This article explains the use of adhesive-backed cards and the problems that may incur when using them on Zebra card printers
- Select card printer models (see note below)
- Zebra and non-Zebra adhesive back cards
Adhesive-backed cards are cards that can be peeled off a backing in order to stick it to a hard surface or onto other cards. Special care is required when printing on these cards.
NOTE: Not all Zebra card printers support these cards due to the thickness size requirements for each printer. Check the printer's user manual or Zebra's website for printer/card specifications.
Adhesive-backed cards are generally in the 10-20 mil thickness variety, and as such they are more sensitive to deformation during the printing operation. This can lead to ribbon breaking. More importantly, some non-Zebra adhesive-backed cards have a wax/paper like backing that you pull away to expose the adhesive. These cards are not supported as the paper backed adhesive cards are very slippery and prevent the transport rollers in the printer from getting a good grip on the card. This leads to the card stalling during the printing process. When the card stalls, the heat from the print head will stay at one spot for too long and break (burn through) the ribbon.
When using Zebra mylar-backed adhesive cards, keep the following in mind:
- It is important that the card design be one that does not have large areas of color (color areas should be less than 10% of the card area each and less than 30% of the card area in total)
- The design should not be edge to edge, leave a 2-3 mm spacing from the edge of the card to the edge of printing objects / text
- Cleaning your printer frequently will also help, since the adhesive backed cards often have adhesive which "leaks out" at the edge of the card and this can accumulate on the card and ribbon transport areas
Contact the card manufacturer should you have questions about the material/quality of your card.