Presenters: What They Are and Why Kiosk Printers Use Them

A presenter is a device that mounts on the front of a printer, and basically prevents the user from touching the printed document before it is severed from the paper supply (whether a roll or fanfold). There are usually three reasons for using a presenter.

  1. Preventing vandalism: if the user can’t touch the paper until it’s severed, they have no ability to pull all the paper off the paper roll or fanfold stack since it’s no longer attached. The worst that they can do is destroying their own printout. We call these “paper-pull vandals”.
  2. Protecting private information: if the application warrants it, and a printout is not taken after a certain period, confidential information can be protected by retracting the printout back into the kiosk and dropping it into a reject bin. The ability to pull the receipt back into the kiosk is usually called “retract”.
  3. Keeping the floor safe: as odd as it may sound, one reason for a presenter, especially in an indoor environment with a lot of traffic, like a shopping mall, is to prevent untaken printouts from ending up on the floor and becoming a slipping hazard to passersby. A presenter with retract capability would be needed in this case.

How to Determine if Your Kiosk Printers Need a Presenter

The first question is whether you need a presenter at all. If retract is not needed, the same effect (preventing contact with the printout until after it is severed) can sometimes be achieved by designing the kiosk to allow the printout to drop into a chute. Many boarding pass printers use a variation of this approach. Also, applications where the printer is attended by an operator, (for example, a bus pass printer where the driver hands the printed transfer to the customer), do not usually need a presenter because vandalism increases the operator’s workload. Additionally, if the printer is fast enough, the opportunity for vandalism is greatly decreased. Finally, there are also printer designs that use a unique internal tear bar that will cut the paper if an attempt is made to pull it.

Assuming you decide you need a presenter, unless the purpose is only to prevent vandalism, you will need one with retract. This feature is generally inexpensive today and having the feature and not using it is preferable to not having it and needing it, so we recommend that you get one with retract regardless of your application.

In your kiosk printer design, make sure that you allow for two special, presenter-related issues.

  1. Almost all presenters’ today work by forming a paper loop. The end of the paper is captured in the presenter and held, and as the printer itself continues printing, a paper loop is formed either upwards or downwards, depending upon the design. You must allow space for this loop based on your longest printout. If the loop gets caught on something in the kiosk, it can easily cause a paper jam.
  2. If your presenter includes retract, you must allow space for the reject bin. We don’t believe we have ever seen a reject bin with a simple box shape; they always seem to be made to fill the unused space that is available.

Selecting the Right Design for Your Application

The HENGSTLER team is expert in matching printers to the application. Whether it’s gas pump receipts, bank statement printers, railway ticketing systems, kiosks, fire alarm systems, or just about anything else, we’ve seen it and can help locate and integrate the best-suited printer for the purpose needed. Moreover, we can support our customers effectively by offering tailor-made application projects. Contact us today with your application or challenge