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Preventing Paper Jams

Mark McDowell / March 18, 2021

Here’s a story I was told the other day.

I’m on my way into a meeting, juggling my puny cat mug and note pad. All I need to do is grab the document from the Office MFP on the way in and I’m set for my Monday morning presentation. Instead, I find there’s a paper jam and what I needed did not print.

Unfortunately, this expletive-inducing scenario probably sounds all too familiar for many people (perhaps minus the cat mug).

Don’t Get Stuck

Nothing is more frustrating than a paper jam when you need to quickly print something. Luckily, simple maintenance is the key:

  • Buy good quality paper. Paper packaged in plastic or laminated reams is best.
  • Always store paper in a cool, dry place. Moisture on the paper is a leading cause in jamming.
  • Fan the paper out before inserting it into the tray.
  • If refilling paper before the tray is empty, remove the existing paper and stack it evenly on top of the new
  • Make sure the paper fits tightly and straight into the guided tray on all sides.
  • Be sure that all doors and levers are in the correct, closed position.
  • Never overload the paper tray.
  • Don’t mix and match paper types in the same tray.
  • Put the copier on Power Saving mode overnight or long periods of time of no use.
  • Keep your copier clean. Check here for a how-to guide on properly cleaning your device.

Learning The Hard Way

Toshiba Service Technicians have seen it all and shared a couple common causes of paper jams which can easily be avoided.

•  “Accidentally changing the paper size programmed for a paper drawer after adding paper to the drawer,” said Regional Service Specialist John Morello.

Double check that the paper you are loading in a drawer matches what that drawer is programmed for. Otherwise you could have an 11×17 trying to fit through a 8.5×11 slot. I trust you can do the math here and see what inevitably will happen.

• “Schools often move the machines to wax floors in the summer.” said Regional Service Manager Rick Johnston. “When they put them back where they belong, the finishers are not aligned correctly and cause paper jams.”

Whether you move the device to clean or because you feel the feng shui is off in the space, be aware that components can shift during the process, potentially leading to paper jams or other problems. Check on the finisher alignment or contact your service technician if anything is not functioning properly after moving.

So, Ya Got Stuck

If you still manage to get that paper stuck, don’t yank on it!  At the least it could cause pieces of paper to tear off and fall into the device. At the worst the tugging could damage the machine, costing your company unnecessary repair. Instead, follow the visual instructions that appear on your copier’s control panel screen to remove the jam. If you can’t dislodge a jam, call a service technician who can help, often over the phone.

Hopefully by following these tips and reminders though, the only jam you’ll have to deal with is on your sandwich.