FAQs

Q?

What does YMCKT mean?

A.

YMCKFor the ribbon illiterates: Ribbons are coded according to its make-up of colours. For instance a Black ribbon would be shown as K (not to confuse with blue) a colour ribbon would be coded as YMC as it is made with consecutive panels of Yellow (Y), Magenta (M) and Cyan (C). A ribbon coded with YMCKT means consecutive panels of yellow, magenta, cyan, black and a Topcoat (T) - some manufactures call the topcoat (sealing layer) an OVERLAY and will print: YMCKO. The special ribbon YMCKT-KT would mean colour on one side and Black (K) with Topcoat (T) on the reverse side. These ribbons are only used on duplex printers.

Q?

What is an RF Tag?

A.

An RFC (Radio Frequency) transponder or tag is a device added on to the take-on spool of a ribbon to facilitate printing. This tag communicates with the printer and installed driver to know the type of ribbon installed and the % depletion. This allows for auto-ribbon initialisation and configuration without user intervention. It also helps the end-user to determine the amount of ribbon left on the spool and know when to re-order ribbon. If the tag is removed, the printer will not recognise the ribbon and printing will be done as if a monochrome ribbon was installed.

 

Q?

What do I need to begin a card application?

A.

For your new or existing cards program, you require one or more of the following:

  • PVC card printer suited to the application (contact us for assistance)
  • Software to produce design a template to produce the cards
  • Ribbon to suit the application and printer selected (monochrome, colour, dual sided etc)
  • A camera (digital or webcam - if the application warrants it)
  • Blank or pre-printed cards for the application
  • Proper training to get the best out of your investment
  • Other accessories like card clips, holders, lanyards etc

Contact us for assistance to optimise your selection of hardware, software, consumables and training options. All of this available at Smart Five. Ask us for our START-UP KIT or special offerings. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Q?

What is a thermal printer?

A.

A printer that uses heat to transfer an impression/image onto specific media (like paper, material or plastic). There are a number of thermal printers in the market designed for very specific application. Herewith a few examples:

  • Dye sublimation printer: a printer that incorporates a thermal print-head and panels of dye to produce images as dots onto the media. The density of the dots, determines the quality of the final image. Sublimation is a chemical term that means: to change directly from the solid to the gaseous state without becoming liquid. The the dye is transferred to the media by consecutive passes of the print-head over the media with a different coloured dye to produce the final product. The Datacard SD printer range is a good example of this technology. 300 DPI (dots per inch) has been found to optimise this process and gives the most photo-realistic results for the money spent.
  • Thermal re-transfer printer: Uses 2 separate processes to produce the final image onto specific media. Firstly a reversed image is produced onto a transfer media with typically a dye-sublimation process as explained above. Then the image is heat-rolled onto the final media. These printers are more costly to purchase and to run but delivers the best photo-quality product. Because the print-head never comes into contact with the media, print-head damage is unheard of. Datacard SR200 and SR300 are good examples of this technology.
  • Thermal wax transfer printer: a printer that adheres a wax-based ink onto paper or material. A thermal print-head melts wax-based ink from the transfer ribbon or sheet onto the media. When cooled, the wax is permanent. It can be done by either a reverse print image (like an iron-on sheet) or the printer can be designed to use ink panels to achieve final product. Monochrome printers use a black panel while colour printers use combinations of CMYK panels for each page. Label printers commonly use this type of technology.
  • Direct thermal printer: a printer that prints the image by burning dots onto coated paper when the paper passes over a line of heating elements. Normally a low resolution printer. Images are not photo-quality but good enough to use as till receipts, temporary or visitor cards. Early fax machines used direct thermal printing.
  • Re-Transfer thermal printer: a printer that prints the image by burning dots onto a film and then rolling the film onto a card using a heated roller. Images are exeptional photo-quality and printed over-the-edge. The print head never makes contact with the card and therefore has a very long life. Printing cost normally high due to the additional film.