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Avoiding Callbacks By Using A Checklist

2 Nov, 2001 By: Jim Intravia imageSource

Avoiding Callbacks By Using A Checklist

month, I talked a bit about making up a check list. Here are some items and
servicing techniques that may be useful on a typical service call to help
minimize callbacks.


Before going to a service call

Check service history.

What was done last time?

What parts or supplies are likely to be needed.

Are there any special considerations, such as; closed for lunch; closed on
Wednesday; busy or slow days; call first required?

Payment and invoicing considerations: COD only or open account?

Location and directions clear? Will the technician be able to get there



Check machine before touching.  

Talk to operator and/or other users.

Confirm that you are at the correct machine and are there for the correct

Test machine and observe symptoms.

If the machine is running, make sample copies. Observe them and set aside for
the time being.

Effect repairs (what you are there for; not necessarily everything that is



machine and confirm that you have correctly serviced and/or repaired what you
were originally called for, and test further:


Test all feed stations, including duplex and bypass.

During feed station test, examine copy quality to be sure there are no copy
quality problems that are unique to one particular station. For example, fuser
wear can cause  11” wide paper to
ripple, although 8 1/2” may not. 

Test at several different magnifications in addition to 1:1. Always test the
smallest (typically 50%) and the largest (typically 200%). These two modes will
test the scan at its fastest speed, and the lens in its most extreme positions.
It is not unusual for a machine to misbehave in these extremes, intermittently,
with no symptoms in 1:1 copying.

Even if longest paper is not available, be sure to test the machine (by using
reduction) in such a way that you obtain several full length scans. An
improperly assembled optics cover, scan cable or harness is likely to cause a
problem in these situations.
document feeder by running about 10-20 sheets through it. If a duplexing
document feeder, test that function.

Test collator or finisher. If analog copier, make at least one run using all
bins for two originals. If stapler or other finishing function equipped, test
those as well.

Examine the copies you have been running, by leafing through them and looking
for inconsistencies, differences, etc. 

Run some copies on lightest setting (these should be a little too light) and on
darkest setting (these should be too dark). Those on the mid setting and/or
standard setting (auto exposure, photo/text or whatever the machine defaults to)
should produce a perfect copy from a black on white original, with no extra
button pushing or manipulating required by the customer.

Make at least one sky-shot. Do so by placing a piece of blank paper over the
lead edge of the platen glass. (we prefer not to cause a messy fuser jam, which
is much more likely with a black lead edge). Examine the sky shots. Look for
grooves or unfused sections caused by worn fuser rollers, scratches in the drum,
dirty or damaged corona wires or corona rollers, grooves caused by pinch rollers
that are too tight. Many potential copy quality problems will manifest
themselves in a sky shot before they are noticeable on a conventional copy.

Make several blank copies with clean paper on the document glass. Look for
anything that doesn’t belong there such as speckles caused by a failing
recovery blade, by scratches on the glass, or on the drum, etc. Often relatively
minor problems will not be obvious on a copy because the busyness of the page
makes them harder to notice, and in some cases, the black imperfections land in
the printed area and the blank problems land in the white areas, making them
invisible. However, it is only a matter of time before someone will have to
resolve these. Isn't it better to do so now, while you are there?

Make a few copies with your own test pattern, as well as with the customer's
work. Make long runs.

carefully to check for:

Varying registration.

Poor copy quality.

Problems that develop as the long run continues, such as wiper blade lines.

Jamming or other problems.

Make some one copy runs, allowing the machine to fully cycle down. There are
some problems that will occur only on the first cycle. There are jamming
problems (such as stuck exit sensor) that will only happen after the last copy
exits the machine, which negates all but the last copy out as a test.


To Check While The Machine Is Apart And Being Serviced:



Binding?     Assembled
properly?    Clean?   
Worn gears?


roller condition?        Press roller condition?        Cleaner roller
condition?          Condition
of separator pawls?          Condition
of bushings?         Binding?   
Worn gears?


condition and age?             Blocks
condition?          End caps
Coronas clean?


condition of drum.        Visible condition of
recovery blade (seal blade/lower drum blade.)   
Waste toner status?


lamps clean?   Blanking
lamps clean?     Drum
wrap sensor clean?


OK or stretched?       Toner piles to be cleaned up
and/or investigated?


Clean lens.          
Clean reflectors.       
Inspect condition of lamp.      
Clean glass & check for scratches.  
White mat clean?



To Check While Machine Is Running And You Are Finishing Up And Cleaning Up:

or machine

working properly?      Doors close properly?    
Panels clean?


in various modes.      Registration OK?   
No skewing?   Registration
and skewing OK in duplex?      
No obvious problems such as jamming or not taking in originals?


full run of bins & features.


from all stations?

(under machine)

on hand or needed?      Competitor's supplies on hand
(Worth knowing about, isn't it?)  
Look for any surprises down here; such as broken pieces of machine
that have been stored there, tools left behind last time, lost test


appearance, strange noises, etc.



purpose of the above checklists is to help avoid callbacks. These are so
frustrating, regardless of whose fault or responsibility they are. I make it a
point of always making one copy “For the road.” After I have completed my
service call, packed my tools, gotten the check and/or signed invoice, called my
office, and headed for the door, I pause: I go to the machine and press the
Print button and open the cover slightly. A piece of paper lands in the exit
tray shortly after with some black on it. I know that I have left the machine
working. I am assured that the last time I closed the door, I did not cause a
corona wire to snap, the exposure lamp did not choose that moment to burn out,
and so on. I can state with full confidence that I left the machine running. 


do this on every service call. Guess what. About once every two years, I put my
tools back down and go back to work. Something happened, whether my fault or
not, but as annoying as it is, it is far better than being 1/2 hour away and
getting called by my office that the machine I just left is down again.
Regardless of the customer's opinion of me and my work, they and I will be much
happier if the machine is working after I leave, not just before I leave. My
spending a few more minutes on the machine will not be noticed, but my being
called back certainly will.

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