If you are shipping a printer or copy machine, be sure not to copy the three big mistakes a lot of people make. Although large and heavy, copy machines and printers are delicate instruments that can easily be damaged if they are not properly prepared for shipment, or if the wrong type of carrier is selected. In this article, we’ll take a look at three common mistakes people make when shipping a printer or Xerox machine, and how to do the job correctly.
Mistake 1 — Not Removing the Ink Cartridges
Whether you are shipping your copy machine across town or across the country, removing the ink cartridges is extremely important, for both inkjet printers and laser printers. If cartridges are jostled in shipment or during handling, they can be damaged, or leak and cause damage to other components. Instead, remove them from the printer and prep them properly:
Wrap cartridges and toner in protective packaging materials.
Insert the items in leak-proof plastic bags, clearly labeled with the contents.
Place the bags in a heavy-duty shipping container, also clearly labeled, for shipment with the printer/copier, or shipped separately.
Mistake 2 — Not Packaging the Machine Properly
As mentioned earlier, printers and copiers are delicate devices that must be protected against impact and environmental contamination. Any air, dust or other particulates must be kept out of the inner workings of the machine. Since truck trailers attract dust and dirt, and because other environmental contaminants may be present, be sure to seal any open areas of the printer/copier to make the machine as airtight as possible:
Remove any removable trays and paper from the device, and secure any drawers and permanent trays with tape to prevent them from moving. When doing this, take care in the tape you select for the job. Some tapes leave an adhesive residue that may be hard to remove, especially if the machine is exposed to extreme heat or humidity in transit.
On the other hand, if the tape is not aggressive enough, or if the adhesive was not designed to adhere to the material your machine is made of, it will come loose and provide no protection. If you are not sure what tape to use, check with your local hardware store or home improvement store for professional guidance.
Once the machine has been taped, you will need to provide cushioning protection, since the machine may incur impact on the road or even during the handling process. For tabletop printers/copiers, wrapping the machine in a heavy-duty bubble wrapping or flexible packaging foam will do the job.
Place the device in a heavy-duty corrugated shipping box—if you have the manufacturer’s original box and packaging materials, so much the better. If not, select a shipping box several inches larger in volume than the printer/copier, so you can add cushioning materials (bubble, flexible foam or crumpled newspaper) around the perimeter to provide extra cushioning protection. Avoid “popcorn” packaging materials when doing this. Besides being messy and often environmentally unfriendly, “popcorn” settles in the box and thus provides little if any cushioning protection if impact occurs in the wrong spot.
Note: For shipping large, freestanding Xerox machines, boxing it in a corrugated shipping container is impractical, since it will be hard to obtain a box large enough to do the job. Ask your freight carrier what they recommend. They will likely suggest two options:
Attach your machine to a wooden pallet, securing it with plastic strapping. If the carrier has the right equipment to handle the palletized machine, this will make handling much easier and safer, and provide more stability on the truck. To do this, you must select strapping that is strong enough for the job, and purchase tools to tighten the straps and tie them together. If you are unsure about doing this, some LTL carriers can provide guidance or handle the prep work for you.
Have the carrier handle your machine unpalletized; carriers familiar with moving heavy, delicate objects have the experience to handle and stow the item with the proper level of care.
Mistake 3 — Selecting the Wrong Shipping Company
For inexpensive printer/copiers weighing less than 60 pounds, a parcel shipper can be a good shipping option. However, for large, heavy printers, and/or expensive ones, LTL shippers are better suited for the job. A parcel shipment is likely to be exposed to rougher handling than a delicate item shipped with the appropriate LTL company. And, as the weight and girth of your machine goes up, the price advantage of LTL shipping improves. Regardless of price, the key for a printer/copier is always the same: to have it arrive at the destination in the same, good working order it was in when it was shipped.
Within the LTL industry, there is a lot of specialization. Some LTL carriers specialize in the transport of refrigerated items, others in hazardous chemicals, others in barrels and drums, etc. TSI and certain other LTLs specialize in the transport of heavy, awkwardly shaped, and expensive items. This is the type of carrier you want to select, since experience in handling a particular kind of item increases the likelihood your delivery will be made trouble-free. TSI does a lot of work with customers who do not regularly ship items via truck. Because of this, we can offer “hands-off” service, saving you the time and trouble of dealing with shipping paperwork, along with preparing and staging your item(s) for shipment.
If you have a printer/copier you need to transport to a new office, down the street, 3,000 miles away or anywhere in between, please contact us to learn more about our services or to get an estimate. We will make sure your copy machine arrives at its destination on time and in working order.