Archive for April, 2013

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Thick Card Stock Paper Cracks Along the Spine When Folded

Posted by: Office Zone on April 26th, 2013

Cracked Spine Card Stock PaperHave you ever tried to fold thicker paper, only to find that it cracks along the spine during the folding process? There is a reason for this. The fibers in the thicker paper will actually break and crack when forced to bend, much like a twig will crack when you break it in half. This can be annoying, especially when you are trying to fold thicker paper for announcements, brochures, marketing material and more. There is a way to fold paper without breaking the spine. I would like to cover a few options that may help you prevent cracks in this article.

The biggest culprit with “cracking” the paper during folding, at least that I’ve seen, is not understanding how the paper is made. Humidity and the age of the paper can also affect the quality of the fold. One thing many people don’t realize is that paper has a directional grain pattern to it depending on how it was manufactured. Folding with the grain will produce much better results than folding against the grain and will dramatically cut down on cracks. Folding against the grain of the paper causes a lot of damage. It is possible to fold against the grain, however, which I will cover in this article.   I will also cover other popular ways to fold thicker paper in this article.

Folding BoneThere are many ways that people fold paper. One of the most common, at least on an individual level, is to fold it by hand. Folding paper by hand, however, results in a very messy spine and the results don’t look very professional. I recommend at least using a folding bone (found here) if you are going to fold paper by hand. A folding bone will crease the paper, making the fold cleaner and more precise. This also helps with folding thicker paper.

Paper ScorerOne of the most effective ways to fold thick paper, without cracking the spine, is to use a paper scorer or creaser (found here). These devices come in manual and electric designs. What these do is compress the paper in a line along the length of the paper. This helps to crush the fibers in the paper, making a fold much easier. The idea is actually very similar to a folding bone, but in a more practical design for repeated use. Paper scoring machines can be used with some of the thickest paper out there and can even be used against the grain of the paper. These tools work great for dozens to even hundreds of sheets of paper per day.

Paper Folding MachineIf you are folding dozens to potentially hundreds or thousands of sheets a day, a paper folding machine (found here) is probably more realistic. These devices do a very good job of handling thicker paper without cracking the spine, however, does not work as well with extremely thick card stock as a paper scoring machine will. What some people will do, especially when folding thousands of sheets of thick paper a day, is score the paper on an automatic scoring machine prior to feeding it into a paper folding machine. This two-step process is ideal for folding thousands of extremely thick sheets of paper a day.

None of these folding methods is completely fool proof, so I recommend if there is any doubt to send in samples for testing prior to purchasing a machine. This way we can guarantee the machine you are purchasing will work with the paper you are using. If you have questions about your paper, and the best machine to fold it, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. We have a lot of experience with folding thick card stock and can probably help point you in the right direction.

Thank you for reading this article. If you have your own experience or feedback you’d like to share, please post it as a “comment.” We would love to hear from you.

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Martin Yale 1611 AutoFolder Paper Folding Machine Review

Posted by: Office Zone on April 24th, 2013

Martin Yale 1611 AutoFolder Paper Folding MachineWhen shopping around for a paper folding machine, I have found that many customer expect to pay upwards of thousands of dollars to get a good machine. While there are many excellent machine hovering around that price range, one often overlooked model that can handle a remarkably high volume of paper is the Martin Yale 1611 paper folding machine (found here). I have personally used this machine out on our showroom floor and would like to offer some of my own personal observations and thoughts in this article.

Martin Yale makes a lot of paper folding machines and other pieces of office equipment. Products from Martin Yale are hit and miss in my book. Some products are masterful pieces of engineering genius, while others (like the 1501X & 1217A) make me want to bang my head against a wall. Luckily the 1611 (and the automated 1711) utilize newer technology and seem to have ironed out many bugs.

So what is the Martin Yale 1611 (known as the 1611 Ease-of-Use AutoFolder)? It is a friction feed paper folding machine. This means it uses rubber rollers to grab and pull paper into the machine via friction. This system is the most common used in office equipment. While it is extremely effective, its biggest shortcoming is in use with slick, glossy and coated paper. Because the surfaces of these types of paper are slippery, friction wheels can choke on them creating a significant jam. My advice? Try to stick with non-glossy paper when using this machine.

This is a manual setup paper folding machine, meaning the folds have to be manually adjusted by you. This is done by adjusting two folding plates. One of the plates is located under the feed tray and the other above the exit tray. Martin Yale does a pretty good job of indicating where the folding plates need to be adjusted. I have found that it only takes me a few seconds to adjust each. If the fold isn’t exact, or is a little off skew, you may need to go back to the plates and make some fine tuned adjustments.

The Martin Yale 1611 can handle paper ranging in size from 3 ½” x 5″ up to 8 ½” x 14″. Most people use this with standard letter-size paper, although it can create folds with legal size paper. The feed tray on this machine holds up to 150 sheets of paper (based on 20# bond paper). The motor used to pull in and fold the paper runs at a speed of 9,000 sheets per hour, although I don’t recommend you run it like this for hours on end. I recommend using this machine for a few hundred to a few thousand sheets a day.

You can create all of the most common folds with this machine. I tried out the Z fold (aka accordion) and the C fold (aka letter fold) without a problem. It can also be used to create a half fold, right angle fold, double parallel fold and can create variations of these by tweaking the folding plates. As the paper is folded, it drops out onto a powered exit conveyor with a stacking roller. This system helps keep the folded paper organized as it leaves the machine.

One feature that I feel sets this machine apart from much of the competition is the inclusion of a multi-sheet bypass tray. On the top of the machine, you can manually insert up to 5 sheets of paper at a time (based on standard copy paper) for multi sheet folding. While the multiple sheets do have to be manually fed, it is a fast process and the results turn out quite well.

While not necessarily an important part of the operation of the machine, I have to admit that this is one of the nicer and more modern looking folding machines we offer. It features nice rounded curves with a black / gray design. Overall I consider this a great value for the money. As of this article, this machine is less than a thousand dollars and it really does fit in nicely in an office environment. I recommend this for use with businesses, schools and churches.

If you have any questions about the Martin Yale 1611 AutoFolder, please give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. You can find the Martin Yale 1611 here and our entire selection of paper folding machines here.

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3:1 Pitch Twin Loop Wire Binding Supplies Are Most Popular

Posted by: Office Zone on April 17th, 2013

Wire Binding SuppliesWire binding is easily one of the most popular binding formats used throughout the world for binding reports, books and presentations. There are a lot of reasons for this including the quality of real metal, the fascinating deign of the twin loops and the variety of colors and sizes available. To date, there are three different “pitches” of wire binding supplies available (all found here). Of these, the 3:1 pitch remains the most popular. Why is this? I would like to address that question in this article.

Before I dig too deep into why 3:1 pitch wire is so popular, I would like to address exactly what the pitch is. The pitch is a word used by the industry to describe the hole pattern. This applies to most binding formats. In the case of wire, a 3:1 pitch is used to describe a hole pattern that consists of 3 holes per inch of paper. A 2:1 pitch is two holes per inch and Spiral-O wire uses a comb binding 19-hole pattern.

3:1 Pitch Wire Binding PatternNow that we have covered the pitch, I would like to explain exactly what wire binding is. Wire binding is literally made out of metal wire. It is made from a long single piece of wire that is bent into a pattern that consists of two parallel loops of rounded wire that are inserted into every wire punched hole. This wire is then bent closed by a wire binding machine, preventing the wire from slipping back out.

2:1 Pitch Wire Binding SuppliesUsually the back page is placed on the front of the document during the wire insertion and closing process and is then flipped around to the back after the wire is closed. This helps hide the open seam of the close wire and gives the look and impression that the twin loop wires are free floating. This look is very classy and is a huge reason why wire binding is so popular with businesses for binding presentations and reports.

At ABC Office we sell 3:1 pitch, 2:1 pitch and Spiral-O wire binding machines (found here http://www.officezone.com/wire1.htm). Of the machines we offer, over 90% of them are in a 3:1 pitch pattern. So why is this? How did 3:1 pitch gain so much popularity over the 2:1 pitch competition? There are a few reasons for this, and businesses played a big roll in making this happen.

It all boils down to the look of the finished product. A 3:1 pitch wire has more holes per inch than 2:1 pitch wire. As a result, the wire loops are closer together with 3:1 pitch. Businesses like the added stability of more wires and the “tighter” look that the 3:1 pitch wire has. Because of this, businesses almost always buy 3:1 pitch wire binding machines.

The only real downside of 3:1 pitch wire over 2:1 pitch is that it can’t binding as much paper at a time. The increase of holes and wire causes pages to bind if the book becomes too thick (over an inch). If you need to bind more than ¾” of paper at a time with wire, you will need to use a 2:1 pitch wire.

Finally, which hole shape is most popular? You can buy wire binding machines with round or square punched holes. Years ago both were fairly common, but today almost all of the machines punch using square holes. It was determined, with years of use, that pages turned better on a square-punched hole over a round-punched hole.

If you still have questions about twin loop wire binding, either in a 3:1 or 2:1 pitch, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. We literally have decades of experience with these machines and can help answer any question you might have. You can find our entire selection of wire binding supplies here and wire binding machines here.

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Creating Your Own Restaurant Menus? Here Are Some Tips

Posted by: Office Zone on April 12th, 2013

Restaurant menus come in all shapes and sizes. Some businesses go with something simple like a “to go” menu, where others go all out. Some simply laminate a sheet of paper and put the menu on both sides. At Office Zone we offer a wide assortment of tools (found here) that can help you crate your own in-house menu that will look professional and give you control over how it looks. Here are a few products that we offer that you may want to consider using.

Types of Restaurant Menus

LAMINATORS

One of the most common tools you will find in the restaurant trade for creating a menu is a laminator. Why is this? Because laminators provide a protective barrier that is scratch, wrinkle and moisture proof. This is ideal, especially since a menu can be re-used over and over throughout the day. You don’t want to be creating a new menu on a daily basis…right? Here are some tools our customers like to use for laminating their menus:

Intelli-Lam IL400 Pouch LaminatorPouch Laminators – The pouch laminator is the perfect tool for laminating a menu. Most of our customers use either letter-size laminating pouches or menu-size laminating pouches (found here). If you are using the larger 12″ x 18″ menu-size pouches, I recommend you use a laminator that is at least 13″ wide. This provides ample room for laminating and also gives you room in case the pouch isn’t fed in perfectly straight.

Here are two menu laminators I recommend using:

  • Intelli-Lam IL400 (found here) – This laminator is both affordable and durable. It features a 13″ wide laminating width and four rollers for added quality.
  • Akiles iLam 340 (found here) – Akiles makes great products and the iLam 340 is a great example. This laminator has a 13″ laminating width and comes equipped with everything you need to laminate menus.

PAPER FOLDING MACHINES

Many people like to give menus to customers to take home. This makes sense. I personally have menus at home for various restaurants around the community. Sometimes it is easier to simply break out a menu at home and place an order than try to look it up online. Paper folding machines can be used with letter-size or 11″ x 17″ to 12″ x 18″ paper, depending on the machine. Paper folding machines can also create some really cool and unique folds.

Over the years, I have found that restaurants like to use three primary types of folds with their menus. These are the half fold, the letter fold and the gate fold. Here are some images representing the three folds:

Common Restaurant Menu Folds

So which machine should you use? It really all depends on the size of paper, thickness of paper and volume of paper you are using. I would like to recommend two machines for folding menus:

  • Intelli-Fold DE-172AF Paper Folding MachineIntelli-Fold DE-112AF Paper Folder (found here) – This machine is excellent for folding standard letter-size paper. It is affordable, yet versatile enough to create most of the folds that you will need. It can even be used to create a gate fold, which looks great with a menu.
  • Intelli-Fold DE-172AF Paper Folder (found here) – If you are folding larger sheets of paper, you may want to use a machine like this. The DE-172AF can be used with paper up to 11″ x 17″ in size. It can also be set up to create a letter, half or gate fold.

PAPER CUTTERS

The last item you may want to consider using for your in-house menu creation is a paper cutter. These can be used to trim down your menus, cut off excess lamination film and much more. There are three main types of paper cutters you may want to consider using when making menus.

  • Rotary Paper CuttersRotary Paper Cutters (found here) – These cutters use a round cutting wheel that is ideal for precision cutting. These cutters are generally used for trimming a few sheets of paper at a time and are excellent for trimming off excess lamination, photos, paper and more.
  • Guillotine Paper Cutters (found here) – These are very similar to the arm cutters you may have seen in school as a kid. They feature a long pivoting blade attached to a base. These cutters, especially those by Kutrimmer, are excellent for cutting several sheets of paper at once. Unlike cutters of the past, these ones produce remarkably straight cuts.
  • Stack Paper Cutters (found here) – These are the cutters you need if you are trimming down hundreds of menus at the same time. They are especially good if you are cutting a large stack of letter-size or menu-size documents in half or simply trimming around the edges.

Hopefully this helps you in your search to find machines for creating in-house menus. We have years of experience doing this, so please feel free to call us at 1-800-543-5454 with any question.