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After weeks of working on a project, sitting through hours of planning meetings, and dealing with multiple revisions, you have finally put the finishing touches on your project. It’s 2pm and you have a presentation at 3pm. The last thing you need to do is print copies for the meeting. You start printing and the copier jams. A light turns on. The toner is depleted. It’s out of paper. A light is blinking and after opening and closing a few drawers, opening the front panel, and turning it off and on, nothing happens.

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Why is one of the most frequently used items in the office often one of the biggest pains in the office?

It’s important to note that a copy machine is more than just one machine; it’s a complicated arrangement of smaller machines working together to scan, transfer, print, pick up, and move paper. The technology involved to pick up and move paper is sophisticated and complex which means issues will arise from time to time.

Copier design is moving away from simplification toward features and functionality. With added features and functionality come additional parts that need to be maintained and replaced to keep your copier running smoothly and efficiently.

Why are copiers such a pain? How can you prevent and fix common copier problems? Here are the most common types of copier problems and ways to fix or prevent these issues.

Paper Jams

One of the most common and frustrating copier issue is a paper jam. The technology involved to pick up and move paper is sophisticated, and paper jams often occur because of improperly sized paper and improper loading. Both issues cause a jam because the copier pulls paper through incorrectly. Before printing, make sure that the paper is loaded and aligned correctly in the tray.

Paper dust can also cause a copier to clog the machine and jam. Cleaning the feed tires and ridding dust build up inside the copier is the best way to avoid this problem.

Copies Are Too Dark or Too Light

Density setting errors and an imbalance in the density controls on the copier can cause problems with the color of copies. The best way to resolve altered density settings is to reset the density levels. Another possibility for color issues may be due to the drum reaching the end of its work life or that the toner in the machine is bad. To fix this issue, you may consider purchasing and installing a new drum or toner.

Wrinkled Pages

Have you ever had pages come out of your copier that look like they were crammed inside of your briefcase? Typically, wrinkled pages are due to worn out feed and exit rollers that cause sticking or jamming. Wrinkled pages can also be caused by fuser assemblies, worn out paper trays, or moisture caused by humidity. Replacements can be purchased to fix issues with paper trays; however, you will need a technician to fix issues caused by the fuser assembly or feed rollers.

Lines on Paper

Finished copies that contain streaks, lines, or other deformities may be caused by several machine issues including: foreign substances on the glass or mirrors, drum blade malfunction, fuser issues. Cleaning the scanner glass and mirrors will remove any foreign substances on the glass or mirror. Drum blade malfunction and fuser issues can be resolved by replacing the part causing the problem.

Spots on Page

If you notice spots in the same place on every page, it’s likely due to smudges or debris on the copy mirror or glass. Cleaning the copy mirror can prevent spots from showing up on your copies. A random array of spots repeated throughout the document may be the result of a defect in the drum. If your drum is defected, replacing the drum will resolve the issue.

Copiers are complex machines and it’s important to never be forceful when working with the machine. Make sure you follow replacement timelines for vital parts and fixtures on the copy machine to avoid wear and tear issues. And lastly, it’s important to make sure that you have a dedicated, responsive technician to resolve any complex copier issues that may arise to keep you from experiencing long periods of copier downtime.