Best Prices in the Industry

Best Prices in the Industry

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How Do I Cut Down My Card Printing Costs?

If you are like most business owners, you are probably looking for ways to maximize profits and reduce business expenses. One way of achieving this goal is by improving the efficiency of your business processes, and one of those processes is your card printing and issuance program.Plastic ID Card Printers

With a little creative thinking and some practical changes to the way you design and print your cards, you’ll be on your way to a more cost-efficient card printing program.

Use the Right Ribbons

Not many users realize this, but for every card printer model out there, there is a wide range of ribbon types available, and this is the key to cutting down on card printing costs.

Dye-sublimation card printers have two major types of ribbons: color and monochrome.

There are different types of color ribbons, all designed for different printing scenarios. They are often identified by the number and kind of panels they come with. In fact, a color ribbon can have three to seven unique panels, with each panel having a letter designation for easy identification. For example, a standard color ribbon is usually referred to as YMCK or YMCKO ribbon. YMC stands for the colors yellow, magenta, and cyan. The K panel is a black resin panel used for printing text and barcodes. For cards that require dual-sided or duplex printing, a YMCKOK ribbon is generally used. This ribbon is specifically designed for dual-sided card printers. It comes with an extra black panel that is used to print text and barcodes onto the back of the card.Printer Ribbons for Badge Printers

Most color ribbons are sold with an overlay panel included, designated with an O or T, depending on the brand. Overlay or topcoat panels are not for printing; they are applied to the card to make them resistant to fading and scratching.

Monochrome ribbons, on the other hand, are used for printing single-color text, barcodes, or logos onto a blank or pre-printed card. Single-color ribbons are available in a rainbow of colors including black, white, green, red, gold, and silver. Specialty monochrome ribbons like scratch-off ribbons are also available. They are are used for gift cards, phone cards, lottery cards, and other card applications that require temporary concealment of card information.

Knowing which ribbon to use for different printing applications will not only result in beautiful cards, it will also net you big savings.

Create Ribbon-Friendly Card Designs 

Your card’s design factors greatly to your overall cost per card as the design will determine the kind of ribbon you’ll be using. For example, if your card design requires color and some black text to be printed on the entire surface, you will need a full color YMCK ribbon. For card designs that have minimal colored elements or those that include color on up to half the length of a card, a half-panel color ribbon will be the most economical choice. With this type of ribbon, the color panels (yellow, magenta, and cyan) are half the size of regular YMCKO ribbon panels. Up to half of the card’s surface can be printed in full color while black text or images can be printed elsewhere on the card. Half panel color ribbons produces double the normal ribbon yield than a regular YMCKO ribbon, at a significantly lower cost per card, making them ideal for student and employee photo IDs and for preprinted cards where minimal customization is needed.

Regardless of what your card design is and your printing needs are, a specific ribbon is available for each case. Be sure to select the right one to lower your costs.

Half-panel ribbon illustration

Buy Printer Supplies in Bulk for Discounts

When stored correctly, printer ribbons can last between 1 to 2 years depending on the brand. Consider ordering your ribbon supplies in bulk to get sizable discounts. You don’t need to be an accountant to know that lower prices often translate to big savings in the long run.

Clean Your Printer Regularly and Do Routine Printer Maintenance Checks

The overall health of your card printer can also impact your printing costs. Incorrectly set printer driver settings can cause ribbon breakage, while poorly maintained printers can lead to card jams. All these result to higher card printing costs. Fortunately, this kind of hassle can be avoided easily by keeping your printer in tiptop shape. You can have your printing equipment maintained professionally or you can do it yourself. The important thing is you give your equipment the proper care it deserves. After all, your ID cards are a reflection of your brand or business.


Do you need expert card printer support? We can help. Call our certified printer technicians at 1-800-667-1772 today. You can also reach them through our website’s contact form here.

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