Two Shortcuts To Avoid When Printing ID Cards

Most people are looking for ways to save money, save time, or both. When it comes to ID card printing, you might be surprised to find out that the shortcuts you’ve decided to take are actually costing you more in the long run in both time and money.

Pre-Punched Slot Cards

card printing damageLets say you have hundreds of PVC cards to print that need to be attached to a lanyard. The most obvious solution is to purchase pre-punched slot cards. The time required to hand-punch hundreds of cards seems daunting to you, right? Well, this may actually end up causing some serious damage to your DTC (direct-to-card) printer.

The printhead on a direct-to-card printer can come into contact with the edges surrounding the pre-punched slot in the cards, causing significant damage to your printhead. If this happens, you’ll begin to notice white lines appearing near the middle of your professional ID cards, meaning one or more pixels have been damaged and can no longer print on the ribbon. In this scenario, the only option you have is to replace your printhead, which can cost hundreds of dollars.

If you know you need to print on a lot of pre-punched slot cards, you should look into purchasing a retransfer PVC card printer, which prints your cards images to a clear film that’s applied to the card’s surface. With retransfer PVC card printers, the printhead never touches the card, eliminating the possibility of damage from pre-punched slot cards.

Using a Single-Sided Printer to Print on Both Sides of Your ID Cards

Another shortcut you want to avoid when card printing is using a single-sided ID card printer and manually hand-flipping your ID cards to print on both sides. You may be able to save on some upfront costs by purchasing a single-sided over a dual-sided printer, but the wear and tear you on the printer from hand-flipping cards can damage both your cards and your printer.

Not only can fingerprints affect the surface of your ID cards, but that oil and dirt from your hands can cause damage to internal parts of your ID printer. It’s important that dust, dirt, and debris don’t come in contact with your cards or your printer parts to help extend the lifespan of your ID card printing system.

Similar to the potential damage caused by pre-punched slot cards from above, your can irreparably damage your printer’s printhead. Again, you may begin to notice white lines appearing across your ID cards. A fix for this would mean replacing the printhead, and you would also incur the cost of reprinting and reissuing all of the cards with white lines.

In the end, it will cost you more to repair the damage from hand-flipping your ID cards than purchasing a dual-sided printer.