Q. What is retransfer printing?
A. Retransfer technology uses a two-step process called reverse thermal transfer. The retransfer process prints a high-resolution image in reverse directly onto a clear receiving layer carried by a flexible intermediate skin. The dye sublimation process prints the image to the film and then uses heat and pressure to thermally transfer the image and the entire image-receiving intermediate film onto the card surface. The printed image resides underneath the clear image-receiving layer, inside the card.
Retransfer delivers high print quality, the ability to print on uneven card surfaces such as smart cards, and on non-PVC cards, for a more durable and abrasion-resistant card that lasts longer than traditional materials.
Superior image quality
Separates the image creation step from the process of applying the image to the card, relieving many of the constraints of direct-to-card (DTC) printing, and optimises the dye for print quality – regardless of the card material.
Over-the-edge printing enables true edge-to-edge images, giving users access to the entire card surface. Retransfer process is relatively insensitive to card materials allowing for high quality images on a wide variety of card types such as biodegradable cards enabling “green” initiatives.
The retransfer film provides fraud protection since the film easily shows tamper evidence.
Retransfer technology allows the use of transfer films with holographic images and laminates with a multitude of security features such as holographic images, optical variable ink, and morphing.
Lower printhead costs
Printhead lifespan improves dramatically because retransfer printers print on soft retransfer film panes and not on rigid card substrates as with traditional DTC printers resulting in a reduction in overhead for spare printheads, lower maintenance workload, and improved ROI.
Q. How does retransfer printing differ from DTC printing?
A. DTC printing uses a traditional dye sublimation process and printhead to transfer the image through a dye ribbon directly onto the card surface. Retransfer uses the same dye sublimation process but prints the image in reverse onto a clear intermediate film which is then thermally transferred directly onto the card using heat and pressure.