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A Quick Look at How ID Card Printer Ribbons Work

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A Quick Look at How ID Card Printer Ribbons Work

Modern ID card printers employ two types of printing technologies – direct-to-card printing and retransfer printing. Even though the printing technology is different, both use a colored ribbon to print the text and graphics on blank plastic cards. While direct-to-card printers use a heated printhead along with the ribbons, retransfer ID card printers use ribbons and films to print on the cards. Retransfer ID card printers, like the FargoHDP5000, can print onto cards with uneven surfaces such as pre-punched cards or smart cards while allowing over the edge printing for total surface coverage.

How Printer Ribbons Work

Printer ribbons also come in two types – color and monochrome. Color ribbons help you to create full-color images with a wide range of color choices. They can produce sharp and distinct colors depending upon the printer capacity and printing technology employed. In any case, color ribbons are ideal for printing pictures, logos, and crisp texts on the ID cards.

Color printer ribbons have a palette of colors used by the printer to create the desired output. All color ribbons have the YMC panel – which stands for Yellow, Magenta, and Cyan. These three primary colors are mixed by the printer in the required proportions to get the secondary and tertiary colors.

Some printer ribbons are labeled YMCK, which denotes that it has a black resin panel on it that is symbolized by K. YMCK ribbons are more suitable for printing barcodes and QR codes. That is because a barcode reader and scanner cannot decode the data unless the black prints on the card are printed in resin black. YMCK ribbons also offer more crisp detailing on the card, which is essential for barcodes and QR codes.

Then there are YMCKO printer ribbons, which have an overlay panel represented by the letter O. The overlay panel helps add a protective layer to the ID card surface as the data is printed. This avoids fading and scratching of the information printed on the ID cards. You can also find YMCKOK ribbons these days, which have an additional black resin panel to print monochrome black on the backside of the ID card. These are used by duplex ID card printers to make the printing process more convenient. The Fargo DTC 1250E is a direct-to-card printing option that utilizes full-color YMCKO for a wide range of applications, including magstripe card printing, smart card printing, and rewritable card printing.

Aside from color printer ribbons, you can also go for monochrome ribbons that will print a single color on the ID card. Monochrome ribbons are used to create black and white cards, with some shades of gray. Some monochrome ribbons can have all the color palettes, as seen in color ribbons. However, they use the entire range of colors in the right proportions to produce crisp black and gray prints only.

Looking for the Fargo HDP5000? Find it on our storefront: Fargo HDP5000

Looking for the Fargo DTC1250E? Find it on our storefront: Fargo DTC1250E

You can also find a variety of supplies for our Fargo printers here: Fargo ID Card Printer Supplies