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What are Rewritable Cards, and How Do They Work?

Rewritable cards are plastic cards that are reusable or erasable. They have a glossy side that can be printed on using any desktop card printer. On the other side, they feature a matte surface that contains a thermo sensitive material that can be “printed” on, erased and reused for up to 500 times, hence the name.

A card printer equipped with erase and rewrite technology is needed to utilize the reusable side of a rewritable card. Datacard, Evolis, and Magicard all offer card printer models that have erase and rewrite technology.

Plastic card printers that feature rewritable printing technology do not require a ribbon to “print” on the rewritable surface the cards. This is because they “print” information by heating a special thermo sensitive material on the surface of a rewritable card. Regular card printers, on the other hand, utilize a ribbon of color panels to print images onto the surface of a card.

The way rewrite technology works is actually clever. Rewritable cards are layered in the factory with a special thermo chromatic material that becomes visible when heated to 180° C or 356° F. Conversely, applying a lower temperature between the range of 110-160° C or 230-320° F makes the thermo chromatic material invisible, in effect “erasing” the card, making it available again for reuse. This heating and cooling process is made possible by a thermal head inside the printer.

Rewritable ID cards are perfect for scenarios where a cardholder’s information is updated frequently. They are also very useful for companies that process and accept visitors in high volume and on a regular basis. Using rewritable technology reduces, if not totally eliminates, the costs of conventional ID card issuance, which necessitates the use of brand new plastic cards and printer ribbons. For organizations that are concerned about their carbon footprint, reusable cards are a great option. They are eco-friendly and promote recycling. No need to throw away used cards, simply erase and reuse!


Rewritable Cards Infographic

Printers with Rewrite Technology

Are you looking to reduce your visitor management cost significantly? Try rewritable cards. We can help you find the best solution for your needs. Call us at 1-800-667-1772 for a FREE no obligation consultation. You can also reach us using this contact form

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