Printers & Systems

Field Upgrades for Your ID Card Printer

ID Card Printer Field Upgrades

It’s a fairly common occurrence: we’ll get a call for the purchase of a new ID badge printer and find out that the person on the other end of the phone isn’t really sure what they need now or what’s they may need in the future. If this sounds familiar to you, it may be beneficial to at ID card printer models that offer field upgradeable options. Many of the printers on the market are “what-you-buy-is-what-you-get.” If you need additional features down the road, you’ll need to think of that beforehand or end up having to get a whole new badge machine. There are a few manufacturers that do offer field upgrades to their printers; these upgrades allow the printer to grow with an organization’s needs, and best of all most these are configured to do them yourself. Whether you need to add information on the back of your cards or to a magnetic stripe, encode a contact chip or RFID cards, or even add lamination for extra durability and security, there are options for you!Evolis Primacy ID Card Printer Dual-sided Upgrade This is the easiest and most common upgrade we see, and the option that is most widely available. While it is the most widely available, it is limited to Magicard, Evolis, and Fargo. Both the Magicard Enduro and Rio Pro offer this option with a simple ribbon kit you just drop in to activate the flipper unit. Once the kit’s in, you’re ready to start printing on both sides of your ID cards. The Primacy is Evolis’ go-to printer, which offers the dual-sided field upgrade. It’s a simple key that you plug in and then remove. Once you go through the drivers and select dual-sided printing, it’s ready to go. Fargo has the widest offering for this type of field upgrade (all of their models except the DTC1250e printer offer dual-sided upgrades). These upgrades are a bit more involved because they are a module that you need to add on. They do include the installation instructions to help, but if you’re unsure, we offer technical support that can help walk you through the upgrade process. Encoding Options The second most common upgrade is adding encoding, most often for:Fargo ID Card Printers
  • magnetic stripe cards
  • contact chip cards
  • RFID cards
This type of upgrade narrows down the brand options further to Evolis and Fargo. Evolis offers a wide variety of encoders that can be added to their most versatile machine, the Primacy, as well as to the Zenius Expert. While the Zenius Expert is simply a single-sided printer and cannot be upgraded to dual-sided printing, you can still add many of these different encoder options to that printer as well. These types of upgrades are relatively easy to install in the field. All you need to do is connect a few wires, put in a few screws and you’re good to go. Fargo also offers different encoder options that can be added in the field, and unlike the dual-sided upgrade, they’re available for the entire line. The ease of adding the encoder to the Fargo printer is a breeze. It’s basically just a chip that you pop in and go. Again, if any assistance is needed, our techs are just a phone call away and are here to help! Lamination If you’re adding an encoder – like the contact chip or magnetic stripe encoder – lamination may be a good option to consider as well. With the repeated swiping of the mag stripe or the inserting and removing the chip card, there’s a lot of wear and tear on the printed card. The added durability that lamination provides is a smart idea. Not only will the lamination add durability, but it also adds extra security with holographic laminate options. Since holographic laminate is a higher end add-on, this limits the printers that allow for this option. Just a short while ago, it was much like the encoders and limited to the two printer brands: Fargo and Evolis. Well, now we have the brand new Datacard Sigma ID card printer which offers the upgrade to single- or dual-sided lamination. Fargo and Evolis both offer this option as well, but it’s limited. Evolis only offers this upgrade option with the Primacy ID card printer (their most versatile and widely used machine). Although Fargo does offer the other upgrade options on a majority of their line of printers, this is limited to the DTC4500e, HDP5000, and HDP5600 printers. Keep in mind that with the Fargo printers, dual-sided printing is necessary to add the lamination upgrade. The CD810 is, by far, the easiest printer to add the lamination option to in the field since you set the printer right on top of the module (the other printers may require more assistance). While they are technically field upgrades and many of our more technologically advanced customers may be able to add it on themselves, we may recommend sending the printer in to have our techs add the module to ensure everything is working properly. Always remember that if you’re not sure what you may need right away, you can always trust the expertise and knowledge of our ID Professionals. We’ll help you find the perfect printing solution to fit your current needs and be able to grow with you as your needs change. Call us today at (800) 321-4405!
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