Card printer maintenance and other cost-saving tips
13 May, 2014
category: Contactless, Corporate, Smart Cards
By Ellen Arndt, AlphaCard
Did you know you can save a lot of money over time by taking better care of your ID card printer? Regular printer maintenance can help increase the lifespan of your ID card system and prevent unnecessary spending on new ID card printers and ribbons. This will also cut down on wasted time and frustration by preventing most card jams and ribbon breakage.
Maintenance isn’t the only cost-saver. Here are some of the ways you can economize when it comes to your ID card system:
Use the Manufacturer’s Cleaning Kit
While it may seem like a no-brainer to use the manufacturer’s cleaning kit, you’d be surprised at what some use instead — or don’t use for that matter. Manufacturer cleaning kits come with all the necessary tools needed to keep your printer in pristine shape. Each cleaning kit is slightly different, and that’s because no two printer models are exactly alike in their design. For example, most cleaning kits, designed for particular printer brands and models, include a special type of cleaning tape and/or cards to clean the card path of dirt and debris.
The buildup of dust and dirt can damage the printhead and smudge your organization’s ID cards. If you haven’t been regularly cleaning your printer, then it’s time you start. Think of it like getting an oil change — you can get away with not doing it a few times, but eventually your engine will seize.
Use a Can of Compressed Air
Want an industry insider’s tip? In addition to using a manufacturer’s cleaning kit, you should also consider buying a can of compressed air to clean out your ID card printer. Yes, it’s same can of compressed air that you’d use to clean out the keyboard of your computer. Use the can to spray out small dust and dirt particles. It’s an easy and affordable way to prevent further buildup inside your printer.
Use Polyester/PVC Blend Cards
Spend less on replacement cards by investing in polyester/PVC blend cards — also referred to as composite cards — which are far less likely to snap and break than standard PVC cards. These durable cards are impervious to warping, making them ideal for a lot of ID card programs. Not only is it expensive to re-issue cards over and over again, but extremely time-consuming.
Use Custom Holographic Stickers for Multi-Year Validation
Another way to save money is by purchasing custom holographic stickers to validate ID cards for a second year. This way, your organization will only need to issue cards every other year, saving you hundreds of dollars on blank ID cards and ribbons to re-print them.
Use Clamshell Type Cards
If your business or organization uses a proximity or contactless card, then consider using the clamshell type cards and printing on a thin, sticky-backed card that attaches to the card. You can then re-use and re-issue the RFID cards.
Use Printers with Lower-Cost Ribbons
A few of the major ID card brands — Zebra and Fargo — offer low-cost ribbons. The Zebra ZXP7 also offers high-yield ribbons which are both low cost and a time saver for high-volume operations, which means you do not need to change the ribbons as often
Speak to your ID card expert about other cost-saving tips. The important thing to remember is that less breakage equals less replacement costs, so while it may seem expensive to buy higher quality items, it may very well save you money in the long run.