By Ivo Moons, Agfa Materials.
The passage of time has an impact on all life and objects. People will grow older; objects will erode and wear out. Personal cards are not exempt from this fact. The cards you produce will withstand the effect of time and usage. Small accidents will happen, the carrier of the cards will be distracted or inattentive for just a minute and that means that the cards will suffer. It is of key importance that the end product is as durable as possible. At AGFA, we believe that to ensure a longer life.
To satisfy the increasingly stringent requirements with respect to the integration of personal data, sophisticated electronics and security features in one ID document, the need for an economical, robust and long lasting construction is evident. With our innovative PETix PETF transparent overlay products we provide an overall solution, covering lifetime and durability, ensuring the card is tamper proof and with an eye towards cost awareness. In an effort to protect and secure the identification of persons, animals and goods worldwide; governments, banking institutions, police forces, custom-houses and the end user, underline the extraordinary benefits PETix PETF offers. Our customers, resulting in numerous applications in a wide range of market segments, appreciate our focus on durability and cost efficiency.
What is PETix PETF?
PETix polyester film (PETF) is a crystalline Biaxial Oriented film. Its primary advantages are thermal stability, mechanical strength, dimensional stability and chemical inertness. These properties make it the ideal choice for industries where superior performance is required. The PETix PETF films are designed as external card layer for the upgrade and manufacturing of high performance smart cards, allowing increased card life – exceeding 10 years of duty!
The continuous manufacturing process of crystalline polyester (PETF)
STEP 1: The molten PET – a plastic produced by reacting terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol – is extruded onto a chill roll quenching it into an amorphous state.
STEP 2: The amorphous film is then biaxial stretched in an oven, sequential first in the machine direction and then in transverse direction.
STEP 3: After the biaxial stretching, the BOPET (Biaxial Oriented PET) is crystallized at high temp (> 200° C) and relaxed – tensionless – in an oven, locking the molecular orientation in the film base.
What is the difference between PETF and PETG?
PETG is known as glycol modified polyester. The “G” represents the incorporated glycol modifiers making PETG amorphous, meaning the polymer molecules are not aligned, not ordered and consequently not crystalline. Being produced in a roll calendaring process makes PETG similar to PVC, both used for their thermoformable properties, e.g. in card lamination processes.
Although the properties of PETG are inferior to PETF in terms of mechanical strength, thermal stability and chemical resistance, PETG responds perfectly to the requirements for core material in ID card constructions. A durable long lasting ID document can only be created by enforcing PETG core with PETF overlay films – PETix PETF – that form a protective shield for embedded security features and personal data in ID documents.
In the backbone card construction, the strong material (PETF) is positioned in the center of the card, thus the weaker material (PVC) has to counter all external influences. Although a very good heat resistance is achieved, the resistance of the card against external impact is limited. (Fig 1)
In the shield card construction, the strong material (PETF) is positioned on the outside of the card, countering all external influences. Besides a very good heat resistance, the resistance of the card against external impact is outstanding. This kind of card construction is fundamental for a long lifetime. (Fig 2)
Adding PETix PETF to the card structure will enhance the physical strength of the card, increasing rigidity, improving stress resistance and reducing the risk of failure due to cracking, splitting or snapping. PETix PETF combined with standard PVC or PETG will create a plus (+) 10-year lifetime card. The PETix PETF high melting point and heat set temperatures provide a significantly improved temperature resistance compared to other substrates and PETix PETF combined with standard PVC or PETG increases the temperature resistance by more than 50 %.
Cost effectiveness and extended life time guarantees on PETix PETF solutions
PETix PETF offers significantly lower cost per card because it takes less than 20 % of the total card volume. The core can be built with very competitive materials and as PETix PETF is compatible with PVC or PETG it allows tailored solutions to further optimize cost versus performance. Our PETix PETF laser marking overlay films (the fundamental for a +10 years card life cycle) with inte- grated anti-counterfeiting laser coloring features guarantee a cost- competitive shield protection towards personal identity.
PETix PETF can be processed on standard equipment and is compatible with most common core materials like PVC and PETG and will allow direct printing (without the need for special inks) and color laser personalization.
Hybrid cards are unmistakably part of life today. Doors simply won’t open without them. Physical doors as well as virtual doors to cash, benefits and destinations. End users need their cards, always. AGFA’s PETix PETF product portfolio, tuned to the needs of such demanding customer scenarios and developed over decades of experience in security projects, positions AGFA as a reliable solution provider when it comes to making hybrid cards as secure and as durable as the user needs them be.