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Anatomy of a Badge Reel

Here is a great view showing exactly what makes up the most common types of ID badge reels.

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A badge reel is a device that allows you to keep your ID card on your person at all times. The ID badge is fastened to a cord that is wound onto a spring coil mechanism. The main parts of a badge reel are as follows:

The Outer Case

The outer case serves two purposes. It protects and covers the coil mechanism, and it offers a place to custom print your company information. Most badge reels have an outer metal or plastic case that comes in a wide range of colors. The case can be customized on the front with either direct printing in one to two colors or full color scratch resistant nylon imprints. The full color is the most popular option, but the pad or direct printing allows for printing on the rim of the case as well as the center depression. The carabiner style badge reels can be customized on both front and back surfaces. Some of the heavy duty reels may be available in only one color or a color and chrome combination.

The Inner Workings

A coiled spring retracts the cord after it is extended. The cord comes in different lengths. Carabiner cords can be a long as 36 inches. Base metal badge reels cords are usually 18 inches. Standard models generally feature a nylon cord. Heavy duty badge reels may have either a steel cord or a reinforced nylon cord. Some models feature a lock button that, when pressed, keeps the cord extended.

Attachment Points

The badge reel has two attachment points: the employee and the ID card.

There are several ways to fasten the ID card to the reel, including o-rings, bulldog clips, snap hooks or a snap on a vinyl strip. The last method is the most common. A small vinyl strap is inserted through the slot on the top of the ID card and snapped together. Sometimes other small items are also attached to the badge reel, such as keys or mini tools. These are usually added with snap hooks or o-rings.

The second attachment point is to the employee. There are many ways and places to wear an ID badge. Belt clips are very popular. A clip is attached to the back of the badge reel housing and the case is clipped to the waistband or belt. This method obviously precludes printing on the back of the case.

Another option is the close end pin. This allows the badge reel case to be directly attached to the clothes, in the same manner as a piece of jewelry would be applied.

An alligator clip, with its namesake teeth, allows for fastening to a short shirt sleeve or pocket.

A wire gate is type of attachment that lets the case be fastened to a loop or button hole. It features a circular loop with a wire "gate" that bends back under pressure then snaps forward to secure the loop.

Lanyards allow the badge case to be worn around the neck. They also offer the option of further custom imprinting on the lanyard itself, as well as front and back printing on the case.

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