Core Materials For Cards, a Tale of a Card User

It’s not often, but every once in a while I get the urge to go to the gym.  Yes, it’s a departure from my usual routine of going home and lying on the couch eating cookie dough to relieve the stress of a long day.  One day I pulled into the gym parking lot and grabbed my bag, ready to go inside and conquer the workout I’d been promising I would do for three months.  I opened my bag to check and make sure my membership ID was where I’d left it, and disaster struck.  My ID was cracked along the barcode, slightly warped, and the numbers were almost completely erased from it.  Head hung in shame; I walked into the gym, knowing they would know that I’d been a huge slacker.  The girl at the counter swiped my card a few times and frowned, then said the unthinkable: “we can’t find your membership off this card and will have to send you a new one in about one to two weeks”.  Part of me was relieved that my brief workout was at an end, the other so frustrated that the one time I wanted to go I couldn’t.  Why must the cards fall apart?!  I know I kept it in my hot stifling gym bag in my car and it was my own fault, but can’t they make the cards with something so users won’t have this problem?

Digital print has surged with the need for digitally printed cards.  Valued for the ability to print barcodes and changeable numbers, a market that once was mostly basic ID cards now caters to high end applications such as credit/gift cards and other important uses.   The most common applications in the card market are gift cards, loyalty cards, and other materials spread across many industries, all needing the personalization and data variation available with card printing today.  There are cards for just about everything, from disastrous gym memberships, to mini card on key fobs, and library cards.

Core materials are what cards are made of.  Using the correct core material for your card application is important, so that the users won’t have issues of durability or usage.  The most common of these (from least to most expensive) are Xquisite, stytrene, PVC, and polyester.  Each of these materials is unique and a replacement for other market materials, with amazing color and printability as well as impressive durability for a great price.

Xquisite is a special plastic blend by MGX that replaces more widely used materials.   It is easy to adhere to and offer many positives, such as superior runability, high heat stability, chemical resistance, and tear resistance.  Xquisite is a brighter white for true quality, without sacrificing rigidity, print quality, or lamination bond for a great price.

Styrene is highly resistant to chemicals and is durable but flexible.  While it is recyclable and eco-friendly, certain types can be difficult to adhere to with adhesives.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) has been a popular core material choice because it has multiplied uses in temporary cards all the way up to long term cards such as credit cards.  It offers great flexibility and the process of laminating PVC is easy.  While PVC is popular in the United States, in other countries such as Europe it is not as popular because of environmental concerns, and the fact that is not eco-friendly or recyclable.   Many companies are moving away from PVC in favor of more Earth conscious substrates.

Polyester is a durable card choice for multiple applications.  Polyester cards boast high durability, so years of wear and tear won’t destroy your product.  Heat and UV, as well as harsh chemicals are battled when using polyester with great results.  Xquisite Titanium by MGX is a great specialty polyester that holds up under the toughest conditions, such as a daily bus pass.

Picking the right substrate for your application is critical.  It’s important to make sure that any core material offers you the durability and printability that you are looking for.  There’s nothing more frustrating than when a card gets easily cracked, warps and bends, or has the ink rub off.  All these problems can be easily prevented.  We here at Masterpiece Graphix offer a variety of custom solutions for your card needs, and will work with you to get the materials needed to create a masterpiece of a product.  Next time we will talk about which core stock has the broadest applications for the most business effective price.  To learn more about this now please call us at 636.349.6401.