Archive for the 'Paper Folding Machines' Category


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.


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.


Friction Feed or Air Feed Paper Folding Machine?

Posted by: Office Zone on January 30th, 2013

Paper Folding MachinesPaper folding machines (found here) are used by thousands of businesses to quickly fold letters, invoices, bills and other paperwork. These useful machines come in several different designs, depending on what is being folded. Regardless of the machine you purchase, it will use one of two feeding mechanisms; these being friction feed (found here) and air feed (found here). I would like to cover the two feeding methods and help you determine which is best for you.

I have personally used both feeding systems. They are both very easy to set up and are both easy to use. Friction feed is by far the most common you will find in use, but air feed still play a critical role with printing presses, printers and others who fold a lot of paper. Here is a basic definition of what each feeding system does:

Friction Feed – Friction feed paper folding machines use rubber wheels to pull paper into the machine for folding. The friction of the rubber wheel against the surface of the paper is what actually causes the paper to be pulled in. These wheels are usually centered on the middle of the paper. Friction wheels can range from one to three, depending on the design of the paper folding machine.

Because friction is the primary source of pulling the paper into the machine, these machines are not ideal for use with slick, glossy or coated paper. This is because the friction wheel will slip on the paper, much like a car tire on snow. This can result in a misfeed or a bad paper jam. If you would still like a friction-feed machine, and you are using coated paper, I recommend you send in a sample for testing.

Air Feed – Air feed machines use a pneumatic suction system to pull paper in for folding. As the air suction feeding system grabs the paper, it quickly pulls it in for folding. The air suction system used easily grabs standard, glossy, coated or slick paper. This makes air feed paper folding machines universally compatible with just about any paper surface. These machines are typically used for high-end industrial or commercial folding use or in businesses that need to fold thousands of pieces of mail per day. Most air-feed machines include their own pneumatic system and do not require the use of a separate air compressor.


Can a friction feed machine ever be used with glossy paper? Most friction feed machines do not handle slick or glossy paper well. For this reason, I generally recommend customers use an air-feed machine. Some of our manufacturers do have friction machines that can be used with some types of coated paper, but I recommend testing samples prior to purchasing a machine.

If air-feed machines are compatible with so many different types of paper, why aren’t all folding machines air feed? There are a few reasons for this. To begin with, air-feed machines are larger due to the technology used. This means they are not ideal for desktop use. They also cost more to buy and they typically generate more noise than a standard friction feed machine.

Which technology is better for folding invoices? A lot of it depends on the type of paper being used and how many sheets of paper you are folding per day. Friction feed machines are good for folding hundreds to thousands of sheets per day (depending on the model), where air feed machines are ideal for thousands to tens of thousands a day.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. We have years of experience with these machines and would be more than happy to help answer your questions. You can find our entire selection of paper folding machines here. Thank you for reading.


Intelli-Fold DE-172AF Paper Folding Machine Review

Posted by: Office Zone on December 28th, 2012

DE-172AF Paper Folding MachineIf your business folds hundreds to thousands of sheets of paper per day, you may want to consider buying a paper folding machine. These machines can be used to fold invoices, letters, brochures, pamphlets and much more. One machine that our customers enjoy using is the Intelli-Fold DE-172AF paper folder by Intelli-Zone (found here). I have had the opportunity to use this machine on several occasions and this is my review.

The Intelli-Fold is an upgraded version of the Intelli-Fold DE-202AF (including the Dynafold DE-202AF). While the DE-202AF is a solid machine, the DE-172AF has a few upgraded features. This includes sensors that let you know when the folding plates aren’t properly seated, when the cover isn’t closed and when the paper is out. It also includes a powered exit conveyor with a set of stacking wheels.

The added sensors are a nice addition because one of the most common culprits for a paper folding machine jam is improperly seated folding plates. Any gap or incorrect clearance in the plates can results in a fairly serious paper jam.

The inclusion of a powered exit conveyor helps bring order to the paper folding process. Many folding machines have a basic catch tray. While this works, it can lead to the paper becoming disorganized and jumbled. The conveyor, along with the stacking wheels, help slow the paper down as it leaves the machine and keeps it organized and stacked. This is excellent for organizational purposes and helps keep invoices, bills and other documents in order.

The DE-172AF utilizes a high-speed motor that folds paper at a speed of up to 6,000 sheets per hour. While it is not recommended to run this machine at full speed for hours on end, it is fast. It also features a variable speed motor. This allows it to more easily handle various paper thicknesses and adds an extra degree of control to the operator. The DE-172AF can be used with paper ranging in thickness from 16# bond up to 50# index.

The feed tray on this machine holds up to 500 sheets of standard 20# bond paper. What I appreciate is that you don’t have to pre-fan the paper. Simply press down on the spring loaded tray (paper squared up) and the machine will automatically begin pulling one sheet at a time from the top of the stack. The feed system works very well. A total of three rollers help ensure the paper is pulled in straight for more accurate folds.

I have personally set up this machine and would say it takes about 2-3 minutes to properly set up. Once set, no further adjustments are needed unless a different paper size is used. The DE-172AF can use paper ranging in size from 3.5″ x 5″ up to 11″ x 17″. All you need to do is find the sheet size you are folding on the two folding plates, determine the type of fold you need to create and adjust the folding plates accordingly. The process is very simple. If the paper seems to be slightly off skew, I recommend either re-aligning the paper guides or making fine-tuned adjustments to the folding plates.

Overall I highly recommend this machine. It is a great fit for small businesses, medium-size businesses, church, school or copy shop. It is easy to use, our customers tell us it is very reliable and it is priced right. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454 with any questions you may have about the Intelli-Fold DE-172AF. You can find our entire selection of paper folding machines here.