Access Control Systems

ID Cards & Photo Badges

"Want to provide a secure and attractive solution for your citizens, staff, members or drivers to prove their identity?"
Drivers license, National ID, Voter Registration, Gun license, Proof-of-Age card, and Employee ID are all examples of real world ID card applications, and they all have one thing in common: They must be completely protected against forgery.

An ID card that can be forged is worse than no ID card at all, because anyone with the basic skills, or the cash, can rapidly obtain a counterfeit version. The number of web sites offering fake US drivers' licenses is a testament to that problem.

The Magicard printer family contains everything you need to create colorful, practical, ID cards and ID badges for every application, plus it offers complete protection against counterfeiting through the use of either a hologram laminate, or by the use of Ultra's unique, low cost, HoloKote; technology.

ID Card Design
For any photo ID application, getting the initial card design right is essential, and one of the most important factors is ensuring that the portrait is large enough to be identified clearly in the circumstances in which the card is to be used.

For "hand held" identification applications like a drivers license, portraits of around one inch square are likely to be adequate, but if viewing at a distance, or in poor light is required, as with airport photo ID badges for example, then portraits should be as large as practicable : 2 inches square will work reliably at viewing distances of up to fifteen feet, for example.

Another design issue is whether to use a "portrait" or "landscape" format, with "portrait" orientation offering advantages for photo ID badge applications, and "landscape" being preferred for cards, which are carried in a purse or pocket.
The design of content is very dependent on the individual application, and any kind of background design, corporate logo, and textual information can of course be accommodated.

For clear crisp text and Barcodes, the use of the black resin, or K panel, is advisable, although many card designs use a mixture of large "color" text with smaller "black resin" data.

If there is more data than can conveniently fit on one side of a CR-80 card, or which is not normally required for public display, then this can be printed on the reverse of the card using the Magicard Avalon Duo or Tango duplex printers. The most economic dual sided card would use full color and black resin on the front, with black resin only on the reverse. Our LC8 six panel dye ribbon has an YMCKOK arrangement for exactly this application, printing 300 dual-sided cards per roll.

It is also possible to put full color and black resin on both sides of the card, using the Avalon Duo or Tango printer and two sets of LC1 YMCKO dye ribbon panels. This approach is more costly however, giving 175 double sided cards per roll of dye ribbon.

Card Security & Protection
With the card layout and usage determined, the subject of physical protection and the prevention of counterfeiting becomes the next priority.

Questions such as:
  • How will the card be carried/used?
  • Will the card suffer wear through being physically "swiped" through a reader?
  • What card lifetime do we require?
  • What level of security protection do we need?


  • For long life cards (at least 5 years) which will be carried everyday in a purse or pocket, and which must also offer the highest level of tamper-proofing and counterfeit protection (e.g. drivers licenses) the only solution is to use the Tango +L Integrated Printer & Laminator to apply a thick polyester laminate.

    Cards produced in this way are very well protected against physical wear and tampering, and the optional optical security device will be very effective in preventing attempts to produce realistic copies.

    If the card is mainly going to be worn as a photo id badge, or if a shorter lifetime is acceptable then Ultra's patented HoloKote technology will provide adequate physical protection, together with complete protection against forgery, at zero cost in consumables.

    The capital cost is also zero if the built-in "Ultra Secure" logo included in the Rio and the Tango printers can provide adequate security protection, although the use of a unique,"custom" logo is recommended.


    The use of a Custom Key security logo actually increases the security protection to better thanthat provided by a custom laminate, yet it still maintains the zero consumable cost and entails only the very low start-up cost and turn around time of Ultra's unique Custom Key solution.



    HoloKote with Custom Key is more secure than an laminate solution because of the ease of safeguarding the authentication device. Even a few panels of hologram laminate left on a roll for disposal could be retrieved from the garbage and used to produce fully authenticated fake cards. With HoloKote however, the authentication device is a single encrypted electronic key which cannot be duplicated and which is easily accounted for and safeguarded by locking it in the office safe when not in use.

    HoloKote; puts a daylight visible frosted security logo over the entire face of the card, which makes it ideal for cards which are carried or worn as badges.

    To make the security logo more obvious at distances of up to 15 feet, the HoloKote; system can be used with Ultra's HoloPatch; card stock which highlights one of the security logos with a gold, superdiffuser patch.

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    Access Control Systems

    "Want to keep the bad guys out of your facility and prevent your precious know-how from falling into the wrong hands?"
    Controlling access to your facility is of vital importance, whether your facility is a high security area such as a Hospital, Airport, or Bank, or even if it is an everyday situation such as an Insurance Office, School, or Department store.

    Whatever the scale of your access control problem, Magicard Printers are an essential part of the solution.

    Portrait ID System
    The simplest access control systems use portrait ID or Membership cards, which rely on a receptionist or colleagues at work to recognize interlopers by the absence of a valid, matching portrait card.

    Such systems require the printing of clear, easily visible, portrait cards. Unfortunately however, that alone is not enough, because with current PC and scanner technology, creating fake or counterfeit cards is all too easy for the bad guys.

    Even simple access control systems need to use an anti-counterfeiting system which provides an overall security "watermark" feature which is proof against all attempts to copy it.

    Fortunately, the Magicard range not only prints superb color portrait cards, they also apply a patented security overlay feature called HoloKote™ which can eliminate the threat from counterfeiters.

    This type of access control is extremely cost-effective, and it may be all that many facilities need to achieve the security level they require.

    Swipe Card Access Control Systems
    If you need controlled access without relying on the presence of guards or reception staff, you may need to add swipe card readers and electronic locks to your controlled entrances.

    All Magicard Printers can be used to print Barcodes onto portrait ID or Membership cards, and this simple swipe-card solution may be adequate.

    A higher level of security can be achieved by using mag-stripe readers, and all Magicard color printers can be supplied with a built-in Magstripe encoder to program a secure code into each portrait ID during the printing process.

    Magicard partners and access control solution providers can supply the required software, lock hardware, and installation services to implement any kind of swipe-card controlled-access system.

    Proximity Cards / Prox Card Access Control Systems
    Proximity Cards, or "Prox" as they are often called, are standard size plastic ID cards which contain a coil antenna and a pre-programmed micro chip containing a unique code.

    When the prox card is within a foot or so of the Prox reader, the 125 KHz signal from the reader is picked up by the card antenna and used to power-up the micro chip which then replies with its own unique code.

    The reader and its associated processor compares the code with a list of authorized entrants, and if it's OK, the door is opened and a record of entry is logged.

    All Magicard printers can be used to print directly onto the latest generation of prox cards, or onto peel-and-stick cards which can be applied to the prox card on issue, thereby facilitating reuse of the expensive "prox".

    Prox cards must always be "personalized" with a portrait ID to eliminate the misuse of "loaned" or stolen cards.

    Biometric Access Control Systems
    For the very highest level of security it is possible to use a "biometric", or body measurement, such as a fingerprint or retinal scan to reliably identify authorized persons seeking access.

    The most practical way to implement a system like this is to store the encoded biometric (e.g. fingerprint) on a smartcard containing a micro chip which has a built-in memory and encryption processor.

    When the card is used, the reader checks to see if the code on the card is valid, then waits for a live fingerprint scan which matches the fingerprint stored on the card, before opening the door.

    The cards used in a biometric access control system can either be of the 'contact' type which requires the direct insertion of the card into a reader, or of the "Contactless" type which operate in a similar way to a prox card, but which usually use a higher frequency around 13.5 MHz.

    Magicard printers are available with a built-in contact station for encoding "contact" smart cards, or with a built-in encoder for Contactless technologies such as Mifare and I-class.

    Any of these smart cards can be directly printed and encoded in one operation for the highest level of security protection.

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