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Plastic ID Blog

  • Printer Ribbon Types

    There are many types of ribbons available when printing on to plastic cards with dye sublimation printers. As such, there are a number of acronyms which can be slightly confusing when first encountering them. We hope that this short guide will help explain some of the common ribbon types you may come across.

    The three main colours when printing are namely Yellow, Magenta and Cyan, with the addition of a separate black panel (K) for a higher quality black print. An overlay (O) also known as a topcoat (T) is used to protect the card and printed image from wear and tear. Some retransfer printers such as the Zebra ZXP 8, can use a ribbon with an (I)nhibitor panel to stop the print on smart card chips, signature panels and magnetic stripes. Please note that unlike many dye-sub printers, ID card printers use that abbreviation YMCK opposed to the more popular CMYK format.

    KO - Black with Overlay
    KT - Black with Topcoat
    KdO - Black Dye Sublimation with Overlay
    KrO - Black Resin with Overlay
    K HQ - Black High quality
    YMCK - Yellow Magenta Cyan Black
    YMCKi - Yellow Magenta Cyan Black Inhibitor
    YMCKK - Yellow Magenta Cyan Black with additional Black for the reverse of the card
    YMCKKi - Yellow Magenta Cyan Black with additional Black for the reverse of the card and Inhibitor panel
    YMCKT - Yellow Magenta Cyan Black with Topcoat
    YMCKO - Yellow Magenta Cyan Black with Overlay
    YMCKOK - Yellow Magenta Cyan Black with Overlay Black - For full colour front with a additional black for the reverse
    YMCuvK - Yellow Magenta Cyan Ultra-Violet Black
    YMCKT-KT - Yellow Magenta Cyan Black Topcoat - Black Topcoat - Full colour with topcoat on front, black with topcoat on reverse.
    YMCKF-KT - Yellow Magenta Cyan Black Fluorescent - Black Topcoat
    Monochrome - Single colour, available in Black, Red, Blue, Green, White, Gold, Silver
    Scratch - Grey scratch off panel

    Please note that not all badge printers support every type of ribbon so please check to ensure that there is a compatible ribbon to suit your printing needs. If you need any advice, please get in touch.

    Visit our ID ribbons page for purchasing ribbons - Datacard Ribbons, Evolis Ribbons, Magicard Ribbons, Zebra Ribbons.

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