Documents scanners are finely-tuned, complex machines; they’re the Teslas of office equipment. Their beautiful complexity turns physical paper into digital images that slip seamlessly into your workflow. That stress-relieving digital transformation requires a lot of moving parts. And those parts work hard for your love so you’ll want to give your beloved scanner some well-earned love back—right back atcha, Sven the Scanner! 

A business-grade scanner isn’t the same thing as a home office scanner from OfficeMax (in case you were wondering). A business-grade scanner is an investment that will process thousands, if not tens of thousands, of documents over the course of a single year. So it’s important to protect your investment with preventative maintenance. 

scanner maintenance required

They say half the battle is having the right tools. That’s not the case with scanners.

Half the battle is summoning the energy to put a maintenance day on some lucky employee’s calendar. The other half of the battle is being somewhat handy with components, somewhat patient with instructions, and somewhat cozy with grime.  

Sometimes things break down. No one casts so much as a glance at office equipment—blasphemy!—as long as it’s in good working order. But if there’s a problem, malfunctioning equipment brings office ops to a screeching halt in tandem with sighs and maybe a flumped expression or two. When that happens, Integra PaperLESS is the scanner servicing superhero you call for onsite repair and maintenance in tights

Let’s pull up a chair and talk about five best practices that keep your document scanner motor running in perfect working condition. 

Six Preventative Maintenance Tips

Similar to a car’s oil change, regular preventative maintenance reduces downtime, preserves the inner mechanics, and adds years to a scanner’s usable life. But it also has other, more subtle benefits as well. Like speeding up your document scanning, decreasing time-consuming paper jams, and saving on power consumption (which also helps the planet). Performing regular maintenance also restores the scanner’s image resolution and clarity. 

Here we go! 

This is how you prolong the life of your document scanner:

1. Turn off your scanner and unplug it. 

2. Clean it outside and in.

Start with the exterior. Dust it off! Environmental dirt and dust have a tangible effect on your machine’s operation if left unchecked over time. When you see the dust bunnies placing bets, take a rag to ‘er.

Then! Open it up for a deep clean. Get in there and scrub-a-dub the sensitive parts within. But not with soap and water. Or a pressure washer. Or all-purpose cleaner. Grab your ShamWow or microfibre cloth and usher the dust bunnies out of the interior. Disclaimer: Consult the owner’s manual prior to internal cleaning so you know where things are located and how to treat key components. The manual will show you how to put the scanner into cleaning mode. Yay! Cleaning mode! That’s where you feed a blank piece of paper through the rollers in order to remove dust and dirt build-up. The excitement builds!

Next step: Clean the glass. But not with Windex. Here’s a helpful tidbit: use a moistened cloth with denatured water. Think damp! (Don’t drown the poor thing). 

Scanners contain two different levels of glass: the scanning surface and a layer of sensor glass that’s used to detect documents. Most manufacturers recommend using a soft, dry cloth on both surfaces to remove particulate buildup. It’s science.

Moving onto the rollers—with moxy! Scanners have three types of rollers. Pay attention now:

  • Platen
  • Pickup and feed
  • Separation

Platen rollers apply the right amount of pressure as documents feed through the machine. The pickup and feed rollers grab documents from the tray and move them through the scanner. Rollers are made of rubber or plastic. Follow the directions in the owner’s manual to remove and clean them with a damp cloth to ensure that you remove dust and static. Once the component is dry, you can place it back in the scanner. A separation roller separates sheets when you feed multiple source documents through the scanner at once. Take extra care when removing the retard roller as too much force can damage it.

Glass and rollers—checkmark! Now see if your scanner has print heads (check scanners do!). We take care of the print heads because clean print heads mean high-resolution and low smudges and blemishes. Anyone up for a printhead party?—Whoo boy! Remove the print head (use your instruction manual) and swab the gunk off it. If it’s really gross, soak it in a 1-to-1 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water for a few minutes. Take this opportunity to floss at passersby or find your inner disco while the isopropyl works its grunk-releasing magic. 

3. Replace all worn out components

Cleaning doesn’t solve everything. A scanner’s components are consumable by nature. They’ll eventually give up the ghost. Cleaning should uncover any items that need necessary repairs. Take this opportunity to replace any worn out or broken components. *Cough* Well, hello there! Integra PaperLESS is here for that

4. Lubricate moving pieces

A scanner’s moving components need lubrication the same way a car’s engine needs oil, the same way—nah!, we’ll stop there. Over time, rollers, belts, and gears lose lubrication and that accelerates wear and tear and increases friction. But here’s the thing about modern scanners: almost all of them use self-lubricating bearings and bushings. So if you hear a friction noise coming from your scanner, a replacement is in order—best not get out the lube and turn your scanner into an oiled-up mess. Call for service!

5. Perform regular software updates

Scanners are usually part of your network. Developers like Canon and ScanPro periodically update the firmware necessary to operate the machine. Software updates eliminate operational errors and other bugs so your scanner continues to churn away happily (unless Disco-Steve is cleaning the print heads). Do you know what firmware is? If not, ask your tech person to get on the update.

6. Periodically recalibrate the scanner

A scanner has sensors. That practically makes it IoT! Occasionally, the scanning sensors must be re-aligned and calibrated to continue producing high-quality scans. Recalibration is scanner-specific. Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual or consult a professional. *Ahem!* Shameless plug.

Reduce Your Workload With Onsite Scanner Service & Repair 

Do your best to prevent downtime by proactively cleaning your scanner. But give yourself a break if you forget about it or do a sub-professional job of it. If you would rather call in the pros to do the work, schedule preventative maintenance for your equipment today and take advantage of the maintenance and repair services offered by our trained technicians. We have the know-how and in-stock replacement parts to get you back up in no time. Visit our website at www.integraecm.com to learn more about our on-site scanner service and repair. And if you have boxes and boxes of paper that need scanning, ask us about our scanning services, too!

Want a quick print-out for your scanner station? Download this handy one-pager to keep your scanner clean as a whistle and performing its best.

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