Card Printing

Card printers let you print customised, secure, and cost-effective cards on demand, right from your desktop and are a great alternative to card printing houses. From ID card printing and membership card printing, to credit card printing, gift card printing, and loyalty card printing, Zebra helps companies print cards for any number of applications. Cards can be printed or encoded with multiple features like barcodes, magnetic stripes, or radio frequency identification (RFID) to increase their capabilities. For added security, print with anti-counterfeiting features such as tamper-proof lamination with holograms.

 

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Access Control Cards
Plastic cards used to gain access to premises usually associated with magnetic stripe and proximity cards.

Bar Code
An array of machine-readable rectangular bars and spaces arranged in a specific way defined in international standards to represent letters, numbers and other human-readable symbols.

Biometrics
Biometrics utilize "something you are" to authenticate identification. This might include fingerprints, retina pattern, iris, hand geometry, vein patterns, and voice password or signature dynamics. Biometrics can be used with a smart card to authenticate the user. The user's biometric information is stored on a smart card, the card is placed in a reader and a biometric scanner reads the information to match it against that on the card. This is a fast, accurate and highly secure form of user authentication.

Card Design Software
Software used to design and print photo identification cards.

CR79 Card
Slightly smaller dimensions than CR80, and made to fit in the well of a proximity card. Dimensions are 3.303" x 2.051" (83.9 mm x 51 mm).

CR80 Card (Standard credit card size
)
Dimensions are 3.375" x 2.125" (85.6 mm x 54 mm).

CR90 Card (Driver's license size)
Dimensions are 3.63" x 2.37" (92 mm x 60 mm).

CR100 Card (Oversize/military cards)
Dimensions are 3.88" x 2.63" (98.5 mm x 67 mm).

Composite Card
(Comp or poly-composite card) A polyester core sandwiched between PVC material. Stronger and more durable than regular PVC cards, comp cards are recommended for utilisation in high-usage environments or if lamination is part of one's particular ID card printing process. (Composition is 40% polyester/PET and 60% PVC material.)

Contact Smart Card
Contains a single embedded circuit chip that contains memory, or memory plus a microprocessor. Contact smart cards must be inserted into a card acceptor device where pins attached to the reader make "contact" with pads on the surface of the card to read and store information in the chip.

Contactless Smart Card (Proximity card/prox card)
Contains a chip that is connected to an antenna (rather than contact pads as in contact smart cards). The communication between the chip and the reader is wireless.

Coercivity
A technical term used to designate how strong a magnetic field must be to affect data encoded on a magnetic stripe. Coercivity is measured in Oersteds (Oe). Coercivity is the measure of how difficult it is to encode information in a magnetic stripe.

Colour Matching
Several colour matching options are included with card printer/encoders. These options are built directly into the printer driver so they are easily selected. Colours print with more clarity, detail and accuracy.

Contact Smart Card Encoder
The contact smart card encoder connects the ISO contact pins mounted on the e-card docking station to a Gemplus GemCore 410 smart card coupler mounted inside the printer. The GemCore 410's digital I/O is converted to a RS-232 signal which is accessible to application programmes through a dedicated DB-9 port on the outside of the printer labeled "Smart Card."

Contactless Smart Card Encoder
The contactless smart card encoder connects an antenna mounted on the e-card docking station to a Gemplus GemEasyLink 680SL coupler mounted inside the printer/encoder. Application programmes can access MIFARE® contactless cards via a RS-232 signal through a dedicated DB-9 port on the outside of the printer labeled "MIFARE/Contactless."

Corn Card
Manufactured from bio-degradable corn, corn cards are virtually identical in look and feel to traditional petroleum-based cards, and provide all of the same convenience and functionality.

Digital Imaging
Scanning or otherwise capturing images which may be subsequently edited, filed, displayed or printed on a plastic card.

Direct-to-Card (DTC) Printing
The direct-to-card printing process prints digital images directly onto any plastic card with a smooth, clean, glossy PVC surface.

Dye Sublimation
Dye sublimation is the print process card printer/encoders use to print smooth, continuous-tone, photo-quality images. This process uses a dye-based ribbon roll that is divided into a series of colour panels. The colour panels are grouped in a repeating series of three separate colours along the length of the ribbon: yellow, magenta and cyan (YMC). As the ribbon and card pass simultaneously beneath the printhead, hundreds of thermal elements heat the dyes on the ribbon. Once the dyes are heated, they vaporize and diffuse into the surface of the card. Varying the heat intensity of each thermal element within the printhead makes it possible for each transferred dot of colour to vary saturation. This blends one colour into the next. The result is continuous-tone, photo-realistic colour images.

EMV
Euro MasterCard Visa EMV is a global industry standard for credit and debit payment cards based on chip card technology. www.emvco.com

E-card Encoder
Select card printer/encoders support reading and/or storing information in up to three different types of e-cards: ISO 7816 contact smart cards, MIFARE® contactless smart cards and proximity cards.

Edge-to-Edge
Refers to the maximum printable area on a card. Printer/encoders with edge-to-edge printing capability can print just to the edge of a card resulting in printed cards with virtually no border.

Encoding
The process of electronically "writing" information on magnetic stripes or smart card chips.

Encryption (as between PC/host driver and printer)
Encryption is when data is altered so only the intended recipient can read or make use of it. The encrypted data can only be decrypted using the appropriate software or with the correct decryption key, which will then decipher the data back to its original state. Provides a level of data security between the PC/host driver and printer by making the data between the two unreadable.

FeliCa
The name stands for Felicity Card, a contactless RFID smart card.

Financial Services Instant Issuance Printer
A card printer designed for immediate issuance of debit, credit or prepaid cards. By printing the card's text and images on-site, banks can offer increased customisation of the card with features like personal photos and co-branding logos, and increase overall card activation and use rates.

Font
A character set (alphabet and numerals) of a specified design and size.

G
No terms beginning with this letter are listed in this glossary.

HiCo
Abbreviation for high coercivity. HiCo magnetic stripes provide the highest level of immunity to damage by stray magnetic fields. They are more difficult to encode than LoCo magnetic stripes because the encoding requires more power. HiCo magnetic stripe cards are slightly more expensive for this reason.

High-Volume Printing
Fast, efficient printing for producing large quantities of cards with minimal downtime for supplies loading or maintenance.

HID® iClass®
Optimised to make physical access control more powerful, iClass 13.56 MHz read/write contactless smart card technology provides versatile interoperability and supports multiple applications such as biometric authentication, cashless vending and PC log-on security.

High Definition Printing™ (HDP)
The high-definition printing process prints full-colour images onto clear HDP transfer film. The HDP film is then fused to the card through heat and pressure via a heated roller. This revolutionary technology enhances card durability and consistently produces the best card colour available—even on tough-to-print matte-finished cards, proximity cards and smart cards.

High-Speed Printing
Card printer/encoders are among the fastest desktop card printer/encoders in the industry. High-speed printing allows for more efficient card production—saving time, money and resources.

Hologram
A unique photographic printing that provides a three-dimensional effect on a flat surface. Holograms cannot be easily copied and are used for security and aesthetic purposes on cards.

ISO Magnetic Stripe Encoder
International Standards Organisation specification for magnetic stripe encoding. The encoder supports dual high/low coercivity and tracks 1, 2 and 3.

ISO 14443
An international standard that describes how contactless cards and terminals should work to ensure industry-wide compatibility and interoperability for use in identity, security, payment, mass-transit and access control applications.

ISO 7816 ISO/IEC 7816
An international standard related to electronic identification cards with contacts, especially smart cards, managed jointly by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Image Capture System
A hardware and software system used to obtain and save personal data and cardholder photographic images.

JIS II Magnetic Stripe Encoder
Japanese Industrial Standard for magnetic stripe encoding; published and translated into English by Japan Standards Association.

KrO
KrO ribbon is composed of alternate black resin (Kr ribbon panel) and clear overlay panels (O panel) to enable black monochrome print personalization of a plastic card.

Laminate
Apply one layer of protective material over another.

Lamination
The process of combining lamination material and core material using time, heat and pressure. Laminate patches used in card printers come on rolls, with and without carriers/liners.

LCD Display
The LCD—or Liquid Crystal Display—shows the current status of the printer and changes according to the printer's current mode of operation. LCD communicates an error with text, which is easier to interpret than LED lights.

Loaner or Hotswap
If your printer is experiencing technical difficulties or is broken, the loaner (hotswap) option allows you to send in your broken printer, and you will receive a functional printer in the mail while the broken printer is under repair.

Lockable Hopper
Some card printer/encoders provide a lockable card hopper door. This lock is intended to help prevent theft of your blank card stock. This feature is especially helpful if using valuable card stock such as preprinted cards, smart cards or cards with built-in security features such as holograms.

LoCo
Abbreviation for low coercivity. Easier to encode and slightly less expensive than HiCo magnetic stripe cards.

Machine-Readable
A code or characters that can be read by machines.

Magnetic ("Mag") Stripe
Mag stripe refers to the black or brown magnetic stripe on a card. The stripe is made of magnetic particles of resin. The resin particle material determines the coercivity of the stripe; the higher the coercivity, the harder it is to encode—and erase—information from the stripe. Magnetic stripes are often used in applications for access control, time and attendance, lunch programmes, library cards and more.

Micro Text
This security process involves printing very small text in a specific location on a card surface. Due to the difficulty of reproducing micro text in its original form, the United States government considers the printing of micro text a valuable security precaution.

Memory Card
A type of smart card. Also known as a synchronous card, it features 256 bit or 32 byte memory and is suitable for use as a token card or identification card.

MIFARE®
MIFARE refers to one kind of contactless smart card or chip ID card. The name "MIFARE" is presently a registered trademark of Philips Semiconductors.

Microprocessor Card
A type of smart card, also known as an asynchronous card. Features 1 kilobyte to 64 Kbytes of memory and is suitable for portable or confidential files, identification, tokens, electronic purse, or any combination of uses.

Monochrome ribbons
Single colour ribbons, typically black (K Resin), but may be offered in other single colours as well such as red, blue, gold, silver, etc. Always a Resin material colour ribbon panel.

N
No terms beginning with this letter are listed in this glossary.

Output Stacker
The output stacker stores printed cards in a first-in/first-out order. This feature makes it easy to keep printed cards in a specific order for faster issuance or to print serialized cards.

Oversized Cards
Oversized cards are used for more efficient visual identification and are available in many nonstandard sizes. The most popular sizes are CR-90 (3.63" x 2.37"/92 mm x 60 mm) and CR-100 (3.88" x 2.63"/98.5 mm x 67 mm).

Overlaminate
Protective clear or holographic material designed to offer advanced card security and durability.

Overlay Panel
The clear overlay panel (O) is provided on dye sublimation print ribbons. This panel is automatically applied to printed cards and helps prevent images from premature wear or UV fading. All dye sublimation printed images must have either this overlay panel or an overlaminate applied to protect them.

Overlay Varnish
A thin transparent layer applied (using the printhead) to cards to resist scratching and fading from exposure to UV radiation.

Over-the-Edge
Refers to the maximum printable area on a card. Printer/encoders with over-the-edge printing capability can print past the edge of a card resulting in printed cards with absolutely no border.

PS/SC
A Microsoft® Windows® standard driver for PC smart card readers. PC/SC drivers allow for application interoperability and ease of integration of smart card reader- enabled PC- based solutions.

PolyGuard™
A card overlaminate from HID Fargo available in 1 mil and .6 mil thicknesses that provides extraordinary card protection; ideal for harsh or more secure environments. Available as clear or with embedded holographic-type security images.

Poly-Composite Cards
(Composite, also known as comp cards) A polyester core sandwiched between PVC material. Stronger and more durable than regular PVC cards, comp cards are recommended for utilisation in high-usage environments or if lamination is part of one's particular ID card printing process. (Composition is 40% polyester/PET and 60% PVC material.)

Proximity ("Prox") Card
Proximity cards allow access and tracking utilising contactless technology (usually by communicating through a built-in antenna).

Prox Card Encoder
The prox card encoder uses an HID ProxPoint® Plus reader mounted on the e-card docking station inside the printer/encoder. The ProxPoint is a "read only" device producing a Wiegand signal that is converted to RS-232 using a Cypress Computer Systems CVT-2232. Application programmes can read information from HID prox cards via a RS-232 signal through a dedicated DB-9 port on the outside of the printer labeled "Prox."

PVC
Polyvinyl chloride. The primary material used for typical plastic cards.

Q
No terms beginning with this letter are listed in this glossary.

Resin Thermal Transfer
Resin thermal transfer is the process used to print sharp black text and crisp bar codes that can be read by both infrared and visible-light bar code scanners. It is also the process used to print ultra-fast, economical one-colour cards. Like dye sublimation, this process uses a thermal printhead to transfer colour from the ribbon roll to the card. The difference, however, is that solid dots of colour are transferred in the form of a resin-based ink which fuses to the surface of the card when heated. This produces very durable, single-colour images.

Reverse Transfer
(Re-transfer) ID card printing technique where the card image is first printed onto a transparent re-transfer film, which is then stuck onto the card surface. Re-transfer printing provides high quality images and provides the ability to print on uneven card surfaces and/or differing materials.

Reverse Transfer Film
(Re-transfer film) A reverse transfer ID card printer first transfers information to be printed onto the card to the underside of a clear ribbon (the initial dye transfer), then transfers the printed information from that ribbon onto the card in such a manner that the information on the card appears under a protective "release layer" of the clear ribbon (the re-transfer step). In other words, card images are transferred (or sublimated) from the YMCK dye film onto a clear film and then laminated entirely onto the card.

Resolution
Dimension of the smallest element of an image that can be printed. Usually stated as dots-per-inch (dpi).

RFID
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a wireless technology for communication between electronic devices. In the ID card industry, it is RFID technology that enables a contactless smart card to communicate with a reader.

SDK
Software Development Kit or Software Development Environment is typically a set of development tools that allows for the creation of applications for a certain software package, software framework, hardware platform, computer system, video game console, operating system, or similar platform.

Smart Card
Smart cards have an embedded computer circuit that contains either a memory chip or a microprocessor chip. There are several types of smart cards: Memory, Contact, Contactless, Hybrid (Twin), Combi (Dual Interface), Proximity and Vicinity.

SmartGuard™ (from HID)
SmartGuard is a printer security option that uses a custom access card and a built-in reader to restrict printer access. With this feature, only those with a valid access card can print cards. This makes both your printed cards and your overall system more secure.

SmartShield™ (from HID)
This option allows the printer/encoder to print custom, reflective security images on the card that fluoresce under a black or UV light source.

Standard Cards
The standard card size is CR-80. CR-80 dimensions are 3.375" x 2.125" (85.6 mm x 54 mm).

Teslin® (from PPG Industries)
A card type made from a synthetic printing medium and is a waterproof synthetic material that works well with an inkjet printer, laser printer, or thermal printer. Teslin is also single-layer, uncoated film, and extremely strong.

Thermal Printhead
An electronic device which uses heat to transfer a digitised image from a special ribbon to the flat surface of a plastic card.

Thermal Printing
The process of creating an image on a plastic card using a heated printhead.

Thermal Transfer Overlaminate
A card overlaminate available in a .25 mil thickness that increases card security and durability; often used for moderate durability applications or when additional security (such as holographic images) are needed.

Topcoat
(Overcoat, overlay) The topcoat (T) panel of a ribbon is applied to printed cards and helps prevent images from some premature wear or UV fading. Topcoats are available as a panel on colour and monochrome ribbons, or provided on a separate roll in clear or holographic styles.

UHF
(Ultrahigh frequency) Designates a range of electromagnetic waves with frequencies between 300 MHz and 3 GHz (3,000 MHz). Currently used in UHF ID cards.

UHF Encoder
Hardware device that processes the "writing" information of smart card types at ultrahigh frequency between 300 MHz and 3 GHz (3,000 MHz). These card types hold information such as access privileges and card holder details.

Ultraviolet Ink
(UV) A covert visual security element on a card that allows invisible graphics to turn red only when viewed under ultraviolet light.

VingCard®
VingCard provides electronic locks and electronic locking systems to the hospitality industry, including guestroom locks, with both mag-stripe and smart card lock technology. VingCard hotel door electronic locks and electronic locking systems give hotels peace of mind. A closed proprietary standard.

W
No terms beginning with this letter are listed in this glossary.

X
No terms beginning with this letter are listed in this glossary.

YMC
(Yellow, Magenta, Cyan) yellow, magenta and cyan are the primary print colours for cards. The three colours are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colours.

YMCK
(Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, monochrome) Yellow, magenta and cyan are the primary print colours for cards. The three colours are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colours. Monochrome or (K) is black resin panel.

YMCKH
(Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, K-Resin, Helper) Yellow, magenta and cyan are the primary print colours for cards. The three colours are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colours. Monochrome or (K) is black resin panel and H is Helper panel (Retransfer printer only) special panel to aid in the transfer of certain card types and materials such as polycarbonate, etc.

YMCKI
(Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, K-Resin, Inhibit) Yellow, magenta and cyan are the primary print colors for cards. The three colors are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colors. Monochrome or (K) is black resin panel and I = Inhibit panel (Retransfer printer only)—prevents printing and transfer on certain areas of a card such as the Mag Stripe or signature panel.

YMCKK
(Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, monochrome, monochrome) Yellow, magenta and cyan are the primary print colours for cards. The three colours are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colours. Monochrome or (K) are black resin panels—the latter (K) is used for monochrome printing on the back side of a card.

YMCKT
(Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, monochrome, Topcoat) Yellow, magenta and cyan are the primary print colours for cards. The three colours are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colours. Monochrome or (K) is a black resin panel, and the topcoat panel provides the card with minimal protection against everyday use and environmental elements (e.g., UV rays).

YMCKO
(Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, monochrome, Overcoat) Yellow, magenta and cyan are the primary print colours for cards. The three colours are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colours. Monochrome or (K) is a black resin panel, and clear overlay or (O) is a thin, protective layer.

YMCKOK
(Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Monochrome, Overcoat, monochrome) Yellow, magenta and cyan are the primary print colours for cards. The three colours are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colours. Monochrome or (K) is a black resin panel, and clear overlay or (O) is a thin, protective layer. The latter (K) is used for monochrome printing on the back side of a card.

YMCKOKO
Full colour dual side ribbon with Black and Overlay on front and back

YMCKUvK
(Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Monochrome, Overcoat, monochrome) Yellow, magenta and cyan are the primary print colors for cards. The three colors are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colors. Monochrome or (K) is a black resin panel, Uv = Ultraviolet used in security applications for ultraviolet printing of security features. The latter (K) is used for monochrome printing on the back side of a card.

ZMotif™
Zebra's XML-based software platform makes the printer enterprise ready with software development and printer management tools for easy setup and faster deployment