Securing schools and campuses
across our nation has
become top-of-mind over the
last few years. From lockdowns
to campus shootings,
no school can avoid the threat
of violence that can take place
on school grounds without
the proper security in place.
Because of this, schools
across America are reassessing
their security measures
and trying to create a safer
environment for students,
teachers and staff.
Investing in an ID card system is a major
step toward a more secure infrastructure for
schools. The latest innovations in the card
printing industry have resulted in printers
that can be operated easily with minimum
training. However, running a successful ID
program might be more challenging than
expected, so here are a few rules to know
when buying and using an ID card system.
1. Anticipate needs. Most purchasers of card
printing equipment make decisions based on
their current needs. This makes sense at that
time, but these decisions can translate into costly
investments in the future.
Indeed, some ID card printers are built to be
upgraded on-site or at an authorized retailer to
adapt to evolving needs. For instance, some
single-sided card printers can easily become
dual-sided systems without having to purchase
additional hardware. That is why a campus that
might need dual-sided functionality at some
point should consider an upgradable machine
at the time of purchase. Other upgrades, such
as lamination or encoding modules, should be
evaluated by the purchaser.
2. Choose the right ribbons. Most card
printer users purchase a standard YMCKO
color ribbon to print their ID cards and badges,
but this might not be cost-effective.
Most ID card printer manufacturers offer a
wide range of monochrome and color ribbons,
including ribbons for dual-sided printers.
For instance, a school looking into printing
a student ID badge with a photo, text, logo
and background on the front, and the school’s
contact information in black on the back
should consider buying YMCKO-K ribbon.
This type of ribbon is designed to print in full
color on one side and black on the other.
Another great option to save money on consumables
is a half-panel color ribbon where
the yellow, magenta and cyan panels are half
the size of the regular panels of YMCKO ribbon.
Up to half of the card can be printed in
full color while black text or images can be
printed anywhere on the card. This ribbon is
ideal for student IDs that include a color photo
and the cardholder’s information. It works
great on pre-printed cards when only a picture,
name or barcode needs to be added.
3. Care for the cards. Good care of plastic
cards is critical to get the best quality at every
print. Users must handle plastic cards carefully.
Dust, debris and oils from skin contact
can stick to the cards, damaging the printhead
and resulting in poorly printed cards.
Therefore, it is recommended to hold cards at
the edge without touching the surface.
Cards need to be stored in a clean, dustfree
environment. And, before use, fanning
them will reduce static and help prevent them
from sticking together.
4. Clean the printer. Cleaning an ID card
printer regularly is crucial to maintain the
printer and print high-quality cards. All cardprinter
manufacturers offer cleaning kits for
easy care of the printer, rollers and printhead.
In all cases, users must follow the recommendations
of the card printer manufacturer.
Failure to comply may void the printer’s warranty,
which may result in substantial expenses
if a printer component, such as the printhead,
has to be replaced. Most manufacturers
encourage a printer cleaning at every ribbon
5. Select ID card software. A major mistake
when buying an ID card system is to
focus on the card printer and overlook other
key components, specifically ID card software.
Often referred to as “the brain of an ID
card program,” ID card software goes beyond
the design of ID cards. It helps manage and
store cardholder records, communicate with
databases and store data in cards.
Purchasers must define their needs carefully
to avoid bad surprises; it is highly recommended
to check the compatibility of the software
with the user’s operating system. Most software
providers offer a free trial of their solution to
do so, and to test the interface.
6. Maximize the use of ID cards. Students
juggle with multiple cards—photo IDs, residence
hall key cards, library cards, cafeteria
passes and bus passes to name a few. Managing
every one of these single-function cards is not
cheap, but with contactless smart cards, all of
those functions can be put onto one highlysecure
campus card to streamline operations.
Smart cards provide a unified technology
platform for access control, campus services
and financial transactions, along with future
applications that haven’t been thought of yet.
These cards are secure as they employ strong
data encryption and the computing power of
the internal smart chip to protect the information
on the card.
Maintaining an effective ID card program
will help schools keep their students, staff and
visitors safe and secure at all times. It is critical
to plan ahead and prepare in advance to ensure
that investments are protected as new technology
continues to emerge in order to keep
everyone as safe as possible. By following the
helpful rules above, you
will be better equipped to
keep your ID badging system
running smoothly in
the years to come.