What to Know About High-Volume Industrial Inkjet Printers

Heavy-duty isn’t just for government deployments. It’s also a secure identity printing trend in financial, enterprise and service bureau environments.

Integrators have seen growing demand for more capable industrial secure personalization solutions for government, financial, enterprise, service bureau and other high-volume use applications.

This has fueled a new category of desktop ID and financial card personalization solutions that deliver higher resolution, faster card output and better cost-per-card economy than what direct-to-card (DTC)/retransfer options have typically offered.

These ultraviolet (UV) inkjet printers also introduce modular system architectures with numerous advantages over standard, large central issuance machines.

Serving Customers in New Ways

Key enablers driving this new product category include advancements in printhead technology, ink chemistry and UV LED ink-curing techniques that enable visually rich single- or dual-sided ID and financial card personalization on standard, off-the-shelf plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cards.

This is the first installment of a two-part series exploring new trends in secure-identity printing. Read part two here.

These advancements deliver crisper print quality than traditional ribbon-based technology by depositing thousands of microscopic ink droplets with optimal size and placement, and immediately curing the ink with strong UV light. Card text and images dry almost instantly during high-speed printing at up to 1,200 dots-per-inch (DPI) resolutions.

Print options include full-color over-the-edge or monochrome text and graphics using multiple configurable ink channels, plus custom colors, fluorescents and color tactile effects. After color ink droplets are applied, clear ink can be layered over images and text to further improve durability.

In addition to improving print quality, industrial UV inkjet printers also offer cost advantages over ribbon-based DTC/retransfer units that use an entire set of ribbon panels for each card design. Eliminating this waste by only using the required ink enables inkjet drop-on-demand (DOD) printers to cut cost-per-card by as much as 80%.

UV-cured inkjet units also enable integrators to offer customers an alternative to large central issuance machines. They are easier to deploy, upgrade and maintain than larger and more complex units, and their modularity creates new ways for integrators to serve customers both initially and as needs evolve.

Scalable, Value-Add Applications 

The first opportunity for integrators to add value in high-volume use applications is during deployment. They can replace a customer’s large central issuance machine with multiple desktop UV inkjet units that provide the redundancy they need to better manage risk; in the event that one printer needs to be repaired, print productivity continues uninterrupted.

Modular system architectures also allow integrators to continue adding value. Printing and laser engraving systems can be purchased either together or as separate, stand-alone units. A customer can begin with a laser engraving system for durable and tamper-proof personalization that provides strong protection against forgery and manipulation. Later, a color UV ink module can easily be added to enable a variety of additional new and unique card designs.

Additional modules can be added as needed, including input hoppers and output stackers to scale production. Card-encoding modules provide the option to print and encode credentials for various applications — such as physical access, cashless vending and time and attendance — in a one-step, inline process that saves time and money.

Another modular option is a camera vision system that ensures accurate image data placement and registration to a pre-printed card surface, and reproduces images so precisely that, for instance, engraved microtext can only be read with a loupe or magnifying glass.

Today’s new generation of industrial UV inkjet printers fills the gap between complex room-scale units and smaller desktop printers while offering advantages over both. They are as easy to use as DTC and retransfer desktop printers but eliminate the high ribbon costs. The units also rival central issuance machines by offering lower total cost of ownership while creating new opportunities to deploy, upgrade and scale solutions as business needs evolve.

printers printing Jim Meier is a Senior Director of Product Marketing with HID Global and manages the portfolio of desktop printer products.

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