Thursday, November 24, 2011

Direct-to-Card Printing

Direct-to-Card (DTC®) printing is the most common technology used by desktop card printer/encoders to transfer images directly onto a plastic ID card. DTC technology prints images by heating a print ribbon beneath a thermal printhead, resulting in the transfer of color from the ribbon to a blank card.
DTC card printing layers
Sharp edges, deep blacks and the full spectrum of colors
DTC technology uses two printing methods to achieve its incredible image quality:
Dye-sublimation prints smooth, continuous-tone images that look truly photographic. A dye-based ribbon is partitioned by multiple color panels, which are grouped in a repeating series of colors along the ribbon’s length.
A printhead containing hundreds of thermal elements heats the dyes, which vaporize and diffuse into the card surface. By combining colors and varying the heat used to transfer them, dye-sublimation is capable of producing up to 16.7 million colors.
Resin thermal transfer uses a single-color ribbon to print sharp black text and crisp bar codes, which can be read by both infrared and visible-light scanners. While this process uses the same thermal printhead as dye-sublimation, solid dots of color are transferred rather than a combination of colors.

Source: Fargo Website

Dye Sublimation vs Thermal Transfer

Thermal transfer printing and dye sublimation printing are used in both direct to card printers and retransfer printers. Direct to card printers merge the image directly on the surface of the card. Retransfer printing deposits the image on the back of a clear plastic film. This film is then bonded to the surface of a plastic card. Retransfer printing is the newest of these printing types and results in a better image result. The card design is applied to specialized cards and does not require a perfectly smooth card as the direct to card printers require.

Thermal Transfer Printing
Thermal printing is when resin or ink is melted off of a printer ribbon and is directly transferred to the retransfer film or the surface of the card. To melt the ink,a print head is used. The print head has heated pins that are aligned across a ceramic plate. In the correct sequence,the pins in the print head receive instructions to heat and release ink at just the right moment. The desired digital image created in the software is recreated on the card or ribbon.
Colored prints require the use of Y,M and C panels. As each panel passes over the card,dots of color are released resulting in the completed image. The K panel produces needed black printing on the card. Dithering allows the dots of different colors to be placed close together to create a blended shade when observed.
Monochrome printing is also available. This single color ribbon produces clear results with standard text and with bar codes. Monochrome printing is completed at high speeds and is often used to customize a preprinted card. The thermal ribbons provide durable print that resists fading. The resin dries quickly.

Dye Sublimation
Sublimation is when a solid is heated directly into a gaseous state. The solid bypasses the liquid state during heating. With this printing,the dye is heated to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit while the polymers in the PVC card are heated to 350 degrees. The gaseous dye penetrates the plastic and as the card cools,the dye chemically bonds with the plastic card.
Crisp,sharp images are printed with dye sublimation printing. Photographic images are printed with accuracy. The higher heat levels allow more dye to be released into the card surface. The result is the colors blend into a pleasing result as there is control over the opacity and transparency of the printing result.
Colors in this printing method are applied one panel at a time- the Y,M and C. This type of print is prone to fading when exposed to UV rays from the sun. Often a UV resistant topcoat is recommended to help protect the dye printed cards.

How does a YMCKO print ribbon work for an id card printer?

Dye sublimation id card machines use a print ribbon that contains panels of color and other needed layers. Each panel passes over the blank card in order until the panel pass is complete and the card contains the colors and overlays necessary to duplicate the design on the card.
The YMC are the three panels of color. Standing for yellow,magenta,and cyan,these panels orderly move over the card and provide the amount of color necessary to produce a full color image where needed and other colors desired according to the badge design.
Once the color has been placed on the card,the K panel of the id card printer ribbon passes over the card to provide resin black printing for black text and bar codes.
Using a YMCKO ribbon,the card is completed after the o panel has been applied to the card. This overlay panel is a clear protective panel that covers the colors on the badge.

Oracle

Oracle RAC - offers protection against server failure.
Oracle Automatic Storage Management - offers protection against storage failure.
Oracle Flashback - offers facility to undo mistake.
Oracle Data Guard manage the replication between 2 geographical sites (DC and DR).

With appropriately set-up Data Guard operations, DBAs can facilitate failovers or switchovers to alternative hosts in the same or alternative locations.
Oracle Corporation makes Data Guard available only as a bundled feature included within its "Enterprise Edition" of the Oracle RDBMS.

Active Data Guard is an added cost option bundled within "Enterprise Edition" of the Oracle RDBMS and allows purely read-only access.
The "Oracle Active Data Guard" option, an extra-cost facility, extends Oracle Data Guard physical standby functionality in Oracle 11g configurations. It allows read-only access on the standby node at the same time as archiving transactions from the primary node

Substantial costs savings are possible using Oracle Standard Edition (SE), Oracle Standard Edition One (SE1) or even Oracle Express (XE) with use of a third-party products to provide high availability for a database system.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Die Cutting

Die cutting (shearing), is a process which cuts stock without the formation of chips or the use of burning or melting. If the cutting blades are straight the process is called shearing.
The above shown a PVC card die-cutting machine.

Card Printing Technologies

Xerography (or electrophotography) is a dry photocopying technique. It combined electrostatic printing with photography. Xerography is used in most photocopying machines and in laser and LED printers.

The DCT-Pro technology allows the digitized colour image of the portrait to be chemically transferred onto the inner layer of the card, underneath the security printing.

Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer (D2T2)
process employs a set of ribbons that are coated with a dye that is transferred to the receiver sheet by the application of heat and pressure from a stylus at a discrete point. The dye will sublimate and migrate to the substrate, where it will be chemically bound in a receptor coating. Other Given Names: Thermal Dye Sublimation, Dye Sub, Thermal Dye Transfer (TDT).

The Argonite System

Argonite is an excellent fast acting fire extinguishing agent that is environmentally neutral, safe for occupied areas and leaves no residue.

Argonite systems have been developed as a viable and environmentally friendly alternative for Halon. Tested and approved by regulatory bodies throughout the world, Argonite is effective against fires involving almost all combustible materials and flammable liquids and is particularly suitable for use in areas where the use of water, foam or powder would be unacceptable.
The Argonite fire suppression system uses an inert gas that offers effective fire protection with zero environmental impact. It is a simple blend of 50% Argon gas and 50% Nitrogen gas with a density similar to that of air. Both Argon and Nitrogen are clean, natural gases that are readily available throughout the world. Argonite is safe and effective for use on many applications—it is well suited for leak enclosures such as flight simulators, substations, and control rooms and for application with multiple hazards.

Friday, July 8, 2011

HP Enclosure (Chassis) C3000 vs C7000

Implementing Cluster at Branch Level

It is recommended to have an external storage if we are to implement cluster at branch. Below is a case study.
From the above situation, record D15 is being written onto DB Server 1 but not DB Server 2 due to lost connection. When a request to search D15 is being received, DB Server 2 returns result NOT FOUND which in fact it should have.  Hence, to avoid inaccuracy, an external storage is recommended so that it points to that data in the storage rather than relying on server disk.
The current storage being recommended for branch cluster is HP StorageWork MSA60 Array, 8 x 300GB 6G SAS HDD  - around USD15,380*
This storage can cater for up to 24TB. Further details:
Other necessities for clustering:
Operating System:
DBMS:
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition – Cluster 
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 CAL License
*Prices are not fixed. Please get latest quotation from vendor.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lesson Learnt

Mistake (Today):

1. Athena is not a chip model.

2. It isn’t a complete end-to-end card with chip & OS either.

3. It is an OS by itself, and it is java based

4. And talking about java based, there are plenty, not just JCOP, and I tot JCOP is the only java based OS available in the market.

5. I mixed up that Java based as proprietary (native) when it is actually Open Source.

6. I mixed up that MTCOS is an Open Source when it is a proprietrary.

Mistake (Yesterday):

1. Not knowing about MIFARE features, which is more like a memory card without processing capability and it’s only 1KB. Example: Touch n Go’

2. Not knowing that 80K card can be segmentized to only use either 32K, 64K, or any other value lower than 80K.

3. Not knowing that this 80K size is referring to EEPROM.

4. Can’t differentiate between EEPROM (can write and erase when electricity present), ROM (data is written beforehand and is locked, hence cannot erase), EPROM (write using UV).

5. Not knowing how cluster work, and that components needed are external disk storage for it to store data, rather than using a server disk. And that an Active Directory has to be present. To have AD, must use Cluster Server OS software.

6. Can’t differentiate SAN and normal disk storage by jst reading from its name. StorageWork can be of SAN and disk storage. And that EVA refers to Enterprise Virtual Array, which is actually a HP SAN.

7. Not realising that for backup purpose, a Netbackup or Data Protector (software) has to be installed together with an external backup tape (hardware).

8. Not knowing that Oracle is per server license and SQL is per user license.

9. Not knowing that Linux doesn’t have CAL (Client Access License).

10. Can’t differentiate between blade, rack and tower server by seeing the model name.

11. Not realizing that blade server needs a chassis (enclosure) and that rack server need not to. And that blade saves space. Both blade server and rack server needs a rack (acting as a cabinet). And rack is measurable by U (1 rack unit, which is about 48cm (w) x 4.45cm (h)). And rack can be up to 42U. Each blade or rack server size is measurable by U, like example one blade size is 2U.

12. Not knowing the reason of using C3000 and C7000 enclosure, and that C3000 can cater for 8 half height blade server and C7000 cater for 16 half height blade server.

13. Not knowing what is latent image (distorted imperfect image), and intaglio printing (texture can be touched and feel with bare hand).

14. Not knowing that printing using UV ink and normal visible ink needs different ink tank and print head. Else, a technology has to be there in order for printing in one-go.

15. Not knowing that hologram must have an origination (mastering) that costs a bomb.

16. Not sensitive over the method of printing that a certain printer could do and its consumables if it is an inkjet printing.


Sort of upset with myself. It is such a shame for me as I dun even understand the basic thing about the product in my industry. And I have been around for 1.5 year. Somehow a newbie which is about 3 months knws it quite well, yea, the hard way!

I supposed to memorize and hard code it from the day my senior taught it sometime back. But I did not, and I made a fool of myself for asking a junior to explain it to me. And com’on, I m a freshly promoted Asst. Mgr and I should be expected to know it quite well seemingly I m the one who is writing the tender! And I m so darn ashamed of myself.

Thankfully (though I m not supposed to), my boss did not realize my weakness on this. He had earlier gave a “lecture” to that newbie coz he is expecting her to know it well since it is our industry. Nevertheless she got all the darnest cruel “lecture” jst for the sake of being new and not knowing things around. And I wonder what would be his expression if he found out that I dun know that too? I m pretty sure he will be very upset about me, for not knowing such simple thing and worse still he has jst promoted me!