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Choosing The Id Card Printer That's Right For You
7 QUESTIONS THAT LEAD TO THE PERFECT CARD PRINTERAn ID card printer can elevate security at your facility and save time in the process. An ID card printer, coordinating identification software and a digital camera, can streamline access control, update security, and create a professional, unified look among employees. However, choosing the appropriate ID card printer can be intimidating.
Selecting the right ID card printer depends largely on your intended frequency and use. To find the right printer for your needs, simply follow this seven-question guide and complete the recommended action items. By completing this guide, you will easily get the best value out of your chosen ID card printer.
- Create a list of your top five ID card features.
- Determine how cards will be displayed.
- Identify any additional card uses.
- Determine if you need a single-sided or dual-sided printer.
- Make an estimate of the number of cards you will print in a year. Although you will initially have to reprint cards for everyone, consider your regular card creation after that.
- Estimate your annual supply costs based on the different printer models you are considering or ask an IDville System Specialist to do it for you.
- If you will be encoding data on employee ID cards, determine if a barcode will suffice or if you need the added security of a magnetic stripe.
- Determine if your organization's security needs require signatures, photos, or a holograph on ID cards.
- Send your logo to an ID card printer vendor. Request ID card samples using your logo from various printer models and compare print quality.
- Identify any possibility you may need to transport your ID card printer.
1. HOW WILL THE ID CARDS BE USED? Before you can begin searching for the perfect ID card printer, you must know how the ID cards will be used. The purpose of the card will determine what information and features you require in your card design and can determine which printer you need. For instance, ID cards used only for building access and visual identification require far less information and design time than cards that are displayed to customers and include encoded data.
ID card printers are often used for purposes other than creating ID cards, too. You may use your printer for an event, creating labels, or any of a number of uses. Write down those possibilities. They may influence the kind of printer you will need.
With dual-sided capabilities, information you don't want displayed can be added to the back of the card. Some organizations print individual's personal information, barcode, or magnetic stripe on the back. The back side of an ID card can also be used to display valuable information such as emergency contact information, mission statements, or an address where a lost card can be returned. If your ID cards will be displayed on a lanyard or a badge reel where they can easily be turned around, you may want to duplicate the card design on each side so the proper information is always displayed.
If you're not certain you will need dual-sided cards, choose a printer that is field-upgradable and can be converted from a one-sided to a two-sided printer without major expense. Otherwise, you may have to purchase a new printer at a later date.
ID card printers are made to handle varying printing frequency. Printer components vary depending on the expected output. Some printers are made of plastic parts whereas others are made up of metal. The printers with plastic components still function well, but are more likely to have issues arise in the long run if you print more than the recommended card printing capacity.
Depending on how many cards you are creating in a year, you can estimate your annual supply costs. ID card printers require new printer ribbons, which are the equivalent to ink cartridges for your paper printer. Ribbon costs vary by printer model, and each ribbon has the capacity to print a certain number of cards. Once you know how many cards you will print in a year, you can also calculate the number of ribbons you will need. Consider the supply costs for different printer models. You may be surprised at the variance.
Barcodes and magnetic stripes can both be added to ID cards to coordinate with any system that involves swiping a card, such as time and attendance, access control, or cafeteria accounts. However, the two methods have obvious advantages and disadvantages.
A barcode is an entry-level method of data encoding and can be added to the design of an ID card using identification software; it is not dependent on a printer. However, barcodes can also be easily copied. Magnetic stripes, on the other hand, are a more secure data feature that require a special addition to the printer. Printers must be purchased with the magnetic encoding module installed and cannot be added at a later date.
A holographic feature comes standard on some ID Maker printers. Otherwise it can be added to ID cards by inserting a special memory card to your printer. The memory card is created by the ID printer vendor. When the card is inserted in to the printer, it will print a holograph of your logo onto every card. The card can be easily removed at your discretion, so you can still create visitor cards without the holograph.