We appreciate that understanding ID card printer ribbons can be like cracking code, so here’s a quick guide to the abbreviations that all manufacturers use and the different types of ribbon available.
What do all the letters mean?
The letters used in the ribbon descriptions describe the different panels that make up that particular ribbon and the order the panels are printed in, from left to right.
For example YMCKO means Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Resin Black, Overlay
Y Yellow (lower case y denotes a yellow half panel)
M Magenta (lower case m denotes a magenta half panel)
C Cyan (lower case c denotes a magenta half panel)
O Overlay sometimes called a Topcoat (T)
F Fluorescent / UV
I Inhibitor panel
H/h Half panel
Dual Sided Printing
Any single colour ribbon is classed as a monochrome ribbon. Whether this be red, blue, green, silver, gold, white or black. In fact, scratch off and signature panel ribbons are also classed as monochrome.
Overlay or Topcoat
Offers some protection from fading and scratching. However for real durability consider a laminate.
Fluorescent / UV Overlay
These ribbons allow you to add a covert layer of security to your cards – printing text or an image that can only been seen under UV light. This makes cards extremely difficult to forge.
Note that these ribbons print the UV layer before the black layer so that the UV does not inhibit any barcodes or personalisation.
Sometimes denoted with an h or H or lower case ymc. If the only colour personalisation you require is a photo then a half panel ribbon will allow you to print just half the front of the card in colour and the full front of the card in black – saves on ribbon and money!
The yellow, magenta and cyan panels are half the width of a CR80 card, the black and overlay panels are the full width of a CR80 card
Used to create a white area on the card that is suitable for signing with a pen. Signature panel ribbons are the same width as all other ribbons so you can print a signature panel or area in any size on shape on your card – it doesn’t just have to be a standard signature strip.