ID Card Printer Upgrade Modules

ID Card Printer Upgrade Modules

When a business invests in an in-house ID card printer, it can be a sizeable investment. The good news is that doing so can yield massive dividends and make security and authorization needs much more streamlined. When a business starts to scale and outgrow the production capability of its current printer, it's not always necessary to write the machine off as a throwaway. Instead, many ID card printers have upgrade modules available to enhance their features, output, and overall capabilities to better serve the business. Just like when you buy a car, it starts as a factory issue with standard features, but you can opt for upgrade or aftermarket parts. The same is true for many ID card printers – opting for an upgrade module instead of a new system is a viable and cost-effective option for many businesses to consider.

For instance, what may start as a mom-and-pop-shop can quickly become a nationally recognized retailer and require updated or additional ID cards for their growing number of personnel or added locations. The same is true for schools and campuses that renovate and add new buildings, not to mention an ever-growing student body. Event facilities and convention centers deal with a wide range of visiting guests, vendors, and staff members and thus need to be able to create ID cards that allow different staff members and guests into various access points throughout the venue.

It’s for these reasons that companies that do have in-house ID card printers may wish to expand the level of control they have with the people they're authorizing on a daily basis. This can mean a business that starts with one ID card printer may need to buy more machines. Quite often, it's an upgrade to the existing system for authorization that businesses should explore to meet the changing demands within their infrastructure. That's why IDSecurityOnline offers an ever-growing area of upgrade modules to meet the demands of businesses with existing in-house ID card printers.

Available Upgrades

In terms of upgrades to ID card printing machines, the most common upgrade module is the ability to turn a machine that typically prints single-sided cards to allow for dual-sided printing. At IDSecurityOnline, we have a variety of ID card printers that allow for upgrade modules to do just that. Most notably, our Magicard and Fargo line of ID printers make it easier than ever to upgrade from single-sided to dual-sided cards, among other enhancements.

Other upgrade modules for our Magicard and Fargo printers include encoding options to update and enhance the security features of the cards printed. Additionally, these printers have the option to add high-capacity card hoppers to maximize card output, along with ethernet connectivity to speed up the printing process and streamline data received by the printer in regards to the data printed on each card. 

Magicard Upgrade Modules

Magicard printers come with either single-sided or dual-sided printing options, but those printers with only single-sided features can be easily upgraded to print on both sides with one of the company's upgrade modules. Additionally, many of the printers come standard with Magicard's signature HoloKote and HoloPatch capabilities to maximize the security features of every card printed.

The Prima model is the most modular and upgradable of the Magicard ID card printers available from IDSecurityOnline, offering a variety of inline and post-printing upgrade capabilities. Many of these upgrades are available for Magicard's other printers, like the Pronto, Enduro 3E, Rio Pro, and Helix:

  • Ethernet Upgrade Kit (Enduro + model)
  • Contact Chip Controller Kit
  • Bend Remedy Kit
  • Dual-Sided Printing Upgrade Kit (all models)
  • Field Upgrade Module
  • Mag Encoder
  • Contactless Encoder Kit
  • Encoding Module HID
  • Mifare/Desfire/HID iClass Encoding Module
  • In-line Lamination kit

Fargo Upgrade Modules

Fargo ID printers are some of the most compact and fastest printers available today. Like most of their competitors, Fargo's standard, base-model printers start with single-sided output but can be upgraded to print dual-sided cards. They also offer upgrades for ethernet connectivity, high-capacity card hopers, and encoding modules to further personalize magnetic and smart ID cards. IDSecurityOnline offers the following Fargo upgrade modules and kits:

  • 100-Card Output Hopper
  • Extra Card Cleaning Cartridges
  • Extra Cleaning Tapes
  • Green Laser Pen (for viewing lasered text)
  • Ethernet with Internal Print Server
  • 16MB Memory Upgrade
  • Single Input Hopper Cartridge with Lock
  • WiFi Accessory
  • Contact Smart Card Docking Station

From Single to Dual-Sided

Many people want to take an ID printing machines from a single-sided printer output to allow for a dual-sided upgrade. At IDSecurityOnline, we offer dual-sided printer upgrade modules for our Magicard and Fargo printers – the Magicard Rio Pro and most of Fargo's printers (all except the DTC1250e) offer dual-sided upgrades.

For the Magicard dual-sided upgrade, a simple ribbon kit drops into a slot built into the machine that seamlessly allows for dual-sided printing. The Fargo line of printers are slightly more complex when it comes to introducing upgrade modules, but they come with easy-to-follow instructions and IDSecurityOnline offers customer support to make the installation process simpler. These modules enable the printer to product full-color or monochrome images on either side of the card, allowing for more visual authentication methods and added utility functions.

The reasons for a company to upgrade to a dual-sided module vary. One instance would be when additional information is needed that won’t fit on one side of a card. Think about most Department of Motor Vehicles and the driver's licenses they print: One side of a standard driver's license includes a photograph, name, address, date of birth, height, weight, eye color, and other standardized personal information. Meanwhile, the back of the card typically has additional identifying information. This could include whether or not the person is an organ donor, if they are required to wear glasses or contacts when driving, and any restrictions the license may hold for the individual.

Therefore, organizations like DMVs would be optimal customers for an upgrade module to allow for dual-sided printing to enhance the functionality of any older model printers or those that may only come standard with one-sided printing ability prior to an upgrade. Similarly, these are the types of organizations and ID types that would benefit from an upgrade to magnetic striping or encoding features.

Encoding Upgrade Modules

The second most popular upgrades are encoding modules. Encoding modules for both Magicard and Fargo printers could include:

  • Magnetic stripes
  • Contact chips
  • RFID inserts

Fargo offers several encoding upgrades that can be added to their base model printers. Some options include the HDP5000 magnetic stripe encoder, ideal for access control badges, loyalty or membership cards, gift cards, and anything else that would require swiping through a machine. Encoder modules are also available for the DTC400, the HiD Prox, and the HDP8500. Magicard offers similar upgrades for the Prima 4 printer, its most commonly upgraded machine.

These upgrades typically exist to take a standard single-sided ID card and embed either a magnetic stripe or contact chip. These are particularly useful for all types of payment cards or membership cards. For instance, a local golf club could issue a basic ID card for its members for entry authorization and then decide to allow the same card to be used for transactions within the clubhouse or pro shop. Then, just like many modern debit and credit cards, the contact chip or magnetic stripe could be added as an upgrade or used to print entirely new cards to allow the members of the club to use a single card as both identification, authorization, and payment.

Card Lamination

Most ID card printers come with some form of lamination embedded, that's why most cards have that smooth, glossy finish. However, some cards are printed without it, especially those made of metal or materials other than plastic, and some machines don't offer lamination as a standard feature. Lamination adds much-needed durability and lends to the longevity of use for a given card, especially those with magnetic stripes or contact chips. If a company is in the market for an upgrade module for encoding, they'll generally opt for a lamination upgrade too.

In addition to simply adding that extra protective layer, many upgrades like the Magicard Prima Inline lamination module are capable of embedding Magicard's HoloKote holographs. Other printer brands offer similar holographic embeds. Fargo offers a few lamination options, but are limited to the DTC4500e, HDP5000 and HDP5600 printers.

Pretty much any company not already using some form of lamination for their ID card printing needs would benefit from doing so. An example would be a hospital that requires staff members to swipe their cards to enter different buildings, wings, and rooms. Naturally, these hospital staff members would need to already have some form of magnetic stripe or contact chip to insert into the machine near the door to grant them access into a new area. For nurses especially, who are constantly moving around from floor to floor and switching departments, this can mean a lot of wear and tear on their ID. For a hospital that prints its own employee ID cards, opting for a lamination upgrade module would help each card last longer, outlast the wear and tear, and save the hospital money in the long-run on having to replace and issue new cards.

WiFi Upgrade

Wi-Fi upgrade modules enable printers that otherwise have to be hooked up to a server to connect wirelessly, which allows computers to print and encode cards from different rooms, floors, or buildings. An example is the Fargo Wi-Fi accessory for the DTC1250e, DTC4250e, DTC4500e, HDP5000 and HDP8500 machines. This upgrade module uses the Asure ID software and Windows 8 Pro Tablets synced with an internal network and in-house printer so new IDs can be printed wherever the employees are located within a facility. It is also compatible with any Fargo Ethernet-enabled printer and encoder. Additionally, a single Wi-Fi module can be purchased to use among multiple Fargo printers.

This type of upgrade is useful for a university with many offices and buildings spread out across a campus. Instead of requiring each employee in every department to report to a single building or office for printing, opting for a Wi-Fi upgrade would allow staff members who may require a replacement card or need different cards for different entry points to be able to print these cards from virtually anywhere. Each building could have its own Windows Pro Tablet with the software needed to create the card and even have its own printing machine. This would save the university both time and money, since it would eliminate the need to wait in line at a specific office for a single machine to do the work for potentially hundreds of staff members. This would be especially true at the start of a new school year, when many new ID cards are issued in a short period of time.

These are just a few examples of upgrade modules available through IDSecurityOnline for the Fargo and Magicard line of printers. As previously mentioned, other options could include ethernet connection modules, high-capacity output hoppers and a variety of cleaning accessories. Ultimately, the goal with each of these upgrade modules is to save a company already operating their own in-house ID card printer both time and money by eliminating the need to replace or upgrade the existing printer entirely.