What Is Dye Sublimation? (ID Card Printing)

Dye Sublimation Printer RibbonIf you have been shopping around for an ID card printer, you have probably run across the term dye sublimation several times. So what makes dye sublimation superior for printing ID cards? I’ll explain some of its benefits.

To begin with, ID card printers that use dye sublimation printing usually utilize some sort of a printer ribbon. The ribbon itself looks like a thin strip of plastic, usually consisting CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) colored panels. Ribbons that feature CMYKO have an overlay panel (O) for added scratch protection.

ID printers have a special thermal print head that heats up these panels and burns them onto a blank PVC card. The panel transitions from a solid to a gaseous state in the process, hence the term sublimation. For those of you who are not chemistry buffs, sublimation occurs when a solid transitions to a gaseous state without ever becoming a liquid.

Dye Sublimation ID Card RibbonDye sublimation ID card printing produces some of the clearest and most professional-looking images available. Because the images are fused onto the PVC card using heat and multiple colored panels, the image has an extremely long lifespan. This is ideal for identification purposes as ID cards can be placed in pockets, wallets, purses and typically experience a lot of wear and tear.

We carry dye sublimation ID card printers from Fargo, Polaroid, Eltron, Magicard and many other manufacturers. You can find most of our dye sublimation printer ribbons here and dye sublimation ID card printers here.

Do you still have questions? Call one of our photo ID experts at 1-800-658-8788.

Keith Barlow

Keith is a third generation office equipment expert. ABC Office was started by his grandfather back in 1980 and he is proud to be caring on the values that made ABC Office what it is today… unsurpassed selection, detailed information, low prices, and courteous support.

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