How To Properly Clean Biometric Hardware

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Unintentional Consequences Resulting From Good Intentions

Recently, an end user contacted us to report that one of their fingerprint readers had mysteriously been damaged and unable to properly scan.  Turns out that the glass surface where the finger rests during the scanning process had become scratched and thus could not properly capture a fingerprint image.  Although no one on staff was claiming responsibility for the damage or the cause, management suspected (due to another fingerprint reader being damaged in a similar way a few months prior) that it was due to someone improperly wiping the surface with a prohibited cleaning agent.

Taking into consideration that fingerprint readers and other biometric hardware devices are an investment and have a shelf life just like most other electronic equipment, it prompted us to think that perhaps it was an appropriate time to write a blog post on how to properly clean biometric hardware to prolong the hardware longevity and get the most out of your investment.  Since regular use of biometric hardware devices (especially fingerprint readers) leaves residues or other foreign materials on the surface, this post will offer tips on how to properly maintain the devices.

fingerprint reader Wear And Tear More Prevalent For Fingerprint

No matter where you have a biometric system deployed, your hardware will undergo wear and tear as your end users place their fingers or palms on the device for recognition.  However, fingerprint readers tend to have shorter life spans due to the fact that an end user must make physical contact with the fingerprint sensor in order for the device to capture a print and identify through a biometric software interface.  Within environments where staff is prone to having dirty, greasy, or grimy fingers due to their job responsibilities, we always recommend cleaning your hands before using either of our fingerprint readers.  Remember that dirty residue, oils or other materials on the surface of a fingerprint reader can obscure the image causing performance degradation in terms of false acceptance and false reject rates.

CLEANING THE M2-EASYSCAN FINGERPRINT READER:

Dampen a lint-free cloth or cotton swab with alcohol or acetone. Gently rub the cloth across the sensor

surface in a left and right direction.  Move slowly down the sensor to cover the entire surface area. Repeat this process 2-3 times. Visually observe that no residual solution remains on the sensor.

Caution: Abrasive materials are not recommended for cleaning the M2-EasyScan.

CLEANING THE M2-S FINGERPRINT READER:

The scanning surface of the M2SYS fingerprint scanner is coated with a thin film of silicone.  This silicone layer helps the reader capture more ridge detail from rough, dirty, and other potentially difficult prints. The silicone layer is not removable or replaceable, so please make sure to treat it with care.

As far as cleaning, it is NOT recommended that you regularly use industrial cleaning solvents (especially those that are alcohol-based) on the scanning surface.  The repeated use of such products will definitely lead to the silicone layer on the scanning surface becoming damaged.  Such damage will result in decreased capture sensitivity, and will negatively impact the scanner’s performance.  A piece of scotch tape, placed sticky side down and then peeled off, should be sufficient to remove any dust or latent oil or dirt buildup caused by normal use.  The frequency of use for the tape will vary depending on the amount of traffic a scanner experiences.  Typically, once a week should be reasonable.

If something unusual does happen, like something sticky gets spilled on the scanner surface, a small amount of mild ammonia-based cleaner (e.g. Windex) can be sprayed onto a cloth (not paper) and blotted or gently wiped on the problem area.  Blot the area dry and use scotch tape to remove any leftover particulate.  You should not use paper-based products (e.g. paper towels) to clean the surface as they will leave small paper particles stuck to the silicone.  You should not spray any cleaners directly on the scanning surface. You should never use an alcohol-based cleaner on the scanning surface.  This procedure is only to be used in the rare case that something out of the ordinary gets onto the scanning surface – scotch tape alone will be sufficient for normal maintenance of the scanning surface.

It is possible that with heavy use the silicone layer on the scanning surface may become slightly cloudy over time.  Use of a mild ammonia-based, as described above, may help to remove this cloudiness.

Vascular Biometric Readers – Finger Vein and Palm Vein

Luckily, the dawn of vascular biometric readers meant that end users no longer had to make contact with the sensor that captures the image of the finger or palm vein for recognition.  It did not mean that these readers would not be susceptible to becoming dirty but cleaning frequency dropped significantly and the contactless sensor meant a longer life for the hardware.  Here is the breakdown of how to clean each M2SYS vascular reader:

M2-FV (Finger Vein) Scanner Maintenance:

  • Before performing the M2-FV Scanner maintenance, remove the USB cable. Keeping the cable connected with the USB connector during maintenance may cause failures.
  • For M2-FV Scanner maintenance, be careful not to allow water to come in contact with the inside of the M2-FV Scanner.  This may cause malfunctioning.
  • Do not clean the device using organic solvents such as gasoline and alcohol. This may cause malfunctioning.

Maintenance of the external part of the M2-FV Scanner should be about once a month or whenever required according the condition of the scanner.  Clean the external part of the scanner by rubbing it with a soft piece of cloth.  If dirt is not removed by doing this, soap the surface to be cleaned with neutral detergent and clean using a tightly wrung out piece of damp cloth.  If dirt remains, immerse the piece of cloth into water and cleaning detergent, wring tightly and apply to remove the dirt.

  • Scanning area maintenance. (About once a month or whenever dirt from fingerprints is detected.)


Scanning Area Maintenance Method

  • Use a soft piece of cloth to clean the scanning area.
  • Lift up and remove the front part of the device where the finger is placed (support).
  • Clean the scanning area using a soft piece of cloth. In case of big and obvious dirt particles, remove these before cleaning.
  • Place the support back into its position once the cleaning is finished.


M2-PV (Palm Vein) Scanner Maintenance:

Before performing the M2-PV Scanner maintenance, remove the USB cable. Keeping the cable connected with the USB connector during maintenance may cause failures.

  • For M2-PV Scanner maintenance, be careful not to allow water to come in contact with the inside of the M2-PV Scanner. This may cause malfunctioning.
  • Do not clean the device using organic solvents such as gasoline and alcohol. This may cause malfunctioning.

biometric software systemMaintenance of the external part of the M2-PV Scanner is required according the condition of the scanner. Clean the external part of the scanner by rubbing it with a soft piece of cloth. If dirt is not removed by doing this, soap the surface to be cleaned with neutral detergent and clean using a tightly wrung out piece of damp cloth. If dirt remains, immerse the piece of cloth into water and cleaning detergent, wring tightly and apply to remove the dirt.

 

Hope that this post has been helpful and we are always available for help if you need to contact us.

John Trader (351 Posts)

John Trader is the Public Relations and Marketing Manager with M2SYS Technology, a recognized industry leader in biometric identity management technology. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA M2SYS Technology's mission is to pioneer the high-tech industry by delivering long-term value to customers, employees and partners through continued innovation and excellence in all aspects of our business. M2SYS continues to innovate, build and bring to market leading-edge biometrics solutions that revolutionize the industry and expand the applicability of biometrics technology in our marketplace. You can view their Web site at www.m2sys.com or contact them via e-mail at info@m2sys.com