The Dos and Don’ts of Storing Copier Paper
Have you ever noticed that the most common times for your copiers and printers to jam seems to be on a Monday morning or on returning to school after a holiday? The reason for this is usually due to how the paper is stored.
As it is a natural product, the quality and condition of your paper depends very much on the environment it is stored in. It is what is known as a hygroscopic material. This means it absorbs or loses moisture like a sponge, according to the atmosphere it is exposed to.
Follow these Storage Guidelines to ensure your paper is kept in its optimum condition, help to prevent time-wasting and frustrating copier jams!
Your paper normally arrives in cardboard boxes containing wrapped reams of paper. Although these boxes are generally sturdy they must be treated with care! Make sure they are not dropped, thrown or otherwise mishandled. Stack them carefully in their boxes or in individual reams. If possible, keep the reams of paper in the cartons to ensure the edges are not crushed or otherwise damaged.
Boxes shouldn’t be stacked more than five high. In the case of pallets, no more than three pallets should be stacked. Remember, damage at this stage may not be visible until it is too late, when the paper is already loaded in your copier and has jammed the copier.
Ideally, the room in which the paper is stored is kept should be at a temperature of 20-24°C with the relative humidity at 35 – 55%. Choose an area that’s protected from extreme temperatures and humidity, as this will have a direct impact on the amount of moisture absorbed by your paper.
High humidity will cause damp and possibly wavy edges on your paper. Low humidity will cause the paper to contract and become tight. Both extremes will vastly increase the likelihood of paper jams in your printers. Air-conditioning systems usually monitor and regulate the heat and humidity, so if possible, store the paper in an air-conditioned room to prevent stock being spoilt.
Don’t unwrap the paper, keep the ream in the wrapper it came in until the time comes to load it into the machine. The reason for this is that the wrappers have a lining on the inside to prevent moisture from seeping in or out. Once opened the protective barrier will no longer function, and the moisture content of the paper will begin to change.
If you are not using a whole ream of paper, then you should tape up or otherwise reseal the wrapper. This will help to prevent the quality of the paper being compromised. If a ream has been left open for a period of time then it is best to take sheets from the centre of the ream for use, as these should be the least affected.
If you are using coated paper, it is even more important that this is protected from environmental changes. Store it in covered boxes or resealable bags once the original wrapper has been opened to prevent damage.
In many schools, space constraints will prevent you from being able to store all of your paper in optimum conditions. If this is the case, you can use a method known as ‘conditioning’ to prepare the paper for trouble-free use.
In essence, this process involves bringing paper from an unregulated environment (such as an unheated storage area) into a room where the paper can be prepared for use.
As a rule of thumb, a minimum of 24 – 48 hours will be required for your paper to acclimatise and become ready for use. It is recommended that the boxes and reams are separated to assist the conditioning process.
To wrap up…
These points don’t seem much but you would be surprised how often they are the cause of the poor performance of your copier. A little forethought can save costly wastage of paper, time and of course, expensive call-out fees if engineers are required to fix your equipment.
Because we know about paper…
Whatever your needs are, get in touch with us. We’re a friendly bunch with more than 18 years’ experience helping schools to make the most of their budgets. We’ll make sure you get a great deal on your copier paper, without compromising on quality.