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What types of barcodes are there?
Barcodes are broken down into two groups: 1-D and 2-D barcodes. 1-D barcodes have a limit of information they can encrypt (usually up to 14 alpha-numerical characters). The 1-D barcodes generally cannot store as much information but can be scanned with less expensive scanners. The 2-D barcodes have the ability to hold thousands of times more information depending on which 2-D you choose. With the increased information storage of 2-D barcodes, they can be used to store biometrics, images and more. There are a wide variety of 1-D and 2-D barcodes to choose from. Some are open standards and formats and some are closed and proprietary. The following are some examples of different barcode types:
1. Code 39 - Code 39 is one of the most common 1-D barcodes and is sometimes referred to as the "3 of 9 code". "USS Code 39", "Code 3/9", "Type 39". The 3 of 9 barcode is capable of storing characters 0-9, A-Z, and some special characters and can store from 8 to 11 characters. The barcodes gets its name because each characters is stored using 3 wide and 6 narrow bars (for a total of 9).
2. Universal Product Code (UPC) BarCode - The Universal Product Code (UPC) is very recognizable in the United States and Canada because it is the standard barcode used on almost all products and allows products to be checked out and tracked by the point-of-sale systems. The code only stores numeric digits.
3. Maxicode - Maxicode is a 2-D barcode that can store up to 100 characters. This code was developed by United Parcel Service (UPS) and is printed on their shipping labels to help track packages. The barcode is distinctive because of the bull's-eye in the center of the code, which allows the reader to find the code quickly and read it even if moving rapidly and in any position.
4. PDF 417 - PDF 417 is a 2-D barcode that allows up to 1,800 characters to be stored. This code also allows linking of more than one PDF 417 barcode to have even more storage.
ColorID provides ID badging software that can print a variety of types of barcodes for your ID badges. Our software packages allow you to choose from over 20 different types of 1D and 2D barcodes. We can also supply you with a number of barcode readers and ID printer's capability of printing barcodes on your badges.
The following tech tip is a quick overview on how proximity cards and readers work together.
The proximity card reader is wired to an access control system panel. The wires carry power to the reader, and data from the reader to the panel. The Reader emits an electromagnetic field called the "excite field". This field has an elliptical shape as shown in Figure # 1 below.
As Figure 1 shows, the field extends behind the reader almost as much as in front.
When a proximity card is brought within the field, the card absorbs some of the energy from the field. The card converts this field energy to electricity, which allows the electronic circuits in the card to "turn on" and transmit its number to the reader. The reader then sends the card number to the access control system panel, which then looks up in its database to see if the card number is valid and if it has rights to open that door at this time. If the card is approved, then the control panel sends a signal to the door lock to unlock for a period of time.
The card data transmission distance varies with card type and reader type. Larger, more powerful readers do exist; which can energize some cards at a much farther distance. The distance at which a card will successfully transmit data to the reader is called the "Read Range". The read range is approximate and can vary depending on the details of the installation. Maximum range is achieved when the reader is mounted away from metal and cards are presented parallel to the reader face. This allows the reader field to power up the card transponder at a farther distance.
The following article is meant to serve as an overview of the operating temperatures of reverse transfer printers and lamination stations. Not all printers are equal, and all printers come with their own default settings for the temperature at which they run. If you are using a reverse transfer printer or laminating your cardstock you should always be certain to use a composite cardstock of no less than 60% PVC and 40% polyester. This blend is extremely durable and will not be affected by the high temperatures of reverse transfer printing or lamination.
The temperature on printer drivers and LCD displays are in Celsius and thus all discussions regarding printer temperatures are in Celsius (and not Fahrenheit).
REVERSE TRANSFER PRINTERS
Reverse transfer printers print the card image on a transfer film and in a second step the film is fused to the plastic card (this is a different process than the more traditional dye-sublimation, direct-to-card (DTC) printing process).
Many ID card printers have the option of adding an extra protective layer (also called overlaminate) to the plastic card. This lamination step takes place after the card is printed. Lamination can take place on both a DTC type printer and a reverse transfer type printer. The laminate that is applied to the card comes in a separate roll.
ADHERING THE FILM TO THE CARD
The process for applying the transfer film to the card is similar to the process for applying a laminate to a card. The following describes this process to join the film to the card using pressure and heat:
Reverse transfer type printers use a very high temperature for merging the transfer film to the card. The temperatures can be between 150 C and 200 C.
To add lamination to a card, the laminate is pressed to the card with rollers for a certain amount of time and heat is applied. This temperature can vary from one printer to another, for example:
For connecting both transfer film and lamination to a card, the card moves down the card path and moves through heads and rollers that "squeeze" and heat up the film to apply onto the card. The faster the card moves down the card path in the printer, the higher the temperature needs to be to join the film or laminate to the card. In other words a certain energy is needed to make the film or laminate stick to the card and this energy can be delivered with a lower temperature with longer dwell time (slower moving card) or it can be delivered with a higher temperature with a faster moving card (shorter dwell time). The definition of Dwell is "To linger over" or "The time during a process which an item is in the vicinity or motionless". This dwell time can vary from printer to printer:
If you'd like to learn more about this article feel free to contact ColorID today and we'll analyze your existing ID system.
by: David Stallsmith
Senior Product Manager of Advanced Technology Cards
About 40 years ago, the first campus card was used to monitor access to a university dining hall. A few years later, the mag stripe card was introduced to the university campus. Since then, university ID cards have become as important as backpacks and blue jeans on campuses around the world.
One of the challenges for card offices, security, dining services, housing and IT personnel has been to decide which technologies will make their cards most successful and cost-effective on their campus. In the days of mag stripes and bar codes, this question usually answered itself. But now, with a multitude of chips available for cards, both contact and contactless, the decision has become more difficult.
Although ID Cards were first used for meal plans, it wasn't long before they began to be used to open doors (physical access). Following the lead of the hotel industry, the predominant technology used for physical access was the magnetic stripe. Also used widely for credit cards, the magnetic stripe card is fairly inexpensive and easy to program. The swipe readers on the doors around a campus could be in either online or offline mode.
Until recently, the magnetic stripe was considered secure enough for this physical access. Unfortunately, magnetic stripes have no particular inherent security and are very easy to duplicate. This is not considered a problem for the credit cards that we carry every day, because the credit card issuers (Visa, MasterCard) will not require us to pay for unauthorized purchases. This is a guarantee by the issuer and not a result of the security of the magnetic stripe. For the physical safety of the university population however, the magnetic stripe is now known to be insufficient. Recently, a number of universities have found their names in the local or national newspapers after a student had "cloned" the magnetic stripe card of a prominent university official or fellow student, and breached the system.
About 20 years ago, Prox cards with radio frequency IC chips were introduced. Transmitting at 125 KHz, they provided a much higher level of security than magnetic stripes. Not as easy to clone as a magnetic stripe card, Prox cards have become vulnerable to attacks as their technology has aged.
Recently, the Prox chip has been eclipsed by a new radio frequency chip, known as high frequency "contactless smart cards". Though they are used at the door in much the same manner as Prox cards, they operate at 13.56 MHz. Mifare, Legic and HID's iCLASS fall into this category. These chips provide a significantly more secure card-reader interface than the old Prox chips and their readers. Before the transmission of encrypted personal data, there is a challenge-and-response sequence of communications, through which the card and reader verify that each other is trustworthy for this transaction. Data stored on the card is also encrypted. A significant benefit of contactless over magnetic stripe cards is that the cards are not dragged through swipe readers, which is very damaging to the surface of the cards.
As a university considers changing to a card containing one of the newer technology chips, cost is certainly an important factor in the decision. Any card with a chip in it will be more expensive than a plain PVC card or even a mag stripe card. Installing new or replacing existing readers brings with it the costs of new readers and installation. Fortunately, new contactless card readers can often be installed in the place of existing prox or magnetic stripe readers with no significant change to the existing wiring or mounting box. There is a protocol for security wiring called "Wiegand" and it is an industry standard for many different types of readers. As plans are being made to upgrade an infrastructure, looking into the future reveals two new trends in card reader technology: Wireless contactless readers (Wi-Fi - 802.11), which can be installed in locations that are difficult or expensive to reach with wires; and IP-addressable network readers, which can be employed to interface directly with software and replace old control panels.
In future articles, I will discuss the workings of high frequency contactless cards and the new possibilities they bring for campus card use. Learn more about contactless cards here = Advanced Technology Cards, contact us Toll Free 888-682-6567 or email us at Support@colorid.com.
When was the last time your ID card printer had a thorough cleaning or tune up???
Much like other mechanical devices, regular routine maintenance is critical to keep your ID printer in top shape and to help extend its life cycle. Plastic card printers have moving internal parts that if not maintained and cleaned on a regular basis can become inoperable, causing print issues and ultimately shorten the life of a printer. Proper routine care and maintenance will prolong the life of your ID printer and insure quality printing with each card.
Here are some cleaning tips:
Please contact our Government and Industry Marketing team to receive a price quotation for cleaning supplies or to schedule an annual tune-up. We can also provide you with quotations on any of your ID printer needs: lanyards, card holders, printer ribbons, cardstock, HID cardstock, and much more.
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