An exclusive look at the new Magicard Helix ID card printer

Magicard, the UK-based manufacturer of Magicard ID card printers, has announced the release of its new retransfer ID card printer, Helix. Introducing the kind of innovations that Magicard products are renowned for, Helix combines high definition retransfer print quality with an intelligent user interface and in-line visual security.

Here we take an exclusive look at this eagerly anticipated release.

Retransfer printing.

Helix internal
The Magicard Helix prints litho-quality ID cards from a compact desktop package. This versatility enables the issuance of secure IDs in high volume or in small volumes for replacement or additional credentials.
The Magicard Helix uses a retransfer printing process, where color images are first printed onto a thin film then heat transferred on to the surface of the PVC, Polycarbonate or composite ID card. This produces a high resolution photo quality image, printed right over the edge of the card. By printing on to this controlled substrate, print imperfections due to irregular card surfaces or around embedded card chips are eliminated. Equipped with a high grade processing unit, Helix is powered by Magicard’s most advanced and durable print engine and features high capacity consumables (1000 prints) and hoppers (200 cards), making it ideal for high volume localized or even centralized issuance.
A more durable retransfer film will be available for the Helix which offers up to five times the resistance to wear and tear of a standard ID card print.
Single-sided Helix printers can be upgraded to double-sided printing capability with a simple electronic upgrade key.

Intuitive touch-screen technology.

HELIX screen1
The Magicard Helix is the first ever desktop card printer to feature an interactive touch-screen interface.
Visual indicators show connectivity, temperature, how many prints are remaining on all consumables and information regarding where the user can purchase additional supplies. A preview screen during printing shows the exact card being personalized and its progress through the print cycle. The intuitive interface makes it easy to change settings, with additional help provided through animated step-by-step video sequences showing how to reload dye film, how to clean the printer and undertake other important maintenance activities.

The first retransfer printer with built-in visual security.

Miescher card Helix custom
When creating an ID card, aspects such as color, design and layout can sometimes take precedence over the most important element, the security. Without a card security feature, anyone with access to any ID card printer could make a convincing copy of the card.
The new Helix retransfer printer introduces Magicard’s latest visual security breakthrough. An evolution of the famous HoloKote® watermark, HoloKote for the Magicard Helix adds a security feature or logo to the card at the point of printing (Patent Pending). Specifically designed to work with the retransfer process, HoloKote for the Helix also exploits the wavelengths and lens effect of the retransfer film to fluoresce under UV lighting.
HoloKote for the Helix is enabled by using a special YMCKS ribbon in combination with the retransfer film. These ribbons are a fraction of the cost of expensive customized over laminates, do not require a secondary lamination process and are not subject to the long lead-times and high MOQs of custom overlays.

There are 10 standard designs included with every Helix, these are selectable from the printer driver. Any of these 10 designs can then be replaced with a customized watermark using a specially encrypted secure electronic upgrade key.

Print and encode secure cards in one pass.

Hand of women holding blank paper label, isolated on white
The Magicard Helix can be equipped with a range of card encoding devices to write secure electronic data to cards at the point of issuance. Smart card encoding options include contact chip, MIFARE, DESFire and iClass. Specialist high-security encoders, such as EMV accredited devices, can also be fitted for the in-line personalization of payment cards. The Helix can also be supplied with a magnetic stripe encoder built-in.

Plug and play compatibility.

hero-image-template Helix
The Microsoft certified plug and play driver is compatible with all recent Windows versions include 8, 8.1 and 10, with a Mac OS X compatible version also available at launch.
A set up wizard, accessible via the touch-screen interface makes the Helix incredibly easy to install and easy to use. USB and Ethernet interfaces are fitted as standard, with a fully integrated Wi-Fi printing option also available on all models shortly after the initial launch.


Cards Dubai 5
Over the past few months, the Helix has been previewed at key trade shows on every continent, winning rave reviews from the industry. The next chance to see the printer in action will be at the ASIS exhibition in Anaheim, California from the 28-30th September, with production units shipping shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, watch the Helix story at