Introducing the new Magicard Rio Pro 360

Magicard Rio pro 360 id card printer

It may have come onto the market around three months later than planned, but it looks like the Magicard Rio Pro 360 has been worth the wait.

Magicard experienced problems getting the printer out onto the market early in January, so took some extra time to make sure they got everything right before releasing it.

The RioPro 360 replaces Magicard’s hugely popular RioPro. You could say it’s like the cooler, faster and smarter younger brother.

So what’s changed?

  1. It’s faster.

To be fair, the old Rio Pro didn’t exactly hang around, but the new Rio Pro 360 ups the game. As soon as you hit ‘print’, it jumps into action. It’s capable of printing a monochrome card every 5 seconds (that’s 750 cards an hour), and a colour card every 18 seconds, or 200 per hour.

For those of you who need to print high volumes of cards at speed, this increased efficiency will be welcome news.

2. It’s smarter.

ID card Printer 360The 360 is powered by an embedded Linux-based CPU, or LYNK. The marketing blurb likens it to ‘having a brain onboard’. This is what enables it to work fasterenabling seamless communication and the secure processing of ID data. This LYNK recognises USB and Ethernet and allows you to integrate with most third-party applications locally or in the cloud.

We’re told that its next iteration will include WiFi connectivity, though that’s not available just yet.

3. It has sharper print quality. 

The LYNK onboard brain also gives you a wider colour spectrum to choose from which makes for improved print quality. Expect sharper and richer colours.

As well as being good from a branding perspective (the marketing department will be pleased), it also means that photographs come out clearer which is good for your ID cards.

4. It gives you more options for secure cards. 

Rio Pro 360 ID card

Magicard printers are well known for their secure HoloKote® watermarks, it’s what gives them a distinctive position in the card printer market.

For those of you who don’t know, all Magicard printers come with the ability to print a transparent watermark over the entire face of the card, for extra security.

You can select standard watermarks from the card printer’s driver.

With the 360, up to 10 Custom HoloKote® watermarks are available. This gives you the option to have your logo or specific design laid over your cards. If you have different departments or sister companies, you could have a watermark for each.

The embedded LYNK allows for the secure online delivery of these bespoke HoloKote®  watermarks directly to the printer.

Some things haven’t changed though.

The 360 still comes with rewritable technology, Magicard’s leading 3-year Warranty and their technical support.

Rewritable printer Rewritable card printer

Another point of difference for Magicard printers is the fact that they come with rewritable technology.

This means that as well as producing colour cards through dye sublimation printing, they can also print rewritable cards through thermal imaging. This means they don’t use a ribbon to print – they ‘heat’ the image on, and then use heat again to erase it afterwards.

Rewritable cards are ideal if you also print temporary ID cards, say for Visitors or Temporary workers. You print a card when the visitor arrives and erase all the information when they leave, then keep the card for the next time.

This is ideal for data protection, particularly with the GDPR breathing down our necks.

You can print and erase the same card up to 500 times.

Bear in mind that you need special rewrite cards to use this function, you can’t use regular plastic cards. They generally only print in blue or black.

Three-year warranty for peace of mind

The Rio Pro 360 comes with Magicard’s 3-year UltraCoverPlus warranty, which is designed to ensure you can keep printing whatever happens. The warranty includes:

  • Replacement of a damaged printhead
  • A replacement printer if yours has to be shipped to the manufacturer for repair
    First-class supportMagicard are well known for the quality of their technical support. As well as an online portal full of self-help guides, training videos and downloads, they have a network of technical support engineers ready to help, many of which are UK-based.Made in Britain Rio Pro 360 Made in Britain

    One other thing that you may not know is that Magicard Printers are the only ID card Printers that are made in Britain – their Headquarters and manufacturing centre is in Weymouth, Dorset. So as well as the knowledge that you’re buying a quality card printer, you can also give yourself the satisfaction of ‘Buying British’.

    We currently have an introductory offer on the Magicard Rio Pro 360: buy a single-sided printer for £999 + VAT and we’ll upgrade you to the Double-Sided at no extra cost and throw in EasyBadge Lite ID Card Software too.

    Rest assured that the 360 uses the same consumables that the Rio Pro did before it, so there isn’t a whole new suite of ribbons to consider.

    Find out more information about the 360 on Magicard’s website.

Rio Pro 360

What about the data you leave behind?

If you print your own ID cards, membership cards or other plastic cards in-house, be careful you don’t put yourself at risk of a data breach without realising it

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the hot topic in Boardrooms around country at the moment, and if it isn’t, it should be.

The new GDPR brings in far stricter rules around the use, storage and sharing of personal data, or ‘personally identifiable information’. This is any information relating to an individual: anything from a name, home address, photo, and even a computer’s IP address.

If you print your own ID cards or membership cards, have you considered the personal details left behind on the ribbon?

One of the key points of GDPR is the need to process information in

  • a manner that ensures its security, and
  • the obligation to implement measures that build data protection into your data processing activities.

If you use a direct-to-card plastic card printer, you might not realise that all of the personal information for each card remains on the printer ribbon after its printed.

The way that printer ribbons work is that they literally ‘spool’ along the length of the ribbon each time you print a card. They print the personal details required from one section of the ribbon, then wind onto the next section, leaving a record behind of the card that’s just been printed.

Which means anyone picking up the used ribbon after its been discarded would be able to retrieve all the information of your card holders.

Make sure you have a plan in place to ensure the information on your card printer ribbon is deleted effectively.

There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Pull out the used printer ribbon and manually shred it

If you choose to go this way, make it part of the printing process, with an audit trail to follow. Capture the name of the person shredding it, and the date. GDPR requires you to maintain records of your processing activities and show they have been followed.

If you currently use a company to recycle your other office waste, they may also be able to recycle your printer ribbons and provide you with a certificate to confirm it has been shredded securely.

  1. Choose a Plastic Card Printer that ‘scrambles’ the printer ribbon automatically for data protection

There are a small number of plastic card printers on the market with a ribbon scramble feature built-in, which makes all information contained on it unreadable.

The HID Fargo DTC 1500 is one of Fargo’s newest and most advanced Direct-to-card printers. It comes with a number of new built-in security features such as their unique resin scramble data protection feature. This provides an additional layer of security by hiding any information printed with a resin panel, rendering the panel unreadable.

The DTC 1500 also comes with a custom overlay watermark facility as standard and is equipped with standard password protection and AES 256 data encryption for additional peace of mind.

It’s a bit more expensive that most printers aimed at small-medium businesses, but you get what you pay for. If data security is right at the top of your organisation’s agenda, you might want to consider it.

You can find out more information here 

  1. Do away with the ribbon altogether

Another way to get around the problem – or rather not cause it in the first place – is to use rewritable cards.

Rewritable cards don’t need ribbons to print. Instead they use thermal imaging and heat from the card printer to ‘transfer’ the required detail onto the card. They then use the same thermal imaging to erase the information on the card when you’re finished with it, ready for the next time.

In fact, you can erase and reprint the same card up to 500 times.

This makes rewritable cards ideal for temporary use, for example as temporary ID cards for visitors or for workers on short-term contracts – but not for anything you need to last for any length of time.

The downside is that you don’t get a brilliant quality of print with rewritable cards or any real durability, and they only ‘print’ in one colour, generally black or blue.

Also, the cards are expensive – instead of around £7 for 100, you’re looking at over £80 for 100. However you will see that investment back given you can use them time and time again.

And let’s not forget that you need a plastic card printer with rewritable technology in the first place – this is by no means standard in all models.

All Magicard printers come with rewritable technology included as standard, even the most basic level entry printer, the Pronto, which you can snap up for around £500.

Get it wrong and there are serious penalties, particularly for organisations that experience data breaches.

Read more about how the new GDPR laws might affect your staff ID card issuance.

Get the latest information on GDPR from the ICO

New Smart-51 Card Printer range replaces the Smart-50

Smart 51 plastic card printer

 

As of November 2017, The IDP Smart-50 card printer range has been discontinued, and replaced with the new Smart-51; IDP’s next generation of mid-range card printers.

So what’s changed?

The official line is that the Smart 51-has inherited the most successful and proven elements of the Smart-50 card printers, but comes with superior speed and print quality.

Around 10% faster

The Smart-51 is 10% faster than its older cousin, and now boasts an impressive print speed of 5 seconds for a monochrome card (or 720 cards per hour) and 17 seconds for full colour.

So if you’re printing significant quantities of cards at any one time, you’ll notice the difference. The reduced printing noise is a welcome addition too.

The range also comes with a host of user-friendly features:

  • State of the art CPU display
  • A larger card loading capacity of up to 200 cards with the cover open
  • A new input hopper and removable output hopper
  • Support of transparent cards
  • Cartridge type laminate film loading
  • Al-in-one type lock system
  • A new metal frame body for the printing engine which makes for more stable card printing.

Various add-on options available

The Smart-51 is designed to be flexible, and to grow as your card needs change. You can choose the printer that suits you best now, and is therefore most cost-effective, with the confidence that it’s future proofed if you need to add on more capabilities later.

From the most basic model, you can easily add a flipper or laminator for dual sided printing or laminating, or add magnetic stripe, contact or contactless encoding technology if you need to.

Ribbons and consumables for the Smart 50 range still available

Smart 51 ribbonsAlthough the Smart 50 printers themselves have been discontinued, we are advised that the Smart 50 ribbons and consumables will continue to be produced for a long time yet.

One thing to bear in mind that the new Smart 51 ribbons and consumables won’t work in the ‘old’ Smart 50s, and vice versa, so be careful when you’re ordering.

Free software still available

Buy a Smart 51 printer from The Card Network and it comes bundled with the Easybadge Lite ID Card Software, which normally retails around £105 + VAT.

This software is ideal for first-time users, as it’s very easy and quick to set-up and use. The Easybadge App that comes along with it also allows you to create ID badges for staff at different locations easily, as they upload their photographs and details via the App.

5-year warranty as standard

All models come with IDP Smart’s unrivalled 5-year warranty, which show’s IDP Smart’s confidence in their technology.

Search the IDP Smart range of plastic card printers.

Badge your event better

Whatever the size of your event or conference, first impressions count. The car parking, the pathfinder signage and welcome branding; it all counts towards determining your guests’ initial impressions of your event.

And the same goes for their name badge.

So rather than printing out their names in Times New Roman and buying the same old throw-away badge holders, turn it into an opportunity.

Branded, personalised name badges make a big impression

Greeting attendees with a branded, plastic name badge conveys a far more professional image than a paper one ever could.

It’s also a key branding opportunity: one that’s on show for the whole of the conference or event, and will be prominent in any photography or media coverage.

So what’s the best – and most cost-effective – way to do it?

You’ll need a plastic card printer, commonly referred to as an ID card printer.

These aren’t as expensive as you might think. The model you’ll need (and therefore the cost involved) will depend on how much of a workhorse you need it to be. Entry level plastic card printers like the Evolis Badgy start at around £650 and are perfectly good for the light user, though you can spend up to £3,000 on an all-singing, all-dancing model if you need to produce large volumes of cards quickly.

Evolis Badgy ID card printer
Small and lightweight, the Badgy has everything you need to get started – just plug in and print

Most are small and lightweight, easy to carry around and designed to sit comfortably on a registration desk.

Before the event, set up the design template you want printed on the badges (you do this through the card design software) and do some test runs.

You can then pre-print attendees names so that they’re ready for them as soon as they arrive, or if you want to minimise wastage, print them when they turn up on the day.

Speed the process up by having the base cards pre-printed

Where this doesn’t work so well is when you have large numbers of people arriving at the same time.

One way to speed up the process is by having the card design pre-printed onto a stock of cards, so all you have to do is over-print the name on the day.

The most cost-effective way to do this (particularly in large numbers) is for a plastic card bureau to print a bank of cards, which you then put through your own ID card printer when required.

The bigger the run of cards at the bureau, the cheaper the unit price. So if you have a number of events planned throughout the year, think ahead and order all your cards now to make it most cost-effective.

Need the cards to be more than just name badges?

Using a card bureau is often the best way if you need the cards to do something more than just identify the wearer. For example, if you want the cards to also act as an access control card, or smart card; allowing the attendee to access VIP areas of a conference for example; it’s quicker and easier to have these capabilities already programmed rather than trying to do it on the day.

Then think about how your attendees will wear them

If you’ve spent time creating beautifully branded name badges, make sure they are shown off to their full advantage. Some card holders can encroach on the design; others require you to punch a hole in the card to attach to a lanyard or holder.

Pin crocodile clip for name badges
Using this fitting, the name badge can be pinned or clipped onto clothing

The easiest way to let the name badges take centre stage is to use a pin/crocodile clip, that affixes onto the card via an adhesive pad.

Want to recycle and re-use the cards?

Thousands of name badges end up in the bin at the end of conferences, but there is a way to re-use them.

A re-writable ID card printer, like the Evolis Tattoo, allows you to rewrite and reprint the same card up to 500 times.

Which not only makes it rather clever, but also highly economical and environmentally efficient.

Evolis Tattoo rewritable card printer
Lightweight and small, the Evolis Tattoo can re-print the same card up to 500 times

So ask your attendees to hand their badges in at the end of the conference, erase the name and you’ll have a card ready for your next event. The branding design that was pre-printed by the card bureau won’t be erased; just the name details you entered through your own card printer.

One thing to note: you’ll need to buy rewritable cards, regular plastic cards won’t do it.

Of course if your budget will stretch to a self-service registration kiosk that automates the entire registration and badging process, then brilliant. But if it doesn’t, there’s still plenty you can do to improve the way you badge your attendees.

 

How to include holograms & watermarks on ID cards

Protect your ID cards from copying and tampering

Realistically, anyone could copy your photo ID cards if they have half a brain and a dye sublimation printer. It might not be totally perfect, but it’s likely to be good enough to fool a security guard or event officials.

Put a hologram or a watermark layer on the cards and it’s a different story.

What is a hologram anyway?

Hologram bank card
Look for holograms on your credit cards

Holograms are 3D images built in layers, making them multi-colour and multi-level. This is what makes them very difficult to forge. Flex one of your bank cards, or hold it in a different light and you’ll see a Holographic image visible and shining in 3D.

The gold standard in card security 

Having a Hologram on your ID cards is the gold standard in security, especially if the Holographic design is unique to you. They simply can’t be faked in one (or two) dimensional print.

So how do you get one on your ID cards?

Contrary to popular belief, holograms aren’t printed as part of the card; they’re added on as a layer. Some printers do this by using what’s called a holographic overlaminate – a roll of film put over the surface of the card. Some companies use blank overlaminate to strengthen the durability of the card (great for heavy-duty use, for example outdoors), but embed a hologram onto it and it gives the card anti-counterfeiting protection too.

Creating your own custom 3D image in high resolution does come at a price

The large card printer manufacturers will custom print your own Holographic images, either directly onto a ‘bank’ of ID cards or onto bespoke overlaminate film ribbons. HID for example can print large quantities of Holographic Foil cards with your own unique hologram that you can then overprint with individual data and photographs using their Fargo printers. But origination fees are expensive and turn around can take up to 8 weeks.

Need a cheaper solution?

If your budget won’t quite stretch to a bespoke Hologram (and let’s face it, most SME’s budgets don’t), then you might want to consider a standard over laminate or watermark graphic on your ID cards instead. Although this provides a more basic level of security, it still gives protection from card alteration or tampering.

And better still, it’s included free of charge in some printers.

Magicard’s HoloKote

Magicard pronto printer
HoloKote is included as standard – no extra costs

Magicard’s patented HoloKote technology is built into the majority of their card printers including the very attractively priced Magicard Pronto (you can snap one up for just £637).  This anti-counterfeiting feature prints a frosted watermark graphic across the entire face of your ID cards during the normal printing cycle that gives the appearance of a hologram. There are no extra costs to do this and no consumables like holographic lamination ribbons to buy – it’s all built-in.

The Pronto comes with a choice of four watermark designs to choose from. Bear in mind though that this does only provide basic security – anyone with the same printer could theoretically produce exact the same cards with the same watermark.

This won’t worry those who are just looking to deter opportunists. But for situations where the risk is greater, you should consider upgrading to the likes of HoloKote with a custom key logo. Magicard can produce your own unique ‘logo’ panel that you then insert into your printer (currently available on their Rio and Tango models) for less than £400. This then prints your own unique logo watermark onto your cards.

Read more here.

Evolis and standard holographic laminates

Holographic film
Be aware: holographic films have a shelf life of around 1 year

Many card printer manufacturers have standard holographic designs available as an overlaminate film ribbon. For example, you can buy overlaminate ribbons for Evolis printer models including the Zenius and Primacy for around £60. Choose from a generic, genuine Globes or world holographic design. The ribbon slots into your printer and overlays the holographic image on each card. The ribbon is good for about 350 cards, after that you’ll need to buy another. Also bear in mind that this type of ribbon has a shelf life – typically around one year.

Read more about Evolis printers