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Using PVC Cards with Retransfer ID Card Printers

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Using PVC Cards with Retransfer ID Card Printers

Retransfer ID card printers are ideal for organizations that look for high-end print quality for their purposes. They deliver great color depth for ID cards and badges, and can suit all kinds of printing environments in educational institutions, small to large companies, and various industries. However, choosing the right type of blank card is very important to get the right results and create a professional, sharp-looking ID card or visitor badge. The Zebra ZXP Series 9 is an amazing id badge printer with retransfer printing capabilities that allow for photo-quality ID cards with applications in high-security badges, and university IDs.

How Retransfer ID Card Printers Work

Reverse-transfer or retransfer ID card printers apply the card design, imagery, and text on a transfer film and then apply the film on the card. Here, the printhead does not touch the card surface at all, which helps to ensure a longer life for your printer. The transfer film is applied to the card using a heat process so that you get a durable and lasting result. This also allows you to try over-the-edge printing as per your needs.

However, as retransfer ID card printers work on heat application, you cannot use PVC cards with them. That is because the thermal press-type process employed by the ID card printer to apply the transfer film to the blank card can damage PVC material and cause bending, warping, cracking, or even melting of PVC cards.

In some dual-sided retransfer ID card printers, the blank card will have to pass through the heat to apply the print on both sides of the card simultaneously. In other standard dual-sided ID card printers, which print one side at a time, the blank card will have to pass through the heat twice to finish the printing process. PVC cards cannot handle either of the heat application processes and will result in botched and damaged cards.

If you are looking to laminate your ID cards, then you will be applying more heat to the printed cards. So even if the retransfer card printing did not damage your PVC cards totally, they will be more prone to get damaged when you laminate them. This can also wreak havoc on your ID card printer and lead to printer jams and many other potential problems.

You may get through printing on PVC cards using a retransfer ID card printer sometimes if it is a single-card printing requirement. Nonetheless, PVC cards can never deliver the expected results during batch printing operations, not to mention creating the risk of damaging the printer. Therefore, it is recommended to use blank cards made of composite material for retransfer ID card printers.


You can find a variety of blank id cards available on our storefront here: Blank ID Cards

You can find the Zebra ZXP Series 9 on our storefront here: Zebra ZXP Series 9 ID Card Printer