Maintaining the Components of a Laser Printer

Inside every laser printer there are numerous moving components and hardware that need maintaining to keep your printer operational .The frequency the maintenance will need carried out will vary by model manufacturer, usage, and environment.

Multifunctional peripherals for copying, scanning and printing have a print counter with pre-programmed variables set so that when the unit is due servicing, the device will alert you. This is just the same for when you need to replace toner cartridges. The unit will alert you to the toner running low. The same will happen when maintenance is due. It will alert you.

The reason is simply that there are a number of wearable parts in every unit, which will need replacement due to the wear and tear from constant use. Depending on your usage, it may be longer or shorter.

The environment your printer is installed in will affect how often maintenance will need done. For the most part, six-month cycles are sufficient, but if the units are installed on factory floors and/or distribution centres where there the environment is dusty, it may require maintenance every quarter.

How MFPs are maintained

The most used method for maintaining MFPs is to use maintenance kits provided by the manufacturer, or through your copier supplier. Depending on whether or not you took out a service agreement, the supplier may cover all or none of your maintenance. You should consider this when you are buying  or leasing a colour copier for your business, because maintenance costs can be substantial if you have a fleet of printers in operation.

Top considerations for maintaining laser printers

  • Toner Cartridge Replacement

Toner cartridges are the most cost effective method for volume printing. However, with colour copiers, there are more variables involved than just switching out toner cartridges.

When any cartridge begins to run low, the unit will indicate what cartridge needs replacing. Some of the modern devices available from suppliers have automatic ordering features available, which will notify your supplier to the toner replacement alert. Some will install them, whereas others may not and only ship the toner cartridges for your IT staff to install.

If your service agreement doesn’t include toner replacement done for you, pay attention to the next part…

  • The OPC Drum

For laser printers, the OPC drum is one the utmost important parts of the unit, and it’s also the most delicate. Whenever a print job is sent to a laser printer, the laser beam will strike the surface of the OPC drum, leaving an image imprint. It’s that imprint on the drum that is printed to paper. The toner particles are attracted to the drum and then transferred onto paper. Put simply, you need your OPC drum to be in top condition for quality printouts.

When you’re replacing toner cartridges, you’ll notice that the drum is protected. If you look at your manufacturers cleaning guidelines, you’ll likely notice that it mentions to clean only the visible parts of the unit. The reason for this is the instant you open the drum, you can expose it to light, which is likely to damage it.

That being said, it does need cleaned occasionally. When cleaning, it needs done in a low light environment. It’s best to have a certified engineer do this because they will know the best way to clean the drum. Usually that’s using isopropyl alcohol (IPA).

Any damage done to the drum is irreparable, which is why it’s best to leave this part of maintenance to trained experts who know what they’re doing.

  • The Use of Maintenance Kits

Maintenance kits are available from manufacturers, or your copier supplier. They are essential to keep your printer operational and continually producing quality prints. The most wearable parts are print heads, rollers, fuser units, and toners.

You will find for commercial copiers, as in those designed for high volume printouts, they will have a preset maintenance schedule based on the page output. When you reach perhaps 20000 prints, it will alert you to schedule maintenance.

For those under service agreements, suppliers will usually carry this out, but if you’re doing this in-house, it can be as simple as ordering a maintenance kit from the manufacturer, or your supplier.

The wearable components on modern colour copiers are numerous, which is why a service agreement is usually the most cost effective solution for high volume prints. It rolls all your costs into the one service.

  • Calibration of printers  

Dependent on the model of printer you are using, you may need to complete manual calibration of colour profiles, or you may have software installed with predefined quality targets, making calibration of colour profiles much simpler.

Whatever model of printer you have, calibration will be required at some point. Without the colour profiles being calibrated, you can find your print quality being either lighter or darker.

This is something that the Color Care 2 suite from Konica Minolta is addressing, making it extremely simple for marketing firms, and others who print in full quality colour frequently to benefit from.

 

If your business is finding the maintenance of your laser printer difficult, advice is available from our team of print experts at here. Whatever your print needs, we have solutions and expertise to cater to a wide variety of requirements.