Open up your wallet or purse and you’ll find mainly bank cards, loyalty cards, ID security access cards and many more. Plastic cards have become so popular all over the world, because they offer a good solution to expand, secure and promote people’s businesses.
Today there are 3 main sectors you’ll find plastic cards thriving in, namely: Banking, Retail and Security; all serving uniquely different purposes. For banking there are payment credit, debit and petrol cards. Retail offers loyalty, gift and promotion business cards. Security ID provides just that –security to your business, granting safe access into your premise. Other just as popular sectors include: information bearing cards, for the medical, mining and safety industries.
It’s because of the flexibility and means plastic cards provide, why they are widely used across multiple industries. Take for example data mining, where loyalty cards provided with intelligent software can retrieve buying habits of your customers, times of purchases during the year, demographics of individuals and so much more. Not only do you have this valuable feedback to strengthen your marketing efforts to increase your bottom line, but you also understand what the market is really looking for, so you can continually gather feedback from your campaigns.
Now that we have a bit of background of what is capable with cards, let’s delve in a little deeper now of what type of plastic cards we offer and how they are made.
What we offer
We offer local manufacturing and printing services for plastic cards, and we abide by the same international standards that bank cards are made from, which is 760mic (0.76mm thick), 85.60 x 53.98mm, round cornered. The material used is PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and is the standard across the industry. In the beginning before PVC became the accepted industry standard, laminated cards were used, but because of fraud/tampering and wear and tear, PVC took over and has been in flavour ever since. A number of features and finishes can be added to any card, such as magnetic stripe and encoding, RFID embedding + encoding, signature panels, VDP (Variable Database Printing) of barcodes, names, numbers, dates, photo ID’s on each and every card, UV and spot UV varnishing, embossing + colour tipping, pearlescent shine, glitter and metallic gold and silver shine + silver and gold foiling.
We are capable of producing as little as 100 cards to thousands and upwards of 100’s of thousands to millions of cards. In the factory we have just under a 100 skilled employee’s working day and night shifts throughout the week to make good on customer demands. Our lead time is 10-12 working days generally with exception to larger orders; however it will take no longer than a month to produce.
How PVC cards are made
It all starts in large A3 oversized PVC sheets, where they are loaded into the printer, ready to be fed through and printed. Our Heidelberg printers offer beautifully full colour printed cards at the highest standard of 2400 dpi (dots per inch). The plain white sheets for the fronts and the backs are printed separately and are later collated during lamination where a clear/matte overlay (protective laminate) is added. Once multiple sheets have been laminated, we are now ready for die-cutting, where the sheets go through and are punched out, several at a time, being collected sifted and checked by quality control, then shrink-wrapped and boxed for despatch. This of course is just a quick overview of how printed PVC cards are made. When adding features and finishes they are added either before or after print, depending on the process.
Personalising your plastic cards
We are able to do this in-house, but we realize due to factory lead times that for customers needing to do this on site, we need to offer an alternate solution. For that we also offer desktop Datacard card printers + the supplies for customers looking to personalise and print cards on demand on site. See our products page on Datacard.