Manufacturing Process

The manufacture of a card goes through a series of different stages before completion. The main stages are design, reproduction, printing and finishing. To accomplish this entire manufacturing process, the FNMT-RCM has the most up-to-date infrastructure in materials, techniques and employment. Modern digital devices, that produce quality products greatly superior to other conventional processes, together with experience and know-how, account for client satisfaction.


The first step in the manufacture of a card is the actual design in accordance with the specifications provided by the client. Depending on the initial requirements, the physical and logical formats are established for the exchange of information between the FNMT-RCM and the client.

The Design Department is equipped with the most innovative tools existing on the market, working with both the Macintosh and PC platforms in addition to Silicon Graphics. Ranking prominently is Fortuna, with its different special last generation modules in graphic design for documents of medium and high security.


The objective of Reproduction is to make the plates that are needed in order to print the cards. In this stage the FNMT-RCM draws on Computer to Plate technology, a digital device that engraves onto the printing plates the images contained in the electronic files at resolutions reaching 4,000 points per inch and with a diversity of up to 20 different point formations.

The quality of the images obtained on the plate with these devices is greatly superior to that of conventional procedures. In addition it enables the purity of the original file to be maintained throughout the whole manufacturing process, without need to perform intermediate analog procedures before the production of the printing plate.


In order to offer its clients a better service, the FNMT-RCM has made considerable investments in printing processes on PVC, the material employed as the substrate for the cards. As a function of whether the print run is to be long or short, the FNMT-RCM uses either of two processes:

  • Offset (waterless)..
  • Digital printing.


The main finishing processes are:

  • Setting of the Magnetic Stripe.
  • Hologram and Signature Panel Application.
  • Pre-soldering Overlay.
  • Laminating.
  • Die-cutting.
  • Reviewing.

Chip Cards

In addition to the previous processes, chip cards require the following operations:

  • Milling, to shape the indent for the insertion of the micro-module.
  • Inlaying, insertion of the micro-module.
  • Pre-personalization, initiation of the chip with common data.
  • Numbering the outside of the card using INKJET.

The standards applicable to chip card manufacture are the following:

  • ISO/IEC 7810 - Identification cards / Physical features.
  • ISO/IEC 7811 - Identification cards / Identification cards.
  • ISO/IEC 7812 - Identification cards / Issuer identification.
  • ISO/IEC 7813 - Identification cards / Cards for financial transactions.
  • ISO/IEC 7816 - Identification cards / Cards using contact integrated circuits.
  • ISO/IEC 14443 - Identification cards / Cards having contactless integrated circuits.
  • ISO/IEC 10373 - Identification cards / Sampling methods.


Design and printing procedures

The card is printed prior to the processes of inserting (embedding) the chip and personalizing the card.

Before the printed cards can be produced the final artwork has to be created using specific DTP (Desk Top Publishing) graphic design software that will allow a printing proof to be generated in color.

The FNMT-RCM accepts and recommends graphics designed on a MAC/PC platform using:

  • ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS or earlier versions for image processing.
  • ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR CS or earlier versions for vector drawing.
  • FREEHAND v11.0 or earlier versions for vector drawing.

Note: Please consult regarding the use of any other application.

The FNMT-RCM also accepts graphics created on a MAC platform using:

  • QUARKXPRESS v6.0 or earlier versions, suitable for the layout of publications.
  • CORELDRAW v12 or earlier versions, despite its many limitations in the vector environment.

The formats for the images or illustrations will preferably have the extensions .tif, .eps, .jpeg, .psd, .pdf in RGB or CMYK. In addition these pictures will have a quality (resolution) of 300 ppi and will be same-sized (1:1) for all color or grey-scale pictures. For bit map (1 bit) pictures the resolution will be 1,200 ppi.

The remaining graphics, logotypes, etc. should be generated on applications with vector parameters so as to achieve the maximum contour definition quality, limited only by the output resolution of the plotter (2400 ppi to 4000 ppi).

The fonts or letter types contained within the graphics should be provided at the same time as the files so as to allow changes or corrections to be made to the text without the need for recourse to similar fonts that might cause loss of quality. The text may also be provided in plotted format (vectorially treated), but this disables its capacity for allowing changes to be made.

The electronic types of support for final artwork accepted by the FNMT-RCM are the following:

  • ZIP 100/200 MBytes.
  • JAZ 1GByte.
  • Disquete 1,44 MByte.
  • CD ROM 650 Mbytes.
  • DVD.

In the case of chip cards the type and disposition of the final artwork should take into account the position and shape of the contact plate in the micro-module utilized.

Please note the advisability of continuing the design 3 or 4 mm outside the standard ISO format in order to prevent loss of image (and the appearance of blank areas as a result) when the card is cut to size ? die-cutting process.

Final artwork data should include PANTONE color codes and signature panel specifications. It would be optimum to include a sample printed with the PANTONE color codes together with the electronic support for the final artwork.

Once the final artwork has been received the FNMT-RCM will proceed to print a color sample containing the design, the colors, logos and signature panel position, the magnetic band and hologram (if included). This sample will be sent to the Customer.