A card printer is an electronic desktop printer with single card feeders that print and personalize plastic cards. In this respect, they differ from, for example, label printers which have a continuous supply feed. Card dimensions are usually 85.60 × 53.98 mm, standardized under ISO/IEC 7810 as ID-1. This format is also used in EC-cards, telephone cards, European Union drivers’ licenses and health insurance cards.
This is commonly known as the bank card format. Card printers are controlled by corresponding printer drivers or by means of a specific programming language. Generally, card printers are designed with laminating, striping, and punching functions, and use a desktop or web-based software. The hardware features of a card printer differentiate a card printer from the more traditional printers, as ID cards are usually made of PVC plastic and require laminating and punching. Different card printers can accept different card thicknesses and dimensions.
Identification cards today are far more versatile than just a basic photo ID. Today, you can use barcodes, magnetic stripes, RFID, and Smart Card technologies on an ID for greater security and traceability across many applications. Whether your business needs are low-volume office printing or full-scale enterprise and educational applications, there is an ID Card printer that will meet your needs.
There is a large variety of ID card printers and options for your application. While their operation has become easier, choosing the right one can be challenging without knowing and understanding the differences and options.
The first step in finding a printer is identifying your specific needs.
What are you printing ID cards for?
How many cards will you print per day?
Will you print on both sides of the card?
Do you need edge-to-edge printing?
What kind of encoding options will you need?
Do you need to make durable or secure ID cards?
Knowing how you’ll be using a card printer will help you decide what type, print method, and other features you’ll need. Let’s review some of the key features and functions.