Thermography is to engraving as polyester is to wool, laminate is to granite, or vinyl is to leather. It's very hard to replicate engraving, but it’s close!
A very popular and inexpensive “alternative” to engraving. The lettering is raised to mimic the feel of engraving, but it is done through a heating process where powder is applied to wet ink. The powder is then removed from all areas, except where it adheres to the wet ink. The paper is then heated causing the powder to melt and fuse to the ink. The reaction from combining powder, heat and ink causes a bubbling action to take place and then it's dried in that state, producing the raised effect. The paper is then cooled which finalizes the process. Since there is less manual labour required than with engraving, thermography is a much more cost effective solution for raised printing than engraving.
On thermo business cards, the back of the business card feels smooth, with no indentation from engraving plates allowing for back printing and thermography typically has more shine to the ink than engraving.