Retransfer printing technology can produce superior print quality. It is ideal for the personalization of long-lasting smart cards, and for applications which require offset-like printing quality.

Retransfer printing, whose adoption by the security industry has been deliberate, in part, because of slow print speeds and high costs, has the potential to do the opposite – deliver higher print speeds at lower costs without sacrificing image quality.

Traditional card printing requires that the print head of the card printer print directly onto the card material through the printer ribbon. This process can be efficient and inexpensive, yet, it can leave a very thin white border around an ID card.

Retransfer printing, however, prints a reverse image on the laminate transfer film and bonds this material to the face of the card. Since the Retransfer film is larger, it is possible to print over the entire surface area of the PVC card without that white border.

In addition, the Retransfer process can improve the durability and life of the card by bonding the substrate film with the card material.

Cost savings can be seen in the reduced wear and tear on the print heads. Since the printer is printing on a substrate film that is very thin and strong, there may be less wear on the print head because there is very little variation in size or texture on the surface area of the film. And since the film is a standard thickness, the print head does not have to move to accommodate thickness variations in the cards. For more details on retransfer printers, Security magazine has a Webinar on its site at that was conducted by Zebra Technologies.

Another advantage can be consistency of printing, because the process prints directly on the transfer film. Thus, each print has little variation in the print quality and the printing process is very tightly controlled.

Finding the Field Proven Solution

Like most state department of motor vehicle (DMV) departments, the State of South Carolina needed printers that could handle issuing several hundred driver’s licenses and identification cards per day, without print head failure, without jamming and without the need for weekly on-site support visits. It also needed ID printers that would provide them with fast lamination, and allow them to grow with the possible demands of the federal government for the Real ID Act, which might require contact or contactless chip reading/encoding, as well as printing on laser-engraved, Polycarbonate cards. The DMV wanted a solution that was field proven reliable for high volume government card production services. The department also needed someone who could assist their staff with the statewide implementation and testing of a new solution.

DMV found a durable, flexible printer and laminator solutions from Digital Identification Systems for high-volume, variable card production for multiple DMV sites; a scalable printer solution that includes options for inline contact chip, contactless chip, magnetic stripe encoding and Polycarbonate printing; delivery and installation support for all 68 DMV sites; and an estimated 2.2 million cards issued per year, with the opportunity to provide solutions to other state agencies.

Printer Accessories: How Holograms Ensure that Security is Not a Taxing Issue for Stamps

Almost 15 years since they were first used, holograms are still a relevant and important authentication device for government tax stamps.

According to Philip Hudson, chairman of the International Hologram Manufacturers Association, excise duty on cigarettes and alcohol is both an important source of government revenue and a means of controlling and limiting consumption. The illicit trade in both, through smuggling and counterfeiting, cost treasuries billions of dollars a year in lost revenue. And the cost is not just a financial one to governments. The damage caused by counterfeiting to a company’s brand reputation, loss of sales and market capitalization can be incalculable. So, it is against such a backdrop that holograms have become in recent years an invaluable and highly effective weapon used by tax collecting authorities in their war on smuggling and counterfeiting.

Today, tax stamps make up a significant share of the security print market, IHMA says. An estimated 124 billion tax stamps are issued annually for cigarettes while alcoholic drinks account for 12 billion – 60 billion of which feature a hologram. This is the largest sub-sector of the security print market, placing tax stamps ahead of banknotes in terms of printed documents.

While tax stamps normally seal both sides, or one side, of bottle caps, they can be also be used on the bottle itself. “And as demand has grown, so too has the trade in illicit products being produced by ever more skillful and resourceful counterfeiters and criminal organizations,” Hudson says.