This is the last part of a four-parts essay on Smart Card Manufacturing:
4 – Card Fulfillment
Card fulfillment is the very last process of the card manufacturing and can be done with a single modular machine or with a mix of manual and automated steps.
Pack into boxes
The cards are packed into cardboard boxes, sealed with security tape and sent to logistic department for shipping.
Cards are wrapped with a plastic film, usually the pouch are closed by means of ultra-sonic sealing method.
Cardholder data Lookup
The controller computer of the card mailing system query the production database and fetch the cardholder data that are formatted and sent to the welcome letter printer.
Welcome Letter Printing
The laser printer prints the welcome letter that is also referred as “Card Carrier”. This can be achieved in several different methods:
- Blank sheet of paper, the printer prints the issuer logo and the whole letter. This is the most expensive (time, laser printer toner) option but it give lot of flexibility using plain white paper stock.
- Sheet of paper with preprinted issuer logo, the printer prints only the date, customer name and address.
Preprinted Letter Feeding
The card carrier already fully printed, no customer information is added. This is usually done for cards that do not carry any customer information such as pre-paid cards or anonymous debit card.
Card Attach on Carrier
The card receive a piece of double side sticky tape or a drop of silicon-based glue and it is affixed on the welcome letter on a specific position.
Some card mailing systems allow to attach multiple cards on a single card carrier.
The card carrier is folded in order to reach the envelope dimension. Popular ways of folding are Z-Fold, C-Fold and V-Fold.
One or more automated feeder add leaflets or other promotional printed material on the top of the folded card carrier.
Envelope Insertion – Sealing
The bundle of card carrier with its insert is automatically inserted into the envelope.
The envelope is then sealed.
The sealed envelopes are sorted by postal code or postal areas, then stored into mailing boxes.
Ship to Customer
The mailing boxes are the closed / sealed and sent to courier or postal service for delivery to card customers.
Value Added Fulfillment
Some types of exclusive cards, like the American Express Centurion, are shipped to customers with a heavily complex package that are assembled manually.
The process diagrams are available in a print-friendly PDF file here.