PVC cards, broadly known as plastic cards, require printers other than the traditional consumer-grade inkjet or laser printers, because of their smooth surface. Thermal transfer is the process that is specific to plastic cards.
This process applies a colored layer from a ribbon onto the flat, plastic surface. This transfer is performed by a thermal print head that increases the temperature of the ribbon’s color layer.
For color printing, this layer turns into gas and reverts to its solid state on the superficial layer of the plastic card. This process is called sublimation.