Personalisation

What is this and how can it be used for my application?

When you have documents produced it is quite probably need to have some form of data to be printed on each individual item. This section describes the technologies available and the ones best suited for your need.

Personalization

This is the addition of variable data to each and every individual printed item. You may have a different product number or identifier on each item or product. Typical examples of this would be seating rows and numbers at events, specific pricing that differs from ticket to ticket, to printing peoples or companies addresses for mailshots that you might find on council tax forms or credit card statements.

The main types of machinery that are used for this type of printing are laser printers and ink jet printers - as they can run at very high speeds and are computer controlled.

The lasers use a toner, like your conventional desktop laser printer and come in the form of hot-fuse or cold-fusion.

The benefits of cold-fusion lasers is that they are able to print on a much wider range of materials. Such examples of this would be plastics and certain types of cards (attached to the sheet) along with plastic label materials. The other major benefit of the cold-fusion laser is that you can laser an image next to a hologram without the holograms burning or fading - you can even apply toner to the face of a hologram.

If you do not have a hologram on your printed material or the hologram that you use, is made of "laser resistant" or laser approved foil, then you may well be able to run these through a hot laser. We recommend that you do a trial run if you are unsure.

Inkjet printing for personalization is another method used and can be very cost effective as it can bolt-on to a suppliers printing press (allowing it to run with your printing job). The downside to inkjet is that it is restricted to certain amounts of coverage and the ink itself can bleed into the substrate if the paper or card is porous. For printing batch numbers, expiry dates and other basic information these are good.

We would also like to note that the technology in inkjet and lasers is improving all the time so some printed samples from your prospective supplier is a must.

 

CHECK ABOUT HOW DURABLE THE PRINT HAS TO BE, THE PROS AND CONS OF INKJET vs LASER in the DURABILITY WARS AND APPLICATIONS.

Laser printing personalisation summary

Applications

  • Papers, labels and card personalization (check that hot laser is suitable)
  • Cards on on carrier (e.g. piggy back) and special plasic labels (cold fusion lasers normally)
  • Documents and statements
  • Tickets and retail vouchers
  • Hologram protected documents (check to see if cold-fusion is recommended for the holographic foil)

Costs

  • Usually priced on complexity of database (set-up costs)
  • Then charged on how many metres, feet, or forms to be run and coverage.

Things to watch out for

  • Security paper substrates are suitable for toner
  • Thickness of material can be printed
  • The format of you printed material e.g. sheet/roll (sprocket fed for continuous lasers)

 

Inkjet printing personalisation summary

Applications

  • Papers, labels and card personalization (check that ink will not come off and has good enough resolution or quality)
  • Cards on on carrier (e.g. piggy back) and special plasic labels (check for resistance levels of ink)
  • Documents and statements (as seen on recent credit card and bank statements)
  • Tickets and retail vouchers
  • Hologram protected documents
  • Shaped and contoured items as it is non-contact (such as packaging)

Costs

  • Usually priced on complexity of database (set-up costs)
  • Then charged on how many metres, feet, or forms to be run and coverage.

Things to watch out for

  • Substrate is not too porous that the ink bleeds into it or smudging
  • Restriction on width of print (usually ink jet heads are 'banked' together for wider coverage)
  • The format of you printed material e.g. sheet/roll (sprocket fed for continuous lasers)