News

PCS Invests In Bespoke Encoding Solution

Plastic Card Manufacturer

At PCS we have a long history of investing back into the company so we can continually provide our customers with the very best products and services. With help from Made Smarter, we have invested in technology capable of encoding 10,000 cards per day which in turn has resulted in us securing a sought-after identity card contract.

Adam Unsworth, Managing Director, explains: “Our digital press allows us to manufacture highly personalised cards in large sheet format, that can contain variable data on both the face and reverse, as well as incorporating a magnetic stripe. However, whilst the cards can be collated, laminated and punched, there was no way of encoding the magnetic stripe in the same process. The only way for this to be done would be to manually take the individual cards and place them in the correct order and then run them through the encoding machine. Not only would this be a staggering workload but would be prone to error and make any substantial job commercially unviable.”

PCS took the conundrum to a German machine manufacturer and created a bespoke solution which can read the card, check against a data file in real time, and then encode it.

PCS also wrote a new software solution to be able to interrogate its customer’s database for the personalised data for the card and organise print jobs for the day.

Adam said: “Thanks to the software solution we have been able to fully automate the process collecting the data needed and organising the print jobs. When we arrive to work in the morning, the job is ready to print. The individual cards can be placed in any order because the machine takes the card through, uses OCR (optical character recognition) to read the number, verifies it on a database and then encodes it.”

In addition to winning this prestigious identity card contract worth £500,000 each year for the next three years, crucially it has opened a whole new market for PCS in terms of secure photo ID cards.

Adam added: “Quite simply, without funding through Made Smarter for the new equipment, PCS would not have been able to win the contract. The increase in turnover is huge for us. It’s a game-changer for our company.”

 “I have worked at PCS for 18 years and this is the most complicated job I’ve ever been involved in. But it has also taught us so much about streamlining processes and improving efficiencies through digitalisation, as well as the volumes we are capable of manufacturing.”

Moving forward PCS has implemented photo ID cards onto its award-winning web-to-print ecommerce site the Plastic Card Hub and has also identified potential opportunities to increase efficiency in its other production-line processes.