Innovative Card Manufacturer Practices Sustainability in Smart Card Production
Thales DIS BPS is a German based developer and producer of contactless and contact smart cards in the NF, HF and UHF range. The company's guiding principles include the conservation and best possible utilization of resources by having a deep vertical integration onsite.
Sustainability in Materials
Thales produces smart cards from the materials commonly used for this purpose: mainly PVC, PVC-ABS blend, PETG, PC and PET. These materials are recommended for stable and reliable cards with long lifetimes. They do not contain mixed material, and their manufacturing waste can be reused in down recycling at low cost. "Of course, there are 'greener' materials for cards, such as wood, cotton or straw," explains Managing Director Dr. Frank Schmidt, "but production is then so energy- and water-intensive that you can't speak of sustainability there with a clear conscience." The solution can only lie in standard materials that are readily available.
Sustainable Supply Chains and Short Transport Routes
The raw materials for the card body of the Thales DIS BPS product range all come from Europe. The shorter the transport route, the better. The foils, for example, are sourced from northern Italy. The cards should not only have been manufactured in Germany, however, but also come from raw materials that have been produced in Europe. Except for the semiconductors, which have to be sourced in Asia, all other materials are from Europe.
Card Made from Biodegradable and CO2-neutral Natural Materials is Under Development
The medium-term goal of Thales DIS BPS is to establish card bodies made from renewable raw materials on the market. Even before the Corona crisis, Thales had therefore begun developing a biodegradable and CO2-neutral smart card. The time to product maturity is now dragging a bit due to the semiconductor shortage. This is acceptable, says Managing Director Dr. Frank Schmidt: "I'd rather the development takes a little longer, but then we'll have a solid biodegradable and CO2-neutral product. We don't want to engage in greenwashing."