Direct to Card vs. Retransfer Print Technology

Posted December 6, 2012

Direct-to-Card (DTC) printing is the most common technology used by desktop card printer/encoders to transfer images directly onto a plastic ID card. DTC technology prints images by heating a print ribbon beneath a thermal printhead, resulting in the transfer of color from the ribbon to a blank card. With DTC printing, images have sharp edges, deep blacks and a full spectrum of colors. This printing method does not provide full card coverage as a small white border will be at the edges of the card. All major manufacturers produce DTC ID card Printers, with some of most popular models being Zebra ZXP Series 3, Datacard SD360, Fargo DTC1000, and Evolis Primacy.

Retransfer printing is a two-step process that transfers your image to a retransfer film before applying    it to the card. First, the image is printed in reverse directly onto a clear layer of film. Next, the printhead heats up and bonds the imaged film    to the card’s surface by applying heat and pressure. The two step retransfer process creates a true edge to edge (100% card coverage) high quality image on PVC cards and other card types. High end models using this technology include Zebra ZXP Series 8 and Fargo HDP5000. Remember, when using a retransfer printer; don’t forget to add the retransfer film with your ribbon.

For help finding the right  ID Card Printer for your business, contact us at BarcodesInc.

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