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Card Types and Durability

Teslin vs. PVC Cards – Durability & Variable Data

Teslin is a waterproof synthetic paper manufactured by PPG Industries, Inc. It’s porous and flexible, so it allows for high-quality offset lithographic printing, laser variable imaging and lamination. The variable data printed on the Teslin (bar codes, numbers etc.) is sealed under super tough polyester laminate. The data is protected and will read and scan like new for years. The result of our process is a durable, attractive and price-competitive card or keytag.

PVC is a rigid plastic that allows for offset lithographic printing, as well, and it can also be laminated. An important difference between PVC and Teslin card manufacturing is that the variable data is imaged onto a PVC card after the lamination process. This means the data is printed on the outside surface of the card and is not protected. Typically, bar codes and numbers begin to wear away after a few months of normal use. This is especially true with keytags, which are exposed to much more wear and tear than a card that is protected in a wallet or purse.

Some PVC card manufacturers have attempted to solve this problem by applying a clear label or patch on top of the bar code and number. In the cases we’ve seen, these labels peel or rub off in a short time, as well, leaving the variable data exposed to wear. By comparison, the polyester laminate we use in our Teslin core products is thick, rugged and will not rub off or wear away.

Over the years, we have manufactured many products for customers who had previously used PVC products and had experienced data loss due to their relatively poor durability. The result was they had to reissue new card packages to their customers. Not only does reissuing cost the retailer additional dollars, but also reflects poorly on your brand in the mind of the customer. If their card or keytag wears out, they have to go through the hassle of getting a replacement. In every case, our Teslin-laminated products solved the problem of premature data loss.

Making Sure You’re Getting the Right Solution for Your Goals

StoneHouse manufactures and prints cards in all different shapes and sizes and with a variety of materials. Our objective is to make sure you have the ideal card for meeting your objectives.

The appearance and longevity of your cards and keytags will either impress or disappoint your customers, so using the right material is key. If your cards need to stand up to hard use and last a long time, then the high-quality, maximum durability and all-in-one construction of Teslin® laminated cards and keytags are the way to go. If we’re talking about a short-life application, PVC will make more sense. Other plastics and papers have their place, as well.

It all depends on who is going to use your cards, how and for how long. We’ll help you figure it all out. In the meantime, here’s a card material primer.

Teslin vs. PVC Cards – Magnetic Stripe Durability

There’s been a lot of debate in the industry about magnetic stripe durability over the past several years. To get the facts, we spoke to Imants Ejups, an expert at Transilwrap in Franklin Park, Ill., which is a leading supplier of laminate film to the card manufacturing industry.

"Typical magnetic tapes used on PVC card structures are processed with the ferrous oxide laid down in a slurry (liquid state) format onto the carrier. Prior to applying the slurry, the carrier is treated with a release coating. This coating is necessary to allow the slurry to release onto the PVC, and acts as an abrasion resistant layer on the card. The abrasion resistance lasts approximately 300 cycles in a Taber abrasion test. In the case of a polyester thermal laminated product, the tape is processed in a different manner. Though the ferrous oxide is applied to the carrier in a slurry fashion, a post treatment of a 2 micron thick hard coat is applied. This results in a more secure bond with an abrasion resistance exceeding 650 cycles in a Taber abrasion test. The polyester product also provides resistance to solvents (MEK), gasoline, plasticizers and other chemicals, none of which are protected against with a PVC product."

What does all this technical information mean for a card-based program? In the view of experts like Ejups, polyester laminated Teslin products are superior in durability to PVC products for both imaged and encoded magstripe data. For loyalty, electronic gift card and other programs, Teslin is the clear choice. Cost-Effective Cards That Hold Up and Fit Your Budget