Plastic Card Terminology

Plastic Card Terminology

Here at the Plastic Card Company, I am often asked to explain print and plastic card  terminology  when discussing plastic card enquiries and I have therefore provided a summary to help  understand:-

ARTWORK SPECIFICATIONS – the required way to produce and supply print ready artwork.  Most commonly supplied is a high res pdf file.

BLEED – is the area of artwork that is extended beyond the actual dimensions of the plastic card.  Providing a bleed will avoid white bars appearing around the edges of the plastic cards.

BARCODE – a machine readable panel made up of variable thickness of lines that apply to data or images.

DIGITAL PRINTING – a method of printing plastic cards using digital techniques in which the data and images are printed directly from a computer. Limitations on printing to certain types/weights.

DATA – personalisation information supplied by the customer, i.e. names, numbers etc.  Most commonly supplied as an excel spreadsheet.

EMBOSSING – is the process of creating a three dimensional image or design on plastic cards, using gold or silver text (similar to that of a credit card).

LAMINATION – a layer of clear plastic is applied to the plastic card.  This thin see through layer will bond with the card through a heating process.  The result being a strong plastic card that is protected against water and dirt.

LITHO PRINTING – most commonly used for large volumes of high quality plastic card printing economically,  requiring little maintenance

SIGNATURE PANEL  – is an area on the plastic card, which can be used to write on.

SCREEN PRINTING – used for printing metallic plastic cards,  involves the passing of ink or any other printing medium through a mesh or ‘screen’ that has been stretched on a frame, and to which a stencil has been applied. This is the oldest form of printing.

THERMAL PRINT  – applying an image by heat transfer to the plastic card.  The plastic cards can be personalised with a number and or text in various colours.  The printer uses the upload data in an excel file.

MAGNETIC STRIP – A strip of magnetic information that is affixed to the plastic card containing various data.  LoCo – which is Low-coactivity magnetic strips to store data, this stores less (or lower amount ) of data than the HiCo plastic card, which are difficult to erase and have a long life.

MICRON OR MC -is the measurement of thickness i.e.  1,000 mc = 1mm.