If your plastic card printer hasn’t been in use for months, it’ll need a bit of care and attention before you expect it to jump into action
Just like any other piece of electronic kit, ID Card Printers need a bit of TLC every now and again.
If your printer has been sitting in a cupboard since March or has been sat on the side gathering dust, it’ll need a good clean before you start printing out those ID cards or membership cards again.
Why is cleaning your plastic card printer so important?
Just like any other piece of expensive kit, your card printer will give you better performance and have a longer shelf-life if you maintain and take care of it.
During the printing process, dirt and debris naturally builds up inside the machine. Dust is also the printer’s enemy. If left unchecked, this will lead to ribbon or card jams, printing errors and poor quality print. At worse, it leads to printer malfunction and downtime.
If you’re using a Smart or Magstripe encoder, this can also affect whether card readers can actually read the card.
So rather than just switching it on and hoping for the best, get your cleaning kit out first.
What should you clean them with?
This isn’t a job you can do yourself with some antibacterial wipes. You’ll need the correct card printer cleaning kit that’s compatible with your particular printer, otherwise you risk damaging it.
These are very cost effective: you can usually pick up card printer cleaning cards for around a tenner.
What’s in a card printer cleaning kit?
Card Printer cleaning kits typically include:
- Cleaning cards. These come pre-soaked in a cleaning solution and are inserted into the printer to clean through the printer passage, picking up dirt and debris as they go.
- Cleaning pens. This is used to manually remove debris and contamination from the printhead.
- Cleaning swabs. These can be used to clean print heads, card path, guides and rollers and come pre-saturated with cleaning solution.
- Cleaning pads or wipes. Use these to manually wipe dust and residue from the inside of the printer.
You can also buy Cleaning rollers, although one of these is usually included with a new ribbon.
Make regular cleaning part of your printing routine
Most printer manufacturers recommend cleaning the printer every time you replace the ribbon.
- Regular cleaning will extend the life of your printer and its printhead by keeping it running efficiently.
By doing so, you’ll reduce the risk of ribbon breakage, jams and other mechanical issues and avoid unnecessary downtime
- It will produce a better quality of print on your cards, as resin won’t build up on the print rollers
And perhaps most importantly:
- It keeps your printer in warranty. In many cases, the failure to clean your ID card printer regularly will invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to fool them – the printer contains a record of all prior activity, so they’ll be able to check if it breaks down and has to be sent back.
A worthwhile investment
Card Printer cleaning kits start from as low as £10 depending on your brand and model, compared to anywhere between £250 and £600 for a new printhead. You do the maths.
If you’re not sure which cleaning kit is right for your printer, we’re here to help.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01244 526009.