Scanner cleaning best practices guide

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This article will give you some basic tips on how to prevent scanner problems from impacting your business. Keeping your scanner clean is an essential part of the scanning process. Below you will find the Best Practice steps to maintain your scanner.

Duty Cycle

You want to pay attention to the duty cycle of the scanner. The duty cycle is the scanlife (number of cycles) in hours. It is the manufacturer's recommendation of how many pages per day the scanner was designed to handle. It's the most important difference between consumer scanners intended for home use and commercial scanners. This also explains the difference in price. Know your scanning requirements and choose your scanner accordingly. Running a scanner above the rated duty cycle will result in premature scanner failure, in addition to higher consumables expenses. 

Consumables

ScanAid is the consumables kit sold for Fujitsu scanners.  The parts included depend on the model of scanner.  In general it will include a Pad Assembly, Rollers and Cleaning Kit. Anything made of rubber inside your scanner is designed to wear out. Rubber loses its grip and the ability to push, pull, or separate paper as it wears out. These parts usually have a good lifespan but you should expect to replace them periodically. Consult the manufacturer's literature for recommended replacement schedules. It's usually okay to ""stretch"" the lifespan of many consumables to reduce expenses, but don't lose track of replacement altogether. Immediately replace worn components if scanner performance is degraded.

While scanner replacement lamps are often listed under consumables, their lifespan is often so long that you may never need to replace one. Check the expected lifespan and use your judgment. Many consumables list replacement schedules based on page count or annual replacement. Don't forget that age will degrade the performance of rubber parts even if your page count is very low. You still need to plan on replacement

Keeping Your Scanner Clean

Most scanner problems are due to contamination. Proper scanner cleaning requires both knowledge and supplies. The first step is to consult the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning instructions. This is important! There are a couple of tricks to scanner cleaning that are vital. If you don't have the maintenance guide that came with your scanner, they are available on the manufacturer's web site. On an average it is recommended the scanner is cleaned once a month and the consumables (rollers etc) last about 200,000 scans per year.  General cleaners such as Windex, Fantastic, etc. are not to be used on the scanners; these will cause issues with image clarity and the life of the scanner.

Following are some maintenance guidelines, but they are certainly no replacement for the manufacturer's cleaning guide.

You will need to identify and clean the following parts:

  • Separation pad – This rubber block or roller "scrapes" one sheet of paper from the stack. If it's worn or dirty, the scanner will pull multiple sheets.
  • Pick roller – This rubber roller pulls paper from the stack and feeds it across the separation pad. If the pick roller is worn or dirty, the scanner will not reliably pull paper.
  • Feed rollers – Rubber or plastic rollers guide or propel paper through the scan path. Worn or dirty rollers can cause crooked scans and contamination of documents.
  • Glass – Usually a two glass plates (Simplex & Duplex) that protects the camera from contamination. Dirt on the glass will create dots or streaks on scanned images.

Cleaning Your Scanner

You should always consult your scanner's user manual before doing these steps.

  1. Gather your cleaning materials. You'll need a soft, lint-free cloth (anti-static rags are particularly good for this purpose); and Endust for Electronics, an eyeglass cleaner, or a mild, non-streak glass cleaner. Pre-moistened wipes designed for electronics work well and are use-once and disposable. You can search Google for: Pre-moistened Glass & Surface Wipes to find supplies near you.
  2. Check your owner's manual. If the manufacturer has provided specific instructions, follow them.
  3. Unplug the scanner.
  4. Spray glass cleaner on your cloth or open a pre-moistened wipe.
  5. Raise or remove the scanner lid.
  6. Wipe upper and lower glass plates until visible dust specks and grease have been removed.
  7. Immediately wipe the screen dry with a dry portion of the rag or a second rag (not needed if using a pre-moistened wipe).
  8. If you are not satisfied with the results, repeat the process.
  9. Clean the chassis with the same pre-moistened wipe or with any other product suitable for cleaning plastic.

    Note: Do not clean the rollers with the pre-moistened wipe.

  10. If the underside of the glass is dirty, it is recommended you have a professional service for interior cleaning.

Warnings:

  • Avoid typical glass-cleaning products, as they can leave streaks on your glass bed.
  • Do not spray cleaner directly onto any part of the scanner.
  • You may see recommendations to use (clothes) dryer anti-static sheets, but don't; they could scratch the glass.
  • Paper towels will leave dust on the glass.
  • Do not use compressed air as it will force dust under the glass causing lines in your scanned documents and require professional cleaning.

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