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PVC Card Printers

PVC Card Printers

PVC Card Printers

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PVC Card Printers

ID Card Maker

PVC Card Printers

A PVC card printer is just another term for an ID card printer.  PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a popular synonym for plastic and while it most immediately brings pipes and construction to mind, PVC is a durable plastic that is also good for creating and printing ID cards. A PVC card printer, therefore, can refer to any type of photo ID maker.


PVC card printers can use any number of methods to transfer a design on to an ID card – here are some of the methods a card machine may use:


Dye Sublimation – Probably the most popular method of ID card printing, a Dye Sublimation printer uses a ribbon which has panels of the three primary colors (Yellow, Cyan and Magenta) along its entire length. As the card is printing, a print head with heated thermal elements passes over the ribbon and evaporates the ink on the ribbon where appropriate, and transfers it to the PVC card. Dye sublimation is a term commonly used with color PVC card printers – for a black and white PVC card printer, this process is called resin thermal transfer.


Reverse Transfer – One of the more secure forms of ID card printing is called reverse transfer. With reverse transfer printing, the card itself isn't printed, but instead a thin mylar or film overlay is printed with the reverse image of the card. After printing, the film is carefully applied to the PVC card. Reverse transfer printing is popular for smart cards and proximity/RFID cards because these cards are oddly shaped (not flat like normal PVC cards) and running them through a normal dye sublimation printer can cause a warped or bleeding image. The film from reverse transfer printing makes it easy to print secure ID cards without having to worry about compromising image quality. The film overlay on the card also makes it nearly impossible to alter or damage an ID card. Any attempt at alteration (like scratching out a number or trying to change a name) would be blatantly obvious.


Reverse transfer printing is similar to Holographic or Overlay printing, where a holographic overlay with a customized logo is placed over the card at the end of the printing process in order to protect the card from being tampered with. Holographic printing is common with standard PVC card printers that use dye sublimation technology. The capabilities for holograph printing are added on in an upgrade at the time of purchase.

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Not sure how to choose
an ID card printer?

  1. Approximately how many cards
    will you print per year?
  1. Do you need to automatically
    print on both sides of the card?
  1. Do you need a magnetic stripe?
Buyer's Guide to ID Card Printers

The Complete Card
Printer Buyer's Guide

With such a wide range of ID printers, evaluating the options can be overwhelming. This FREE 7-step guide will walk you through choosing the perfect card printer.

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