Office Automation

What is a Photo ID Printer and should your organization own one?

Photo ID Cards are issued in almost all the organizations – big or small, these days. While there are service providers who can design and supply these Photo ID Cards, you also have the option of buying a Photo ID Printer and printing your own Photo ID Cards in your company. Lets find out more about Photo ID Printers in this article.

What is a Photo ID Printer?

Photo ID Printers are specialized printers that exclusively print Identity Cards mostly on plain PVC based plastic cards. They can print both monochrome images as well as color images with photos. They might use Thermal Transfer or Dye Sublimation techniques for printing atop the plastic card surface. Like normal printers, they come with consumables like Print Ribbon, Print Head etc.

Some of them can even print on thick plastic cards with embedded electronics. Some of them can add lamination over a printed ID Card. Some of them can automatically print on both sides of the ID Card. Some of them can erase and re-print on the same ID Card!

Mostly they come with a management software module (for some entry level printers, this needs to be purchased additionally) which enables you to design good looking ID Cards. Some of them can even integrate with internal databases for automatic job printing. All of them have a default USB Connectivity to PC and some of them can connect directly to the network (RJ-45 Port) as well.

What are the applications of a Photo ID Printer?

Identity cards are required for a lot of purposes like Company ID Cards, Visitor ID badges, Student ID Cards, Membership Badges, etc. Other than these display applications, there are some special purpose applications like Access Control, Secure Financial Transactions, etc where special ID Cards are used. Photo ID Printers can print a fully colored ID card anywhere between 30 seconds to one minute. So, if you are doing any kind of spot registrations (like trade shows), they could be useful.

Why should a company own a Photo ID Printer?

Generally there are service providers who provide Customized Photo ID Cards – No doubt they make the process hassle free. But there are some regions where good service providers may not be available. Also, some companies print a lot of ID Cards every month and throughout the year – They could benefit from having an own Photo ID Printer.

The service providers take some time to process the orders, and they might require a minimum quantity to be ordered. Besides, if you want your ID Card NOW, it helps to have your own printer and consumables in place. There are entry level Photo ID Printers suitable for printing few cards that are much cheaper than what you might expect.

What are the Encoding Options available with Photo ID Printers?

Based on the type of printer, some of them can encode Magnetic Stripes on the ID Cards (The kind that you see on credit cards, etc). They can also encode data into Contact/ Contact-less smart cards and proximity cards. They can include digital signatures and can print Bar-Code stripes on to the Photo ID Cards. These capabilities make them suitable for specialized applications like Access Control, Financial transactions, etc.

Have a look at this video to see how a Photo ID printer prints a test ID card (Youtube, 2:14)

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