Raised images, multiple processes and contactless technology mark winners in a contest for plastic retail, bank, identification and security card manufacturing.
Ãlan awards in the International Card Manufacturers Association competition recognize innovation and technical achievement. Here are some details about the Ãlan winners:
In the Unique Innovation category, Premier Card Solutions of Roseville, Minn., supplied the technology and manufacturing capability and payment processing firm First Data Corp. of Greenwood Village, Colo., provided the artwork for a Merry Christmas card that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, Ark., used during the 2008 holiday season.
Premier's innovations department used a debossing technique to mechanically apply red velour to the card, which has a PVC substrate. A die with the pattern stamps the design into the velour. In a separate pass, another die stamps foil onto the card.
Vanguard ID Systems of West Chester, Pa., won the Best Access Control Card award. Teslin synthetic printing sheet surrounds the ultra-high-frequency radio-frequency-identification inlay. Vanguard uses either polyester or polycarbonate as an outer protective layer.
Vanguard customer CompuWeigh Corp. of Woodbury, Conn., makes automated bulk-weighing systems for grain and ethanol plants. Each truck in a fleet gets a secure RFID-chip-enabled card that a reader module can verify as the vehicle approaches a plant such as the Rochelle, Ill., dry-mill processing facility of Illinois River Energy LLC. The card went into service in January.
In winning the Best Vendor New Product category, Austria Card Plastikkarten und Ausweissysteme GmbH collaborated with watchmaker Laks GmbH in developing a second-generation smart-transaction watch with contactless technology. Both firms are based in Vienna.
Differing from the usual card form factor, the watch has a slide-in system for a subscriber-identity-module-sized smart card that Austria Card manufactures. A user can wave the watch near a conforming MasterCard PayPass or other contactless payment reader to complete a transaction. The device may drive users to utilize a payment account more often than a traditional card. Austria Card is a unit of Inform P. Lykos SA of Koropi, Greece.
American Banknote Corp. of Fort Lee, N.J., began exclusive distribution of the same-style Laks smart transaction watch in the United States and Canada in November.
Arthur Blank & Co. Inc. of Boston, an American Banknote subsidiary, won for Best Loyalty Card and was co-winner with CPI Card Group of Littleton, Colo., of the People's Choice category, chosen by on-site attendees.
The loyalty card for name-brand clothier Guess Inc. of Los Angeles has a core of white PVC sheet, is overlaminated with a clear PVC film and has a spot-varnish finish that is applied to selected background graphics. Arthur Blank began making the Guess List card in Boston in September.
In July, Arthur Blank began production of the people's choice co-winner the security-laden U.S. Passport Card for technology developer L-1 Identity Solutions Inc. of Stamford, Conn., under contract from the State Department.
A vicinity-read RFID chip on each card links with a stored record in government databases but contains no personal information. From July through Feb. 18, the government issued more than 850,000 cards to U.S. citizens at $45 for a first-time adult applicant and $35 for those under age 16.
The Passport Card is used only for U.S. entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry under the country's border-security Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. A holder cannot use the card for international air travel but can use it to apply for a traditional passport book.
The other People's Choice winner was the contactless payment First Data Go-Tag Sticker, which CPI Card Group manufactures for First Data.
Attaching the product to a badge, cellular telephone or other object allows an employee to tap or wave the sticker in front of a contactless reader at a point of sale without needing to swipe a card or sign a receipt. Affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. acquired First Data in September 2007.
A driver's license for the Nunavut territory government is the Best Identification Card.
The identification systems division of Ottawa-based Canadian Bank Note Co. Ltd. created the card. Nunavut was separated from the Northwest Territories in 1999.
A clear PVC toys gift card that CPI Card Group manufactured for Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens Co. won for Best Gift and Promotional Card. Walgreens provided the design, and a CPI research and development team in a North Las Vegas, Nev., facility brought the concept to completion.
Entries of PVC from Huangshi G&D Wanda Security Card Ltd. of Huangshi, China, won Ãlan awards in three categories:
* Best Secure Financial Card Design, for a co-branded credit card for the music channel of Shanghai-based Sina Corp. and financial services firm China Everbright Ltd. of Hong Kong.
* Best Other Secure Card Design, for a crystal card with an ox motif of the Chinese New Year, for Nanjing Public Utility IC Card Co. Ltd. of Nanjing, China.
* Judges' Choice, for a co-branded credit card for the music television outlet MTV and China Merchants Bank Co. Ltd. of Shenzhen, China.
The Sina music card and the crystal card went into commercial use in December, and the MTV card in August.
The winner in a separate ICMA contest for Identification Badge Design offered a sprightly product with a three-dimensional effect, a tactile feature and a coconut scent.
For the badge's 3-D element, Teraco Inc. of Midland, Texas, prints key graphic elements on the front and, on the back, reverse-prints other imagery that is visible through clear PVC substrate. A second backside printing applies artwork visible only on the back.
On top of a PVC thermal film lamination, Teraco uses a spot silkscreen treatment to print the coconut trees. Customized inks from Micro-Scent Inc. of Chattanooga, Tenn., account for the trees' raised tactile feel and olfactory element.
Princeton Junction, N.J.-based ICMA issued the badge to those attending its March 31-April 3 conference and expo in San Juan, Puerto Rico. ICMA announced the Ãlan winners in an April 2 ceremony.
ICMA presented Outstanding Member Service Awards to Terry Schindler, vice president of operations with equipment maker Q-Card in Sunbury, Pa., and Merrill Martin, chief operating officer of the South Plainfield, N.J., facility of card manufacturer Versatile Card Technology Inc.