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How Copiers Work: Everything You Need to Know About Photocopiers

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How Copiers Work: Everything You Need to Know About Photocopiers

Clear Choice Technical Services

A copy machine may seem like a complicated device, but there’s a basic principle behind its performance. Photocopiers work because of the opposing electrical static charges between the ink, or toner, and the rolling drum. These opposing charges attract them to each other. Once an image on the drum is produced, light and heat are required to transfer the ink to a piece of paper successfully.

These are the basic steps involved in the process:

  • The user places a document on the glass. The photocopier then scans the surface of the glass. Light bounces off the document and is reflected onto the drum. This drum has a special coating which conducts electricity when light falls onto it. More light reflects off the white areas of the paper compared to the black, inked areas. An electrical shadow forms on the drum which is made of positively charged static electricity.
  • The toner, or ink, is also charged by the copy machine but its charge is negative. Because of the opposing charges, the toner sticks to the electrical shadow on the drum, and this is how an inked image is formed. This image is the replica of the original document.
  • To transfer the image, the drum is rolled onto a heated sheet of paper. The ink, or toner powder, transfers to the sheet and is permanently placed onto the paper through heat and pressure. The final product then emerges from the side of the copier. Because of the heat applied in the final process, the paper is still warm.

Basic Steps When Using a Copier

Photocopiers are very easy to use.

  1. Open the copier lid.
  2. Place your document face-down on the glass of the photocopier.
  3. Select options including the number of pages, enlargements, etc.
  4. Press the start button.

Common Problems You Might Encounter When Using Your Copier

These are just some of the most common copy machine problems and tips on how to fix them:

  • Paper jams. This is usually caused by using the wrong paper size or by improper loading. To fix this, remove the jammed paper manually. Then, reload the proper paper size and make sure paper is aligned properly.
  • Toner issues. If toner is low or empty, a simple replacement should be enough to fix the problem. Otherwise, you will have to check if you’re using the right toner or if there’s a manufacturer defect and the cartridge needs to be replaced.
  • Spots on pages. Check if the dots are always showing up in the same position. If this is the case, clean off glass and mirrors to get rid of the spots.

How to Keep Your Photocopier Up and Running

These are just some of the ways that you can extend the life of our equipment and ensure its efficiency for years to come:

  • Before you start cleaning the photocopier, turn it off to avoid electrical accidents.
  • If possible, clean the copier’s interior and exterior at least once a week.
  • Make sure that you are using the right paper and toner for your device. Replacing the toner regularly is also extremely important.
  • Always load the paper properly to avoid jamming it into the photocopier.
  • If you encounter any problems with your machine, hire the services of a trained professional who knows copiers well.

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