IDSecurityOnline Blog


What You Need to Know About Adding QR Codes to Your ID Badges

There are few companies who use only a photo ID badge as a security access point to their facilities. Most have migrated to some type of additional information contained on the card, such as bar codes, QR codes, magnetic stripes, or smart chips that offer additional information. These types of technologies help you gain instant access to more detailed information about the holder of the card, and greatly aid in adding another layer of security to your building’s system.

Adding a high-tech option for storing additional data on an ID badge doesn’t need to break the bank, however. QR codes are a high-tech, low-cost option for companies with varying levels of access or who require additional information to verify the card holder’s identification.

The Top 3 Questions to Answer Before Choosing an ID Card Printer

Your organization’s security and identification requirements are unique to your individual specifications, and the ID card printer you decide to choose needs to be up to the task or meeting or exceeding those expectations and specifications. So how do you narrow down your choices from the myriad of ID card printer systems available today? Your answers to the following 3 questions will provide you with a guide to choose the best option to meet your needs.

How to Take Your Best Photo ID Badge Picture

Whether you’re the subject of the photo or the person behind the camera, there’s an art and science to taking the best photo ID pictures for use on security badges, driver’s licenses, passports, and other forms of photo ID. And whether you’re the subject or the photo taker, you want to present the best possible photo. Especially for company IDs that employees are required to wear, you want your company represented professionally, and that starts with a professional head shot for your photo ID badges.

2 Shortcuts That Will Cost You More in the Long Run

You may think taking the following shortcuts will save you time and even money, but you’d be surprised what it might add up costing you in the end. If you have hundreds of ID cards to print that need to be attached to a lanyard, you understand the draw of pre-punched slot cards. Who has the time to hand-punch hundreds of cards? But this one little short cut can cause serious damage if you have a direct-to-card printer.

Is It Time to Trade In Your Old ID Card Printer?

If you’re like many businesses today, you rely on your ID cards for access control, authentication, and identification purposes. Any down-time in your current ID card printing system is a loss of productivity that has ramifications far beyond inconvenience. A common response is to wonder if it’s time to trade in your old ID card printer. Many of our customers ask us this important question for a variety of reasons.

Are You Ready to Switch to Contactless Cards?

If you are using magnetic stripe data in your ID security card system, there may be many advantages to switching to contactless cards, safety being the primary benefit. Especially for campuses, moving to a contactless card can give you the option of storing volumes of information and making global updates and changes to that information from a central location. In addition to ID cards, contactless technology can be used in keychain fobs, watches, and cell phones. 

How Do I Pick the Right Badge Reel?

Retractable badge reels have become one of the most popular ways to both display ID security cards and still be able to swipe, scan, or read information on the card without having to remove the card from someone. Their small size makes them convenient to clip on your belt, a pocket, or some other piece of clothing for easy access. The retractable cord slides simply and easily in and out of the badge reel when you need to use your ID security card for access, to pay for something, or to show your credentials.

How Long Should My ID Card Printer Last?

The life expectancy of ID card printers can vary widely based on several variables that affect their performance. For example, how many cards you print annually, how often your print, and how often you service or maintain your ID card printer will have an effect on how long it will last. This is why no ID printer manufacturer will ever state how many cards their printer is expected to print over its lifetime. There are just too many things that can affect its longevity.

Are You Cleaning Your Card Printer Enough?

Like most investments, proper care and maintenance can prolong the life of your ID card printer. A proper cleaning can keep print quality high and reduces the likelihood of performance issues later on. 

But how often should you clean your printer?  

It’s generally recommended that you clean your ID card printer every 700 to 1,000 cards printed. Refer to your card printer manual for manufacturer-specific instructions, but this is a good guideline to follow. If you notice any of the following signs, however, you might need to clean your printer sooner rather than later. 

Cost-effective ribbon solutions

Choosing the right ribbon for your card printer can help you save a lot and increase your card production rate significantly. This is particularly true if you are printing your cards in color.

YMCKOK ribbons

Most card printer users purchase a standard YMCKO color ribbon to print their ID cards and badges and it does make sense for full color single-sided badges. However, if your card application requires color on the front and black on the back, a YMCKO-K ribbon is a lot more cost-efficient. This ribbon is specifically designed for dual-sided card printers and includes an extra Black panel that is used to personalize the back of your cards.  A typical application is an organization looking into printing employee badges with a photo ID, text, logo and background on the front and the company’s contact information in black on the back.

Make your printer evolve with your needs!

If you purchased an ID card printer, you might be part of the vast majority who buy “Basic” printers: no encoding, single-sided capabilities, USB only.

Those printers are perfect to personalize ID badges with names, pictures, logos and barcodes. But what happens if one day, you are asked to print and encode magnetic cards or if you need a dual-sided printer to add more information on the back of your cards? Should you just get another printer?

Here is the thing with card printers today: many machines can easily be upgraded onsite! Let’s say you have a single-sided printer and you want dual-sided capabilities, you can get an upgrade kit and do it yourself in no time! With some card printer manufacturers, this can be done with an activation key or a special upgrade ribbon.

Standard YMCKO vs. Half-panel color ribbon: make the right choice!

If you want to print color badges, you will need a color ribbon but if you look closer at the options, you will find YMCKO ribbons and Half-panel YMCKO ribbons. What’s the difference?

YMCKO ribbons are standard color ribbons. YMCKO stands for Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Black and Overlay. The printer uses the YMC panels to print in full color, the Black (K) panel to print in real black and then applies a clear coating overlay (O) to create durable plastic badges.

Half-panel color ribbons are different: the Yellow, Magenta and Cyan panels are half the size of the regular panels of a YMCKO ribbon. The K (Black) and O (Overlay) are full size panels. This means that up to half of the card can be printed in full color while black text or images can be printed anywhere on the card.

Tips to fix ribbon breaking issues

You are trying to print your badges but your ribbon keeps breaking. The good news is that this issue can easily be fixed.

  • The first step is to clean your card printer. Follow the recommendations of your card printer manufacturer to clean printer and printhead. Dust and debris can damage your printer and considerably impact print quality.

How to choose your ID cards

Your card printer and card application will determine which ID cards are right for you.

Here are a few tips when choosing ID cards:

  • Card thickness: ID card printers will only accept specific card thicknesses. Most printers are built to print 30mil cards (thickness of a credit card) so if you need to personalize thinner cards (10-20mil), check the specs of your printer. 

How to take care of your blank PVC cards

Taking care of your blank white cards is critical to get the best quality at every print. Dust and debris on your cards can easily damage your ID card printer and result in poorly printed cards.

To make sure that you get the best out of your blank PVC cards, follow these steps:

  • Store your packs of cards in a clean, dust-free environment. Keep your cards in a temperature controlled area to avoid extreme heat or cold.
  • Unpack your cards only when you are ready to use them. Do not use a sharp object to open the shrink wrapping to avoid scratches on your cards.
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