Aside from employee identification cards, companies face the challenge of printing hundreds of thousands of visitor badges or guest cards. In many instances, large amounts of paper, plastics and ink are wasted on the plastic card printer. HP Labs has recognized the challenge by introducing a new hybrid printing technology that will change the distribution of employee ID’s, visitors passes, gate passes and temporary passes.
In order to enhance of efficiency of plastic card printing, HP developed a technology called IonTouch which is a cross between the traditional plastic card printer and e-ink technology. Information on the plastic identification cards can be rewritten so that they can be reused by other individuals after card expiration instead of being thrown away to the landfills.
HP’s proprietary technology replaces the traditional ID card printer with the IonTouch Imager that has the capability to write and re-write on a 2.5 inch 300 x 300 pixel display for up to 10,000 times. The surface of the display has the capability for either black or white content or 16 levels of grayscale. The technology is not yet that advanced for color but sufficient enough since most of the HP printer’s use involves employee badges, visitor passes and hotel guest cards.
When the IonTouch system is used, the visitor’s pass can be printed on the spot with his name and contact information including a photo and other additional details like the time of appointment and the name of the person that will be visited. Compared to e-ink and digital displays that costs about $50 per card, HP rewritable display will cost the company a few cents.
Another benefit gained from the HP rewritable display is the lack of power draw to hold rewritable content. When special marks and codes are required on the plastic cards for security reasons and to avoid duplication, you only need to switch to non-permanent ink. Since the plastic identification cards are reusable, it reduces plastic waste disposed on the landfills.
Since the only way with which information can be changed is through the IonTouch Imager, another layer of protection is added to the cards making them very secure. HP technology is very important for businesses that make use of plastic identification cards.