Direct-to-Card (DTC) printing is the most common printing method used by ID card printers today. DTC ID card printers transfer images directly from a thermal printhead onto plastic ID cards by heating the printer ribbon beneath the printhead. The color from the ribbon is then transferred and printed directly to the card.
Direct-to-Card printing is a combination of two printing methods: dye sublimation printing and resin thermal transfer printing. Dye sublimation printing produces vivid, sharp color images using ribbons that are divided into multiple color panels that repeat across the length of the ribbon. The thermal printhead heats the ribbon and then applies the color dye to the surface of the card. The colors from the ribbon can be used in any number of combinations to produce millions of different colors. Resin thermal transfer printing uses monochrome ribbons to print crisp and clear text and barcodes. The dye is applied in a similar method to dye sublimation, but in solid color dots rather than combining a variety of colors.
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