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MICR quality control

If used correctly, the IBM Infoprint 4000/4100 will produce quality MICR documents. To produce quality MICR documents consistently, you must monitor both the application program and the printer output to be sure both are within banking specifications. You must assume responsibility for the quality of the documents released into the banking system. The banking system must assume the responsibility of having adequate, properly maintained reader systems.

A special MICR toner is used in the printer, which contains iron particles. The print does not look as black as with non-MICR toners. This should not be considered a problem, because it is a characteristic of MICR toner.

The strength of signal that is generated in the MICR readers by MICR characters is a function of the magnetic strength and size of the iron particles, the amount of iron particles in the toner, the amount of toner placed on the paper (pile height), and the relative shape of the printed characters. Most readers read the relative length of the vertical edges/transitions of the characters. Increasing the amount of iron on the page will produce stronger signals at the magnetic character reader. Too little MICR toner on the page will produce a low signal and increase the reject rate. Too much MICR toner will produce pile height that is too high and can contaminate the check reading equipment.

The operator can adjust the MICR signal strength by adjusting the contrast setting. Changing the contrast settings will vary the amount of toner on the paper. When the signal strength is too low, a higher contrast setting can be selected. When the signal is too high a lower contrast setting can be selected.

A MICR verifier/analyzer device (which should be made available by the customer for operator and SSR use) is required to achieve the best signal strength. Correct character position can be assured using an overlay or Glarden Gauge. IBM requires that these devices meet ANSI Standard X9.27-1995 or higher, for Magnetic Ink Character Printing (MICR). An operator must vary the contrast setting until good MICR signals are obtained. Experience has shown that a check average of 110 - 140% of the standard, for all characters on the page, is usually the best signal strength to obtain. However, the standard lower and upper limits for each character are 50% and 200% respectively. Since there is a variety of check stock papers and since paper characteristics can effect signal strength, the contrast setting may need to be readjusted for each check stock paper the customer uses. IBM printers can store these parameters for a large number of forms in snapshots.

Quality control tools

To correctly evaluate the quality of MICR printing on the Infoprint 4000/4100, you will need the following tools: