How To Use Variable Fusing Technology On HP LaserJet Printers To Solve Toner Rubbing Off Problem.
A reoccurring question that our printer technical support department hears—is if there is a solution to unfused print on labels and heavy media. Many of the newer printers have the capability to solve this condition, but many technicians still don’t seem to be aware of it, as they will call about toner not fusing on labels and heavy media.
In this article, we will discuss variable fuser temperature, troubleshoot with the HP LaserJet printers and a the process on how to use variable fusing.
One problem occurred when heavy media was used in a large print job, resulting in improper fusing of the toner to the page. Technicians would call and tell us they could literally smear the unfused toner with their fingers. Heavy media, in this case, was pulling so much heat out of the fuser that the heating element could not keep up.
Low, for thinner media and transparencies. Normal, for standard media.High, for rough media.
The service manual suggests increasing the fusing temperature in the event of poor fusing or poor bonding of toner to the page. If toner flakes off or appears to not fully bond to the page, setting the temperature of the fuser to high instead of normal is a good solution.
On most older monochrome printers, you have the options of four temperature settings: Low, Normal, High 1 and High 2. The service manual states that High 2 runs at the same temperature as High 1, but slows down the speed of the paper through the paper path, allowing the toner more bonding time in the fuser.
In a nutshell, fusing mode is set up in this manner:
The temperature is set for each paper type in the printer menu. Each tray is set up for a paper type in the printer menu.
If both are set up correctly, when a paper type is pulled from a tray, the fuser will heat up to the predetermined temperature defined in fuser mode. To the service engineer and end user, this means there are setup procedures for fuser mode to work properly. Paper types need to be defined for each tray. Temperatures do have factory default settings, but depending on how heavy or light the media is, the temperature can be changed to accommodate it.
Also, the end user needs to remember to define the paper type in the printer drivers. If your typical customer is like most, none of this is set up and a perfectly good solution is put to waste. In the worst case scenario, the end user can choose the paper type in the print drivers and if that paper type is not found in the machine, the display will state “Tray 1 load (paper type).”
This is a manual feed function where the end user places the “special” paper type on tray 1 (a.k.a. manual feed tray) and presses the “Go” button to tell the printer the right paper is on the tray. If fuser mode has defined a higher or lower temperature, the machine will recognize this and fuse at the proper temperature.
This is also true when an end user chooses first mode for tray 1. When the printer is set to first mode, paper is pulled from tray 1 first if there is paper in that tray. If there is no paper in tray 1, paper is pulled from a cassette tray instead. First mode is essentially a quick manual feed mode.
Many end users wanting to print in manual feed will set up their printers this way. The end user will place the special paper on tray 1, then run back to their computer to print. It pulls from tray 1 and everything is great. This works unless the printer is networked and someone else prints to it first.
The other menu option for Tray 1 is cassette mode, which makes you define a paper type for tray 1 and define a paper size since there are no sensors to detect paper size. Essentially, treat tray 1 as if it were a standard paper cassette. Manual feed is when the printer has tray 1 set to cassette mode, but the driver requests a paper type not found in the machine such as labels. The printer will ask for the correct paper type: “Tray 1 Load Label,” just like the scenario described earlier.
These options provide some good solutions to end users when printing on different media types. That’s the good news. Now here’s the bad news: there are two scenarios when fuser mode is not active on tray 1 on some HP printers.
When tray 1 is set to first mode in the menu. When tray 1 is set to cassette mode in the menu and the printer driver requests a paper type that the printer does not have. The printer will request the special paper be placed on tray 1, manual feed scenario, and will print when you press the “Go” button.
Again, in both these scenarios, fuser mode is not active even if the drivers define the paper type associated with a different temperature. On some HP printer, the situation is different. It will change its temperature in first mode or in the manual feed scenario—as long as the printer drivers request the specific paper type.
How does a customer use fuser mode when tray 1 will not accommodate these temperature changes? The best option is to set tray 1 mode to “cassette” and define a paper type that is rarely used—perhaps labels; it depends upon the end user. In this case, set the temperature to high for labels.
Next, educate the end user that tray 1 should only be used for media needing higher temperature for fusing. Also, when using this tray, the end user must choose labels (in this scenario) in the printer driver, even if labels are not being printed on, since the printer won’t know.
This will allow the media to fuse at the proper temperature. This is not a great solution, but if the end user is having fusing problems that need a remedy, this is one of the few options to choose from.
Another option is defining a cassette tray for a specific paper type and putting the special media in that tray when needed. The risk here is, if the end user really is printing labels, they may peel off in the pickup and feed process. If the end user is printing on heavy media, the cassettes are designed to pull and feed lighter material than tray 1. This could cause paper jams. Thus, my suggestion of using tray 1.
There is one last issue to address when helping customers use the proper fusing temperatures. Many people assume when you have a label template open on the monitor and you click on “print,” the driver will automatically assume you are printing on labels—not so! The paper type in the drivers must still be chosen, otherwise the default paper type is chosen.
In essence, several things must come together for variable fuser temperatures to function:
Fuser mode must be adjusted in the printer menus for the paper type you wish to increase or decrease the fusing temperature for.Paper type needs to be set up for each tray in the printer menus.Paper type must be defined after the print drivers.
Labels should be fed into the printer via tray 1. Labels should, of course, be laser printer quality, thus being able to take the heat of the fuser. When non-laser quality labels are heated in the fuser, glue tends to seep out of them and contaminates the fuser rollers—or fusing film in this case. Also note that with the paper being fed straight into the printer, the face-up tray in the back of the printer needs to be opened so it can be delivered straight out of the printer.
Drivers can vary between operating systems and between programs. If you have a different printer driver set up, change the paper type, not the paper size. On Apple computers, look for “Media Type” in the print driver to choose a paper type.
As mentioned earlier, temperature can be set for this paper type. One other issue we often hear about is when the preprinted image on letterhead paper melts during the fusing process. This can smear the preprinted image, or cause ghosting of the preprinted image further down the page.
The first step to fixing this is to inform the customer they need to have a higher temperature toner for the next batch of letterhead they order. Another possible solution is to reduce the fusing temperature for letterhead paper. This can stop the smearing and/or ghosting of the preprinted image.
The downside can be the printer toner may not fuse to the paper very well, especially if their letterhead is a heavier paper. It’s best to play around with the settings to get the feel of what works best.
Now that you know how to make these changes, you can give this solution to your customers. In other words, knowing about good HP printer solutions like this, allows you to bring the best ideas to your customers..
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