How Are Playing Cards Printed?

How Are Playing Cards Printed?

2022-04-26 15:49:12

The famous Dr. Joseph Needham in "History of Science and Technology in China" attributed the invention of playing cards to the Chinese around the 11th century. At that time, playing cards were also called leaf play, which was also the earliest prototype of ancient playing cards that could be verified in the world.


Later, Marco Polo brought this card game from China to the European continent, and it became popular all over the world. After the Chinese card game was introduced to Europe, it followed the form of four suits of cards, but different countries gave different names and cultural meanings, and the number of cards was also different. Each is inconsistent. Next, let's take a look at the process of making playing cards.


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Steps for printing playing cards


✔️The material of playing cards


The paper material used for playing cards is custom-made by a paper factory, using two layers of cardboard bonded by colored glue, which prevents the cardboard from being seen through.


✔️Storage environment


The paper used for playing cards needs to be absolutely flat from storage to manufacturing. The warehouse will use an industrial humidifier to control the humidity of the card stock to prevent the cardboard from being deformed due to drying.


✔️Paper test


Workers regularly check the temperature and humidity of the paper by inserting a flat detector uniformly 1.2 meters below the top of a stack of 3,000 sheets. A deck of 54 cards is printed on the same piece of cardboard and then cut out to make a deck of cards.


✔️Check the sample


Before making the printing stencil, the technician checks the design of the cardboard. Not only checking the version on the computer, but also printing out a low-resolution sample image, carefully checking the suit, order, color and layout of each card, and only after the sample image is confirmed can be printed. This inspection method is generally used in high-volume printing, whether it is newspapers, books, calendars or posters, all have the same operation.


✔️Film proofs


The next step is to make a "digital" proof, which is film. A special printer's internal laser conducts the heat of the colored foil dots onto the blank film, which perfectly replicate the content and color of each card.


Then a special machine called a "forging press" is used to expose the film and press it on the cardboard for making playing cards to make a proof that is exactly the same as the printed card.


✔️Adjust the design


The manufacturer will compare the proofs of the printed version, and let the drafting designer adjust the hand-painted drawing of the poker, such as adding colors or adding details, etc., try to make the poker more gorgeous and luxurious, so as to conform to JQK's distinguished VIP status... After this After the round operation, the layout design of the playing cards was officially completed.


✔️Printing equipment


Before printing, make a physical pattern. The computer controlled the laser to electronically etch the new design onto the surface of the polymer printing board. The process of etching is relatively slow, and the machine in the picture below can only make 30 patterns per hour.


✔️Inject ink


Then workers will inject blue, black, red, and yellow thick ink into the cartridges of the industrial printing press. Each color of ink is passed through 16 rollers, which ensures an even spray.


The paper feeder uses the method of negative pressure adsorption to feed the stacks of paper into the printing machine one by one.


✔️Multicolor overprint


Each printing plate is mounted on a rotating roller, which prints ink onto the plate, and the paper is then transported to the next rubber pad, one color at a time. This printing method is called "multicolor". Overprinting", I won't go into details here.


The single-sided printed cardboard is pressed by a rubber pad, and the printed paper is flattened and stacked every time.


Then turn the paper over and re-feed it to the printing press to print the back side. It is still multi-color overprinting. The picture below is the back side that has been printed in blue.




After the front and back sides are printed, the cardboard is fed into the paper cutter, and the rotating roller blade cuts the cardboard into strips first.


Then cross-cut into individual cards.


✔️Trim fillets


A deck of cards comes out of a printed cardboard, which is assembled into a stack and then divided into a pair and sent to round the corners.


A neat stack of cards was instantly cut into four square corners by a die.


✔️Plastic packaging


Playing cards are pushed onto a conveyor belt, where they are plastic-wrapped with cellophane. Each time when plastic sealing is done, a robotic arm clamps the cellophane reel to pull it down, wraps the front and back playing cards, and then lowers the heating rod to seal the plastic to make an envelope.


A deck of poker that is versatile, fun, and easy to carry does just that.


By the way


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