Having just been at a BIG credit card printing facility a couple of weeks
ago, I echo Rick's comments.
There are some issues in the process that complicate the choices of
presses. Mainly the ink drying times. Since the film they print on is
impermeable the ink does not soak in like it does with paper substrates,
therefore there is a lot of smearing smudging that takes place.
Typically the offset printed material must be fanned to assist in drying
and they cannot stack the "wet" material very high.
Ideally, I suppose UV or EB curable inks would be best suited for this
process, but I have seen UV, EB, and Offset inks being used.
Subject: Re: Plastic Card Printing
Yes, screen does much of the plastic card printing. My experience has
beenwith smaller format presses (Kords, Kluge, etc.) to print for plastic
cards.Created were retail store ID cards with bar codes, piscture insert ID
cards,and membership cards for various organizations. Each application called
fordifferent stock material and special inks. The offset work was slow and
didnot require a high degree of accuracy, but did give a long life due to
theinks used. The letterpress provided quality and accuracy and fair life
forthe card. The stock material was in sheets and then punched out to the
desired size. I believe screen printing for the cards is done on a smaller scale.