Today’s state of the art technology offers us a wide variety of print imaging methods. Before going into detail of the plastic custom ID card printing process, let’s see how the printing process evolved in history. Johannes Gutenberg is considered the grandfather of all automatic printing. This German blacksmith was the first person who managed to use a movable type of printing press metal laser cutting company. It was in the middle of the fifteenth century when his invention revolutionized publishing. His biggest success, the Gutenberg Bible, is regarded as the first mass produced book in history.
The Gutenberg image transfer method is not any different from wood block printing. Offset printing, as we know it to this day, is an oil-based ink saturated fabric pressed against paper by a framed array of metal types. Offset printing remains the most cost efficient method for high volume printing.
Personal printing had to wait another 300 years after Gutenberg for a simple typewriter to be invented. Another 150 years passed before the typewriters became reliable and available to the public at a very low level. While the typewriter could only handle text and no images, it was the first printing machine that allowed for personal, customized printing. In regards to the print technique, no major development has occurred. Printing agent is carried on ink saturated fabric tape and the type image hits the paper through the tape, resulting in the type image printing on the paper.
The industry was still waiting for a real demand for individual printing and the time didn’t come until the emergence of personal computers in the early 1980’s. Personal computer printers, in general, took off where the technology was left off by the typewriters. First, computer printers were called impact printers and operated pretty much the same way as electronic typewriters except for the fact they were driven by a computer. Just like typewriters, the impact printers lacked the ability to print images. The solution for that was what we call a dot matrix printer; still an impact printer but this time instead of type, a needle was used to press the ink tape against the paper allowing for more complex graphic images to be created.