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How can I increase card durability?

April 18, 2011

Question:  It seems like all I am doing is reprinting employee ID cards because they are breaking or the image is fading.  Can you help me?

Answer:  Cards breaking or image fading can be occurring for a variety of reasons.  It can be from employee abuse, frequent swiping, your attachment, the additional items employees carry which can add strain to your ID badge, etc. or a combination of reasons.  No matter the cause, we do have solutions available that can help minimize your badging reprint costs. 

  1. Switch to Composite PVC – Unlike standard PVC which can become brittle when exposed to extreme temperature, composite PVC is made of a PVC/Polyester blend that allows more flex and is more forgiving of common wear and tear.  By switching just your card stock, you can extend the life of your PVC card, reducing your overall reprint costs.
  2. Protect with a Badge Holder – Badge holders are available in both rigid plastic and soft vinyl and a great way to afford your badge a little extra protection.  Available in a variety of sizes in either horizontal or vertical orientation, you will not have a problem finding a holder that will meet your needs.
  3. Go Slot-Free – If your badges are continually breaking at the slot or if you ruin your costly technology cards by mistakenly punching through the technology, you may want to consider going slot free and utilizing a Gripper 30 holder.  The Gripper is made of durable plastic and is a stand-alone device that can be added to existing attachments such as badge reels and clips.  The silicon core prevents damage to the card so you never have to worry about your slot breaking due to stress or slotting through your technology again!
  4. Shield with Overlaminate – If you find the printing on your ID Badge wearing out due to frequent swiping through barcode or magnetic stripe readers or just because of the unique elements your ID badge is exposed to, you may want to consider adding an overlaminate.  Overlaminates are available in a hand-applied patch that can be affixed to your card after the printing process, or in-line utilizing a direct-to-card/reverse transfer printer with overlaminate capability.  Some printers are modular and will allow you to add a lamination station to an existing unit.  Check with your ID Consultant to see if yours has that capability. Overlaminates extend your overall card life expectancy from the normal twelve to eighteen months to up to five years, affording you the best protection possible to the printed image.

If you determine the cause for failing ID badges is due to employee abuse or carelessness, you can deter this by charging a nominal fee for any additional badges produced after the initial ID badge.  When employees are made aware of the costs to replace their ID badge upfront, this helps them be a little more conscientious.

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