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Direct-to-Card vs. Retransfer Printing

Direct-to-Card vs. Retransfer Printing

Printing cards can be essential for businesses as well as personal needs. ID cards can be used to access buildings, events, and more. Knowing the differences of Direct-to-Card vs. Retransfer Printing will ensure that you attain the right one for your ID card printing needs.

Should you be looking for the right card printer for your needs, here is everything you need to know about direct-to-card and retransfer ID card printers and their differences.

What is a Direct-to-Card Printer?

A direct-to-card printer is as simple as its name. This printer uses a print ribbon that translates the design/creation directly onto the card.

These are the most common form of ID printers. Some may also refer to them as DTC or dye-sublimation printers, which translates how the printer uses thermal heat rendering methods to transfer the design onto the chosen type of card.

The printhead of a DTC uses thousands of tiny pixels that imprints the ink directly onto the card.

An advantage of direct-to-card ID card printers is that they are capable of printing large quantities of cards. Plus, they are also pretty affordable. Yet, DTC’s usually leave white borders around the card, which can be annoying if you are using a colourful design.

What is a Retransfer ID Card Printer?

In comparison, a retransfer ID card printer uses print ribbon but it prints onto an overlay of film. This overlay adheres to the chosen card using a mix of heat and pressure.

These printers are newer than DTC’s and involve a two-step process instead of one, which enables users to get the design more accurate. Likewise, they also do not leave the card with a white border as the direct-to-card printers do.

However, a disadvantage of retransfer ID card printer is that cannot easily be duplicated. Hence, using a retransfer printer can take much longer to print large quantities of cards.

The Key Differences

Now that you understand what the two types of ID card printers are and how they work, here is a rundown of their key differences.

The main key difference between the two types of printers includes the fact that DTC’s can easily duplicate cards whereas retransfer printers cannot. Therefore, it will take a lot longer to print a large number of cards with a retransfer printer.

Furthemore, a DTC is a lot more affordable. However, the final result of a DTC for an ID card might not be as high quality, due to the white border and lack of ability to handle high-definition photos and graphics.

Overall, a retransfer ID card printer has a lot more benefits than a DTC when it comes to producing high-quality cards. Retransfer card printers might take longer to use when producing lots of cards. However, they offer higher quality results, can produce over-the-edge prints, prints onto access control cards, and is able to withstand wear and tear.

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