Always use high-quality consumables, purchased from authorized dealers in your ID card printer. These supplies provide the best life and results from your machine. Safe-Card ID Services is one such dealer, but there are lots out there; find a dealer you trust!
But I saw cheaper consumables online…
Less reputable dealers may offer cards and ribbons that are “compatible” with your printer but are not certified. While you may find that they offer these at a discount, these savings may be an illusion. Recently, a local client ruined multiple print-heads by using sub-standard cards. Not only was this an inconvenience that interrupted their card production, it was costly. Printer manufacturers’ warranties do not cover print-head damage from poor-quality or non-genuine consumables.
What problems might low-quality consumables have?
Poor-quality cards may have foreign objects (dirt, dust, hair, and plastic particles), irregular sizing and thickness, and jagged-cut edges. In the best-case scenario, using these cards will require more frequent printer cleaning (to remove those foreign objects!). The worst-case scenario results in physical damage to the printer, specifically the expensive print-head.
Poor-quality ribbons may not be compatible with RFID sensors or printer firmware updates, leading to “no ribbon” or “unknown ribbon” errors, thus preventing their use. Non-genuine ribbons are often made with sub-standard materials. Use of these materials can lead to low-quality images, rendering of colors inconsistently, and ribbons tearing and sticking to card surfaces, all of which can also cause damage to the print-head.
Why are high-quality consumables such a big deal?
All printer manufacturers stipulate that the use of non-branded or low-quality materials can void printer and print-head warranties. While great online deals can be tempting, it is important to make sure that the materials are of high quality–both to preserve your device warranty and to ensure the best possible output.
The bottom line: be sure to inspect materials before using them. A broken printer costs more to replace or repair than you could ever save with aftermarket or “gray-market” supplies. Find a trustworthy, authorized dealer for your printer consumables and rest assured that your printer investment will be protected.