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Want the Best Electronic Card Manufacturer? – Understand the Details

Electronic cards have gained popularity and increased significance in recent years. But with overwhelming reliance on tech and electronic devices also comes security and privacy concerns.

Therefore, getting a reliable electronic card becomes pivotal, and requires sourcing from a top and credible manufacturer.

The abundance of electronic card manufacturers can often make it challenging to pick the right fit. But understanding the types of electronic cards available, their features, capabilities, manufacturing process, cost, target use, etc., simplifies your choice criterion. How, then, can you get a secure and reliable electronic card?

First things first, let us understand what an e-card entails.

The Electronic Card

An e-card is a device or card that contains an embedded IC (integrated circuit). The integrated circuit comes either as a microcontroller or an alternative with equivalent intelligence – mainly possessing a memory chip or an internal memory.

You connect the e-card to a reader through direct physical contact or a virtual contactless RF interface. All this becomes possible because of the embedded microcontroller within the card.

It is instrumental in access control, card-to-reader communication, storage of data, and other on-card functions such as mutual authentication and encryption.

Different forms of electronic cards exist; your choice will always depend on the intended end use. The most common include electronic credit cards, purchasing cards, virtual credit cards, smart cards, RFID cards, SIM cards, and stored-value money cards.

Features of an Electronic Card

Most electronic cards come either as memory or microprocessor cards. However, a microprocessor smart card has more qualities, implying a broader application.

For example, it allows for access, deletion, addition, and manipulation of data in the card’s memory unlike a memory card.

Smart cards possess both memory and a microprocessor aspect, therefore finding applications in telecommunication (SIM cards), banking and finance (through payment automation), security as access control cards, transportation (e-passport), etc.

A smart card’s miniature nature, portability, and security make it a convenient tool for secure transactions in diverse applications. For instance, you can fit the card in your wallet or phone and make a payment while on the go.              

Components of Electronic Cards

Memory

Electronic cards can store and secure vital information like biometrics, PINs, etc. 

An Integrated Circuit (IC)

It is critical in communicating with the smart card reader besides other electronic components. Further, access control helps in identifying and authenticating your ID.

Encryption is a huge part of access control and is pivotal in securing stored data. Hence, you may need biometrics, such as your fingerprint, to keep your data safe.

Small and Portable Form

An electronic card comes in a small, portable form that makes it efficient and convenient. In most cases, the industrial standard dimensions are the ISO/IEC 7810 defined size of 85.60×5398 mm with rounded edges.

It mostly comes with PVC, PET, polycarbonate, metal, and eco-friendly PLA cards.

It can also come in ISO/IEC 7816 and ISO/IEC 14443 standards, depending on whether it is contactless or with contacts.

The Electronic Card Manufacturing Process – Smart Card in Perspective

An e-card manufacturer is a company that specializes in the production of electronic cards, also known as printed circuit boards (PCBs). These are the thin, flat boards to mount and connect electronic components in various electronic devices, including smartphones, medical equipment, computers, aerospace systems, and other consumer and industrial products. Electronic card manufacturers use a combination of advanced technologies, including photolithography, etching, drilling, and soldering, to produce high-quality PCBs that meet their clients’ specific design and performance requirements.

The most competent electronic card manufacturers’ process encompasses four principal phases: module production of the smart card, body production, personalization, and card fulfillment.  

Module Production

It starts with the production of the silicon wafer, where photolithography produces a silicon wafer populated with smart card chips. In ROM-based card chips, the card’s OS and some apps are engraved or burned permanently into every silicon wafer’s chip. 

Wafer Initialization

It is an optional step that pre-personalizes and activates the chips while on the silicon wafer.

Dicing of the Silicon Wafer

The process splits the chips from the silicon wafer. It happens by laser cutting or mechanical sawing. However, before the cutting exercise, every wafer gets attached to an adhesive tape to avoid the movement of chips.

The process also entails the customization of the micro-connectors before electroplating with semi-precious and precious metals.

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Die Bonding

It entails the application of the epoxy glue on the micro connectors pad area. After that, inline thermal curing ensues, dries, and strengthens the bonds between the micro-connector tape and the chip.

Wire Bonding

The electrical connection of the die’s contact pads and that of the micro-connector using a thin wire happens. Thermosonic bonds attach the 30um aluminum or gold wire to the pads permanently.

Techniques in thermos bonding can include wedge wire or ball bonding.

Encapsulation of the Chip Module

Here, adhesives, mostly UV-curing epoxy resin, get applied to avoid the breakage of chips and wire contacts from environmental and mechanical stress.

Tape Inspection

It occurs visually, with the identification and marking of non-compliant modules

Electrical Test

The tape then has to pass an electrical test. Here the smart chip gets powered for a simple I/O test.

Initialization of the Chip Module

All the non-marked micro-modules during the electrical test and tape inspection get initialized and pre-personalized.

Shipment to Card Body Production

It is the final step where the modules get shipped for card body production in flexible module carriers. 

Body Production

In most cases, card bureaus or producers undertake this process. You must provide your smart card draft or card artwork as a customer. The stepwise process includes the following.

Customers provide their smart card artwork which then passes through the pre-press process. Here, optimization of the card draft ensures compliance with the preferred printing technique.

Once the customer approves the prototype or optimized version of their card artwork, the CTP plate production begins.

Sheet printing and inspection of the printed sheets then ensues. After that collating the diverse sheets becomes necessary. For instance, the PVC foils, clear overlay, security overlay, magnetic stripes, signature panels, and contactless antenna sheets need to follow a specific order.

Lamination becomes necessary before striping and punching the card body. After that, sim plug-in, cavity milling, and chip module implanting happen.

Quality inspection of the chip module becomes critical as you want to avoid pre-personalization and chip module testing on a faulty card.        

Card Personalization

It is the next phase of the e-card manufacturing process and makes every card distinctive from the rest.

The process involves data generation and encryption through an automated process. It then passes through a personalization system, the key’s management, and the application’s loading. However, specific process optimization and features can demand a mix of both industrial modular equipment and small specialized units.

Card Fulfillment

It is the last phase of the card manufacturing process. Mainly, it occurs through a modular machine but sometimes a mixture of automated and manual steps.

It entails the packaging of the e-card, besides shipping to the customer.

Want the Best E-Card Manufacturer?

As clearly illustrated, the manufacturing process often involves more than one company. Picking a suitable manufacturer like Rayming Technologies implies defining and understanding your card needs. Aspects like technology, competence, delivery time, affordability, and quality play a huge role.

Therefore, select the best manufacturer offering competitive prices at each manufacturing phase to ensure value for money.