=Overlay (or T=Topcoat)

The YMC panels are combined to make all of the colors on the card. They are the three primary pigment colors yellow, cyan, and magenta. The K panel is a black resin panel and is used for sharp lettering and for bar codes. The O panel is a clear overlay that is used to seal the dye off from the air. If the dye is not sealed it will fade quickly. Some printer manufacturers call this the T panel (topcoat). The second K in YMCKOK means that one side is printed in black only.

Maintenance Questions

How many cards can I print with one ribbon?
Ribbons come in different sizes depending on the brand of printer and the type of printing needed. A YMCKO ribbon is for printing full-color ID cards. If you are printing dual-sided cards with color on both sides, you will need to remember that each side counts as one print, so a YMCKO ribbon that offers 200 prints, will only print 100 full-color dual-sided cards. Another option is a YMCKOK ribbon for dual-sided cards that will have full color on one side and only black on the other. A YMCKOK ribbon offering 165 prints will print 165 dual-sided cards.
What is the best way to handle PVC cards and keep them clean?
Try to handle the cards on the edges only. This will keep skin oil from affecting the print quality on the card. Cards that are not loaded in the printer should be kept free of dust by storing in a closed box or sealed in a plastic bag.
Our company has a new logo, and we want to print new badges for all employees. Will we have to print each badge one at a time?
No, most ID software will allow batch printing. In most cases, you can choose to print the batch alphabetically or by department, or some other classification.
If the ribbon breaks, can I continue to use it?
Yes, ribbons can be taped back together and reloaded into the printer for continued use. Totally used ribbons cannot be re-filled.
How does the dye-sublimation printing process work?
Most full color ID card printer ribbons are made up of five to six panels. The color printing on your plastic card is made by transferring the dye from these panels one at a time onto the card. The dye is transferred when the first panel of the ribbon (dye film) is moved between the printhead and the plastic card. The printhead applies heat to the film and the dye soaks into the plastic (PVC). The card is then moved back and the same process applies the second panel. Once all of the panels have been applied, the card is moved either out of the printer, into the flipper, or into the laminator.