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KYOCERA Develops Real Edge 600dpi Thermal Printhead for Card Printing with Enhanced Security Applications

Proprietary design enables printing directly onto ID and credit cards

July 13, 2016
Kyocera Corporation (President: Goro Yamaguchi) announced the launch of a real edge 600-dot-per-inch (dpi) thermal printhead for desktop card printers used for rigid materials such as ID cards and credit cards. The KPE Series 600dpi printhead, available worldwide from this month, provides crisp, high resolution printing with delicate color expression.

The new 600dpi model is fully compatible with the conventional 300dpi printhead design enabling an easy upgrade for existing printer designs.

Kyocera has mass-produced thermal printheads for card printers since 1993 enabling simple, fast and high-resolution printing of a wide range of cards including ID cards and credit cards. The company currently holds the world’s largest market share in printheads for desktop card printers*.

image: KPE Series 600dpi Thermal Printhead image: Image of printed characters
KPE Series 600dpi Thermal Printhead Image of printed characters

Model KPE Series 600dpi
Application Desktop card printers
Production Facilities Front-end process in Kagoshima Hayato Plant (Japan)
Back-end process in Nagano Okaya Plant (Japan)
Start of Production July 2016 (upon request)
Production Target 15,000 units/year

Development Background

In recent years, the demand for ID and credit cards with high-resolution photos or stealth characters has grown along with the need to ensure security. More companies are utilizing cards with photos for employee and customer management; and compact, simple card printers capable of instant issuance in-house are becoming mainstream among retail stores. In recent years, the demand for such cards is growing not only in Japan, the U.S. and Europe, but also in China and India. The new Kyocera KPE 600dpi Series allows users to print with delicate color expression and high resolution.

Product Features

1. Kyocera’s proprietary real edge design
Kyocera’s printheads for card printing feature a real edge design that enables printing without bending the media in order to print on rigid materials such as plastic. A proprietary innovation, Kyocera’s printheads place the heater element (head which prints images) on the thin edge of a substrate so that the media does not have to bend.

image: Kyocera’s proprietary real edge design   image: General flat-type design
Kyocera’s proprietary
real edge design
  General flat-type design

2. Delicate color expression and high-definition character printing
The new product employs high-density pattern wiring, which places the heater of the head for printing at a pitch of 42μm. Furthermore, based on the establishment of a manufacturing technology for photolithography processing which enables this high-density wiring, the product achieves a high resolution of 600dpi.

3. Easy upgrade for existing printer designs
Since the new product features the same size as Kyocera’s conventional 300dpi printhead and ensures compatible input signal arrays, printer manufacturers can easily design high-resolution 600dpi card printers while making use of existing printer designs.

*Based on research by Kyocera (as of June 2016)