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Troubleshooting Paper-Related Printer and Copier Issues

paper related issuesIf you’re reading this then you’re likely the one in charge of paper-related printer and copier issues. You poor soul. These issues are likely the bane of your corporate existence, with event after paper-jamming event. 

While we can’t come unjam the printer for you—well, we could but that would cost you money (try the free advice below first)—we CAN advise you on the four most common paper-related printer and copier issues, and their relatively simple causes and solutions:


  1. The Excessive Curl Conundrum
: Launching paper through a tight path at high speeds with at least one 180 degree turn creates several issues, one of the more common ones being paper curl. When a paper curls too much the edges drag during feeding and/or transport, an problem that jams the sensors (which need to be regularly actuated and de-actuated in a timed sequence). The sensor jam occurs because the curl’s drag interrupts the machine’s timing. In severe cases the curl is great enough to cause a physical jam. A physical jam is the easier of the two to diagnose and remove because you can recognize it immediately—it causes an accordion-like paper shape.
  2. The Thick Paper Predicament:
 Thicker and heavier weighted paper cause similar problems to paper with too much curl and like curly paper, they cause jams. To avoid this problem you should choose the straightest paper path, which is most often the “manual feed tray”. Try to avoid two-sided printing on heavier media since the sharp turns needed for duplexing can cause problems.

Paper Issues:

  1. The Poor-Paper-Quality Quandary: 
Low-quality paper use causes feed rollers to erode overtime from pre-mature wear n’ tear, which can cause dust accumulation in the paper path. Once feed rollers are eroded to the point of no return (which is easier than you think) the rollers can no longer push the paper along the path as they can no longer properly grip the paper. Low-quality paper, and the endemic issue of paper roughness, also causes issues with the separation of pages in the paper tray, causing feed rollers and separation mechanisms to work harder—ultimately causing even more jams. 

Low-quality paper also tends to be rougher thanks to improper processing, which is akin to rubbing sandpaper on the rollers

. Paper dust is another unwanted attribute of low-quality paper, as it sheds more dust than higher grades of paper. Paper dust not only has a negative effect on image quality but also causes papers to jam. In severe cases the dust can be visible on the black rubber of the transport rollers, turning them a grayish-white color, which makes the rollers harder and slicker, which also causes paper jams.
  2. The Rough/Thick Paper Plague
: Rough and/or thick paper wreaks havoc on toners, causing them to fuse improperly to paper. And without proper fusing, the freshly-laid ink cannot ‘melt’ onto the paper—all because the paper is too think or rough to diffuse the heat. The heat can be adjusted for thick paper, envelopes and labels to help with the fusing process, but there are limits to these adjustments and their effectiveness.

Before you go stark raving mad dealing with your paper-related printer and copier issues, check to ensure that the quality and thickness is inline with manufacturer recommendations. Also check the curl amount of the paper and adjust the settings accordingly. And if all else fails, call a professional.