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Milling & Chip Embedding

Bonus Card - Chip Embedding

The process of milling and embedding can be used to transform a cheap plastic card into a sophisticated smart card that represents your organisation to a very high standard. We can also turn an RFID card into a multi-functional card by adding a contact chip. In many circumstances this does away with the need to carry multiple cards as all services can be accessed via the one credential.


By having this capability, we are able to keep customer service levels high because of control on lead times and, just as importantly, the control of quality. Full testing is carried out to ensure compliance to the ISO specifications is adhered to with every card being electrically tested as part of this process. From simple memory chips to full microprocessor-based devices, we have the skill & expertise to manufacture & deliver all types of smart card.

Let’s now look at the process of milling and embedding a contact chip into a card body.

To turn a basic non-tech piece of plastic into a smart card we have to first mill the cavity for the chip to sit in. For laminated PVC cards, a cavity is milled into the plastic.

ABS material cards already have this cavity, which has been created during the moulding process.

However, the work stations of an Automatic smart card milling and chip implanting machine are designed to handle any type of plastic cards including PVC, PET, PC and ABS.

The full milling and embedding process works as follows -

  1. Extraction of individual cards from the loading magazine
  2. The rigid transporting system moves the cards from one workstation to another in a synchronized manner
  3. CNC cavity milling head and dust extraction - Our system utilizes a precision triple axis CNC cutting head to mill the profile into the plastic card body in an incredibly accurate and efficient fashion. To minimize the blemish on the reverse of the chip cavity, we always follow ISO standards and ensure that there is a strict balance between the cavity being deep enough to encapsulate the module completely, whilst minimising the blemish on the reverse side of the card, to minimize the impact of the cavity when  dye-sublimation printing on the card reverse.
  4. Automatic chip module spooler, puncher and handler. This part of the machine helps to place the correct chip in the right location ready for insertion into the card body.
  5. Implanting of the chip module in the cavity. The chip is then implanted into the afore mentioned cavity, ready to move onto the next stage.
  6. Bonding of chip to the card cavity. The glue is already present on the reverse of the module so a process of heat and pressure is now used to ensure that the module is affixed very securely to the card body.
  7. Data input device. The cards are now programmed and/or read to ensure that they are working correctly. This checking process is done to every single card that we embed.
  8. Sorting of cards into good and reject magazines. Next the reject cards are removed via an automated process to ensure that the customer only receives fully working tested and inspected cards.

Random ISO 7816 sample tests are performed on each manufactured batch of cards. Then, finally, a file is prepared of the serial numbers of all smart cards produced in a given production run.

Although the process is complex, we can turn customer cards around in anything from 5 days to 24 hours, depending on volume and urgency.

Want more information on how we can help your oganisation with chip milling and embedding? Contact one of our experts today!