Why Paper Jams Persist | The New Yorker


144 bookmarks. First posted by farley13 february 2018.


For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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4 weeks ago by sthg
Xerox engineering
engineering  history 
5 weeks ago by configures
For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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6 weeks ago by jonstieg
“I wouldn’t characterize it as annoying,” Vicki Warner, who leads a team of printer engineers at Xerox, said of discovering a new kind of paper jam. “I would characterize it as almost exciting.” When she graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, in 2006, her friends took jobs in trendy fields, such as automotive design. During her interview at Xerox, however, another engineer showed her the inside of a printing press. All Xerox printers look basically the same: a million-dollar printing press is like an office copier, but twenty-four feet long and eight feet high. Warner watched as the heavy, pale-gray double doors swung open to reveal a steampunk wonderland of gears, wheels, conveyor belts, and circuit boards. As in an office copier, green plastic handles offer access to the “paper path”—the winding route, from “feeder” to “stacker,” along which sheets of paper are shocked and soaked, curled and decurled, vacuumed and superheated. “Printers are essentially paper torture chambers,” Warner said, smiling behind her glasses. “I thought, This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”

[...]

At a hip Rochester restaurant called Nosh, Viavattine held the menu up to the light to assess its “flocculation” (the degree to which its fibres had clumped infelicitously together). He launched into a fabulous paper-jam war story. “I was asked to go to Chicago to visit the Chicago children’s court,” he said. “This was the mid-nineties, and a sales rep had put our printers—I think they were 400 Series—all over the court system. What was happening was, lawyers had to deliver certain court documents to the defense attorneys within a certain amount of time. Otherwise, the defendant was let go. And they were losing two out of three cases because of paper jams.” He paused. “Two out of three defendants were gone—walking out the door—because of paper jams!”

Ruiz looked both fascinated and skeptical. “So, just so I understand—the repeated jams were delaying the process so much that—?”

“That two out of three times they would be late, and the defendant would be released!” Viavattine said. “And the problem was that they were using some off-brand, really down-in-the-dumps paper.”

Ruiz turned to me with a twinkle in his eye. “Paper jams!” he said. “Now you know why the crime rate in Chicago went down.”

[...]

“Once, a cell-phone company tried to hire me,” he recalled. “They said, ‘You’re going to be working on the frames of the cell phones.’ I said, ‘What else?’ They said, ‘No, that’s it—the frames of the cell phones.’ That’s so boring! I don’t think they sell this job well enough. It’s, like, ‘Printers—I used to have one, it used to break.’ But, if you really want to learn more about everything, this is what you should do.” He grinned. “I like solving problems. Once you go to Toner Tower”—Xerox’s coal-black skyscraper in downtown Rochester—“life starts passing you by.”
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7 weeks ago by tomshen
For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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9 weeks ago by mikerugnetta
"The owners of printing presses have exotic tastes: they print on magnets, tinfoil, windshield decals. Xerox executives push the engineers to accommodate new kinds of stock, which might open new markets. But even plain office paper is full of hidden dangers. In the facility some engineers call the Paper Torture Lab—officially, it’s the Media Technology Center—Bruce Katz, a soft-spoken paper technologist, examined some copy paper through a microscope. “The edge of a sheet of paper is really a third dimension,” he said. Magnified, the edge resembles a snowy mountain range about four thousandths of an inch thick; the snow is paper dust, ready to drift into a printer’s jammable gears. More expensive paper is more cleanly split, and its straighter edges have less dust-generating surface area. (They are also more likely to cause paper cuts.)"
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Building 111…
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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11 weeks ago by paryshnikov
There are many loose ends in high-tech life. Like unbreachable blister packs or awkward sticky tape, paper jams suggest that imperfection will persist, despite our best efforts. They’re also a quintessential modern problem—a trivial consequence of an otherwise efficient technology that’s been made monumentally annoying by the scale on which that technology has been adopted. Every year, printers get faster, smarter, and cheaper. All the same, jams endure.
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11 weeks ago by rmohns
For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming.
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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february 2018 by wacko42
By this point, Ruiz appeared to be vibrating. “Here’s a stupid idea,” he said. “Bernoulli!” Bernoulli’s principle, discovered in 1738, entails that fast-moving air exerts less air pressure than slow-moving air. Because the top side of an airplane wing is curved, while the underside is flat, the air above moves faster than the air below, and the wing rises. “If you have jets of air shooting above the corners, the airflow will lower the pressure, and they’ll lift,” Ruiz said. Using the flat of his hand, he mimed the paper levitating like a wing.
“We could take the output from the vacuum pump and port it around to make it the air source for your Bernoulli,” Breed said.
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february 2018 by rosscatrow
Why Paper Jams Persist #sociocose https://t.co/gkKCogS5iZ
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february 2018 by ciocci
Why Paper Jams Persist | For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:… | http://ift.tt/2DYjpdp | via Instapaper and IFTTT
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february 2018 by habi
A trivial problem reveals the limits of technology.
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february 2018 by mrjohnsly
Either the Onion has nailed it again or this is unduly fascinating. Honestly.
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february 2018 by fourstar
Building 111 on the Xerox engineering campus, near Rochester, New York, is vast and labyrinthine. On the social-media site Foursquare, one visitor writes that…
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february 2018 by spinnerin
/via @kellianderson

Also, why is it 1am and I am EXCITED! reading about Bernoulli (again)???
This article is fan.tas.tic. Flocculation, unintended consequences, industrial engineering...!!
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february 2018 by jalderman
Why Paper Jams Persist
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february 2018 by kejadlen
For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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february 2018 by michaelfox
For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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february 2018 by flobosg
For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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february 2018 by skinnyj
Audio: Listen to this story. To hear more feature stories, download the Audm app for your iPhone. Building 111 on the Xerox engineering campus, near Rochester, New York, is vast and labyrinthine. On the social-media site Foursquare, one visitor writes that it’s “like Hotel California. via Pocket
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Building 111…
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Building 111…
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Audio:…
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february 2018 by frog
Joshua Rothman writes about how a trivial problem reveals the limits of technology.
design  paper  technology  engineering 
february 2018 by the-kenny
“Every year, printers get faster, smarter, and cheaper. All the same, jams endure”
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february 2018 by souldoubt
For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Building 111…
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february 2018 by disnet
Annie Proulx:
<p>Bruce Thompson, the computer modeller who sat at the head of the table, had spent days creating a simulation of the jam. “We’re dealing with a highly nonlinear entity moving at a very high speed,” he said. On the screen, his wireframes showed a sheet of paper in mid-flight. He called up a shadowy slow-motion video made inside the press. “There’s a good inch before the vacuum takes effect,” he observed.
The team began to consider their options. The most obvious fix would have been to buffet the paper upward from below using a device called an air knife. This was off limits, however, because the bottom side was coated with loose toner. “An air knife will just blow the toner right off,” Ruiz said. Another possibility was to place “fingers”—small, projecting pieces of plastic—where they could support the corners as they began to droop. “That might create a higher jam rate on different paper shapes,” an engineer said—it could be a “stub point.” A mystified silence descended.
A mechanical engineer named Dave Breed pointed toward the upside-down conveyor belt. “The vacuum pump actually works by pulling air through holes in the belts,” he said. “So what is the pattern of those holes relative to the corners? Maybe there’s no suction there.”
On the whiteboard, Ruiz sketched a diagram of the conveyor belt—the V.P.T., or vacuum-paper transport—showing the holes through which the suction operated. “Optimize belt pattern,” he wrote.
“If my understanding of air systems is right,” Breed went on, “then the force that gets a sheet moving isn’t really pressure—it’s flow.”</p>

You thought you didn’t care about printers, but this will make you care about printers, and realise that - as one person says - “a printer is a torture chamber for paper”. (So, is Annie Proulx between books?)
Paper  printer 
february 2018 by charlesarthur
Another cool article from the most typographically beautiful site on the ‘net
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february 2018 by anotherkevin
For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Building 111…
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For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming. Illustration by Daniel Savage Building 111…
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february 2018 by paulozoom
a trivial consequence of an otherwise efficient technology that’s been made monumentally annoying by the scale on which that technology has been adopted.
february 2018 by Jimbo
Why Paper Jams Persist
february 2018 by nimprojects
Audio: Listen to this story. To hear more feature stories, download the Audm app for your iPhone. Building 111 on the Xerox engineering campus, near Rochester, New York, is vast and labyrinthine. On the social-media site Foursquare, one visitor writes that it’s “like Hotel California.
technology 
february 2018 by DanHill
Audio: Listen to this story. To hear more feature stories, download the Audm app for your iPhone. Building 111 on the Xerox engineering campus, near Rochester, New York, is vast and labyrinthine. On the social-media site Foursquare, one visitor writes that it’s “like Hotel California. via Pocket
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february 2018 by kubia
Great read: „Why Paper Jams Persist“
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february 2018 by nielsk
A trivial problem reveals the limits of technology.
For printer engineers, solving paper jams is “the ultimate challenge,” combining physics, chemistry, and programming.
Audio: Listen to this story. To hear more feature stories, download the Audm app for your iPhone.
Building 111 on the Xerox engineering campus, near Rochester, New York, is vast and labyrinthine. On the social-media site Foursquare, one visitor writes that it’s “like Hotel California.” Conference Room C, near the southwest corner, is small and dingy; it contains a few banged-up whiteboards and a table. On a frigid winter afternoon, a group of engineers gathered there, drawing the shades against the late-day sun. They wanted to see more clearly the screen at the front of the room, on which a computer model of a paper jam was projected.
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