Helping Your Clients Clean and Maintain Biometric Time Clocks

By John Banasiak

The time clock has been used by businesses for over a century to quickly and accurately record employees’ time spent working. The device has seen many improvements, going from manual punches on cards to swipe badges and advanced integration with workforce management applications. More recently, time and attendance hardware devices have been designed to capture employee punches through biometric authentication. A few examples of different biometric time and attendance options include the RSI HP, the ZK T4, and the Kronos InTouch. To ensure that these devices are capturing each and every biometric punch possible for you clients in a quick and accurate manner, the devices need to be well-maintained. This includes cleaning the biometric sensors properly. Failure to properly clean and maintain a biometric device could lead to punch errors and even costly maintenance issues for your clients. To ensure your clients remain happy with these types of hardware devices, vendors recommend they follow these simple steps to protect their investment and remain satisfied with the product they purchased from you.

Cleaning the Fingerprint Reader

Oily deposits from fingers accumulate on the surface of the finger sensor after repeated use. This normally has no effect on sensor operation, but you may want to clean the sensor from time to time for aesthetic reasons. In normal use, it is recommended that you clean the sensor once a month, or any time an oily residue is visible on the sensor surface.

  1. Remove electrical power from the finger sensor by disconnecting the terminal from its power source, including the optional UPS battery if applicable.
  2. Accu-time Systems recommends cleaning their devices through the use of isopropyl alcohol, which can be purchased at your local supermarket or pharmacy, to clean the Capacitive Sensor reader. Apply via a soft cloth and clean gently.
  3. ZK recommends cleaning the Optical Platen by blowing on to it in order to remove any dust particles and/or wiping it with a mild window cleaner or neutral detergent. The platen CAN BE scratched so clean with ease.
  4. Kronos recommends cleaning the TouchID on InTouch terminals through the use of isopropyl alcohol as well. Apply via a soft cloth and clean gently.

Caution: Do not use bleach or chlorine-based cleaners such as Clorox® bleach, non-chlorine bleach, or chlorine-based bathroom or mildew cleaners. Chlorine-based cleaners do not necessarily affect the functionality of the fingerprint sensor, but they can discolor and could damage the surrounding enclosure and peripheral components. Do not use any solvents such as acetone, MEK, TCE, paint thinner, turpentine, etc.

  1. Dampen a lint-free cloth (not soaking or dripping wet) with the isopropyl alcohol.
    Caution: Do not directly spray the sensor. Do not use nylon brushes or scouring pads, abrasive cleaning fluids or powders, or steel wool. These items can damage the sensor.
  2. Gently rub the sensor surface and surrounding bezel with the damp cloth, turning the cloth to keep exposing a clean surface to the sensor. Do not allow cleaner to drip or run down into the enclosure.
  3. If the sensor is very dirty, you may need to repeat the cleaning operation using a new clean cloth.
  4. Reconnect the terminal power when cleaning is complete.

Caring for Fingerprint Readers

The sensor is designed to perform well even under harsh conditions. Nevertheless, here are some precautions that should be taken to avoid damaging the sensor:

The sensor can be damaged by a discharge of static electricity from your body. Even though the finger sensor is typically surrounded by conductive plastic that is connected to ground, you should always touch the conductive plastic before touching the sensor to safely discharge any static electricity that may be present on your skin or clothing.

  • Do not place the finger sensor close to a heat source, such as a radiator or hot plate.
  • The sensor should not be exposed to rain or excessive moisture.
  • With the exception of the cleaner listed above, do not put any liquids on the sensor. Never spray or pour liquids directly on the sensor; always apply approved cleaners using a clean cloth.
  • Do not allow the sensor to come in contact with metallic objects, heavy shocks or vibrations.

Biometric devices are quickly becoming the time clock of choice by many businesses today. While these devices are a great improvement over traditional data collection options for helping your clients eliminate buddy punching, they do require ongoing maintenance. By using the above steps, your clients can help maintain the accuracy of the device, and protecting your investment.

If you have communicated any other tips with your clients, feel free to share them in a comment below.

About John Banasiak:
John Banasiak is the Data Collection and IT Specialist at SaaShr responsible for configuring, supporting and maintaining all hardware/system related areas both internally and for our channel partners.


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