One of the common questions that our newer photo ID customers ask is, “Why are my ID cards bending after they’re printed?”
Ultimately, card bending has to do with the amount of heat generated by some types of card printing and laminating processes, along with how that heat effects the different types of materials used to make blank cards. There are two basic types of ID card stock to choose from when it comes to creating professional-looking credentials:
What are PVC cards?
The most widely used of the two are the plastic PVC cards. All of the plastic cards we sell feature graphic-quality surfaces that are visually inspected and shrink-wrapped for exceptional printing results.
PVC cards work best when used with dye-sublimation or direct-to-card ID card printers. However, if you’re looking for superior-quality credentials, we recommend composite ID cards.
What are composite ID cards?
Composite cards – like their PVC cousins – are made of 60% PVC plastic, along with 40% PET material sandwiched inside (polyethylene terephthalate – a type of polyester, just like the fabric). The combination of plastic and polyester is what enables composite cards to provide all of this:
- increased flexibility
- enhanced card durability for significantly longer-lasting use
- Better temperature resistance which reduces warping and bending during card printing or laminating
The unique blend of plastics used for composite cards mean they’re slower to crack or warp in excessive temperatures. It’s why composite cards are recommended for use at resort and ski areas or when printing ID cards in a machine that uses high heat, especially retransfer and laminating printers.
As a general rule of thumb, you should use composite PVC-PET cards if your ID cards are:
- regularly worn outside or in harsh elements – frequent card swiping in extreme cold or heat can cause PVC cards to crack or warp.
- used repeatedly with a magnetic stripe card reader – Because of their sturdiness, composite cards hold up better when used with a magstripe reader.
- produced with a laminating or retransfer card printer – Composite cards can tolerate the higher temperature without causing distortion, bending, or warping.
Composite ID cards are just pennies more per card than PVC. Plus, you can use composite cards with the same access control technologies as plastic cards which can be personalized with colorful graphics, security, and anti-fraud components.
ValuProx, HID and nearly all of the other brands of door entry/access control cards we carry are available in both the standard PVC and composite PVC format. This way, you can choose any ID card printer with the peace of mind knowing you can find the appropriate card type that will fit your unique business needs.
Remember: if you’re looking for a high-quality ID card to use for your organization, PVC cards are great if you have a direct-to-card printer. If you want superior-quality ID cards for your direct-to-card printer, composite cards are the way to go. For all retransfer and laminating card printers, always use composite cards for the best results.
Rely on ID Wholesaler to help you achieve your card printing goals. Call us today at (800) 321-4405 and partner with a photo ID leader!