Archive for the 'Tips and Suggestions' Category


Does Your Coil Binding Machine Need an Inserter?

Posted by: James on May 21st, 2013

Coil Binding Machine With Electric Coil InserterCoil binding is the most popular method used to bind booklets, presentations and reports. It looks great, is very professional and has many benefits the other binding formats simply can’t offer. If you’ve been shopping around for a coil binding machine (found here), you may have discovered that some include an electric inserter and others do not. So, do you really need to have an inserter on your coil binding machine? I’ll cover the answer to that in this article.

As mentioned above, coil binding is hugely popular right now. Machines are now cheap enough that every day people can afford them. It isn’t uncommon for use to sell a machine to someone for home use. These machines can bind car manuals, cookbooks, college reports, scrapbooks and more. One of the biggest advantages of coil is that pages can lay entirely flat on a table and can even be wrapped around a complete 360 degrees for extremely easy reading.

The coils themselves, often called spirals, have changed over the past decade as well. Years ago coil binding, aka spiral binding, involved metal wire. This became problematic, however, because the coils would bend, stretch and simply didn’t hold up. While you can still buy “spiral notebooks” with wire at the store, coil binding now utilizes PVC coils. These coils are superior in every way to wire. They are nearly indestructible and come in a wide variety of colors.

Electric inserters are a part of the coil insertion process. Once you have punched holes in your paper, you typically insert the coil through the first three or four holes and then put the coil up next to the inserter, where it then spins the coil the rest of the way through. Coil inserters can insert coil in just a matter of seconds. Once the coil is inserted, the excess can then be cut off and crimped using coil crimping pliers.

Akiles CoilMac-M Coil Binding Machine Without InserterSo do you really need an inserter? The answer is no. You don’t need to have one. Some machines, like the Akiles CoilMac-M (found here), don’t have inserters. They are designed to have you manually insert the coils through the holes. These machines typically cost less than those that have a built-in electric inserter. The biggest determining factor on whether you need an electric inserter or not is time. Manually inserting coils through the holes is anywhere from 3-5 times longer than using an electric inserter (depending on the operator).

I have found over the past few years that more and more machines are being built with the inserter than without. Many machines now also include coil crimping pliers. My advice is if you find two machines that are the same price, but one has an inserter an the other does not, go with the model that includes the inserter. The inserter is simply more convenient and faster to use. If you already have a machine, but would like an inserter, independent coil inserters (found here) are available.

Years ago, if you were only binding a few books per day, I would have recommended a coil binding machine without an inserter. Many brands, like Intelli-Bind, now include inserters on even their cheapest machines. If you are only binding a few books a day, consider an Intelli-Bind IC110 or an IC210, both of which are affordable and include coil inserters.

If you still have questions about coil binding machines or their inserters, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. We are the leading experts on the subject and would love to help you out. You can find our entire selection of coil binding machines here.


Creating Your Own Restaurant Menus? Here Are Some Tips

Posted by: James 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


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.


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.


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.


Intelli-Cut Paper Cutting Sticks FAQ

Posted by: James on November 29th, 2012

Intelli-Cut Stack Paper CutterWe recently had a customer that was trying to track down some cutting sticks (found here) for their Intelli-Cut stack paper cutter (found here). What was odd is they seemed to be burning through these things quickly. A cutting stick, which is a type of plastic stick that the cutting blade touches when completing a cut, typically last a long time before it even needs to be rotated let alone replaced. After asking a few questions, I figured out what they were doing.

It ends up the customer didn’t realize that a cutting stick can be rotated. In fact, they didn’t realize this, but a cutting stick can be rotated a total of eight times. This is because the stack paper cutters are designed not to cut into the middle of the stick, but off to the side. This allows you to rotate the stick four times and then turn the cutting stick around and use it four more times. This means a single cutting stick should easily be able to last for months without needing to be changed.

Here is a diagram showing where the blade typically rests in the cutting stick:

Stack Paper Cutter Cutting Stick Rotation Diagram

As you can see from the diagram, you can get a lot of use out of a cutting stick. Changing cutting sticks on Intelli-Cut, Triumph and Dahle stack cutters is very easy. The Intelli-Cut and Triumph stack cutters have a hole on the side of the cutter where you simply pull out the stick and insert a new one. This makes removal, replacement and rotation extremely easy..

So how do you know when your cutting stick needs to be rotated? As a stack cutter makes repeated cuts, the blade rests in the cutting stick. This is designed to protect the blade, maintain a sharp edge and to cut through all the sheets of paper. When a cutting stick begins to be worn, you will often notice that the last page or two will not cut all the way through.

Stack paper cutters are amazing machines. They can be used to cut down stacks of paper, card stock and much more. Some can cut up to as much as 3″ of paper in a single pass. At Office Zone, we have a lot of experience with stack paper cutters, cutting sticks and paper cutter maintenance. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-543-5454. You can find our entire selection of stack paper cutters here.

We are also able to perform repairs and find replacement parts for Dahle, Intelli-Cut, Triumph, Standard and Martin Yale stack cutters. This includes replacement blades, electronics, safety guards and much more. You can contact our service department by calling 1-800-543-5454 x129 or by filling out this form.


Dahle or Kutrimmer – Which Guillotine Trimmer Should You Use?

Posted by: James on November 12th, 2012

Guillotine Paper CuttersWhen it comes to guillotine paper trimmers (found here), there are two main brands you should consider using; these are Dahle and Kutrimmer. Both brands have been around for years and both implement high-quality German technology into their products. So which of these two brands should you consider purchasing? Dahle or Kutrimmer.

If you were to ask me ten years ago which of these brands I would consider purchasing, I would have answered Kutrimmer hands down. This isn’t because Dahle was junk, but because Kutrimmer was so much better. Kutrimmer has remained the industry standard, but Dahle has gone to great lengths to re-design and improve their current tabletop trimmer lineup.

Here are some features that I really like about both:

  • Safety – Both Kutrimmer and Dahle have implemented safety technology into their guillotines to prevent personal injury. Kutrimmer uses a Plexiglas guard to prevent fingers from accidentally touching the blade. Dahle uses a corkscrew-like guard that wraps around the blade as the blade moves. It is very unique and pretty cool to see in person. I would consider both cutters to be equally safe even though they both use different technologies. Here is a picture of the two safety measures side-by-side.

Kutrimmer & Dahle Safety Features

  • Blade Quality – Both cutters use razor-sharp German Solingen steel in their cutter blades. Solingen steel is considered to be the best steel available for knives, blades and cutters. The blade holds its edge. I would say the blades on both machines are of similar quality and are both similarly effective.
  • Cutter Quality – The cutters themselves are both made from durable metal components and they both do a great job of cutting down paper, card stock, laminated documents and more. I would probably give Kutrimmer a slight edge up on this one, but not by much.
  • Clamping – Both Dahle and Kutrimmer typically incorporate some sort of clamping mechanism to help prevent paper shift during cutting. This helps to keep lines straight and accurate. I think both brands of cutters use equally effective clamping mechanisms.
  • Setup and Operation – Both of these brands are easy to set up, both usually feature measurements for paper alignment and both usually have printed on the base common cutting patterns. Both usually have some sort of guide or backstop for paper alignment. I would say they are both equally as easy to set up and align for cuts.
  • Additional Features – One thing I really like about Kutrimmer that Dahle has not implemented on their cutters as of this article is a red optical cutting line. The cutting line makes it easy to see exactly where the blade is going to fall, making setting up the cutter extremely easy.

In conclusion, I would have to say that both Dahle and Kutrimmer make some great guillotine / tabletop paper cutters & trimmers. I still give Kutrimmer a slight edge, but Dahle is an excellent second choice. If the Dahle is cheaper in price, go for it. You won’t regret it.

Please feel free to speak with us at 1-800-543-5454 about any of our guillotine paper cutters our trimmers. You can find our entire selection of both Dahle and Kutrimmer guillotines here.


Plastic Coil Binding Machines – Best for You?

Posted by: James on September 16th, 2011

Coil Binding MachinesIf you’re shopping around for a coil binding machine, you may want to take a look at a coil binding machine. Why? There are a lot of reasons why I consider coil binding to be one of the most superior book binding formats out there. Before I explain why I personally like coil binding, let me go over exactly what makes up a coil binding machine.

Coil binding machines, frequently called spiral binding machines, use a special plastic PVC coil to bind and hold sheets of paper together. This binding format is very similar in appearance to the lined spiral notebooks you can buy at the store for school purposes. The only difference is that PVC coil binding is available in multiple colors and doesn’t easily bend or break.

Coil binding comes in two different hole patterns, commonly referred to as the pitch. These are 4:1 pitch and 5:1 pitch. A 4:1 pitch is 4 holes per inch, which ends up being about 44 holes along an 11″ side of paper. A 5:1 pitch is 5 holes per inch and ends up being about 55 holes along the 11″ side of a sheet of paper. Between these two hole patterns, I find 4:1 pitch to be more popular. This is because it can be used to bind more sheets of paper.

Coil Binding Pitches4:1 Pitch Capacity: 2 to 230 sheets of paper (1/4″ to 1 1/4″ of paper)

5:1 Pitch Capacity: 2 to 152 sheets of paper (1/4″ to 13/16″ of paper)

The binding format you use ultimately depends on your own personal preference. I personally like both. A 4:1 pitch has a more spaced look where 5:1 pitch has a tighter look. Both can be used to bind reports, presentations and books. You will find, however, that 4:1 pitch coil supplies are more readily available online and locally.

A few binding machines I personally like include:

  1. Akiles iCoil 41 Coil Binding Machine
  2. Intelli-Bind IC310 Coil Binding Machine
  3. Intelli-Bind IC410 Coil Binding Machine
  4. Akiles CoilMac ER Coil Binding Machine
  5. Akiles CoilMac-ECI Coil Binding Machine

These machines are all manual punch machines with an electric coil inserter. I personally think an electric coil inserter is a must-have accessory on a coil binding machine. Some entry-level machines don’t include an inserter, which means you will have to manually spin coils through the punched holes.

I really like coil binding because the spines look nice, the pages turn easily and pages can even be wrapped a full 360 degrees. I have used cookbooks bound in coil and I love the face that the pages wrap around and the books even lay flat for easy reading.

Coil binding is available in a wide variety of colors and diameters. If you need to bind books smaller than 11″, you simply cut off a little more coil when crimping the ends of the coil closed. It is simply a very versatile binding format. Here is a vide demo of a coil binding machine in use:

As you can see from this video, coil binding a book takes just a minute or so. It is easy to do, the machines typically hold up well and they can be used at home, in the office, at a school or in a church. Coil binding is both function and professional.

Did I mention that coil binding is extremely durable? You can drop coil bound books, step on them, stack other books on them and the coil will retain its look. The same can’t be said for comb binding or wire binding.

You can find Office Zone’s entire selection of coil binding machines here, coil binding supplies here and binding covers here.

Happy binding!


Best Paper Cutter or Trimmer for the Job

Posted by: James on September 16th, 2011

Rotary Paper CutterIf you’re shopping around for a paper cutter, you may be thinking, “which of these models should I choose?” There are hundreds of different paper cutters out there from literally dozens of different brands. So which paper cutter should you go with? I will explain some of the most common paper cutting projects, the best paper cutters to use and the pros and cons of each style of cutter.

To begin with, there are 3 main types of paper cutters. There are divisions within those categories, but most people categorize paper cutters as:

I’ll go into more detail in this article what each of these paper cutter types are and what they are used for.

The term paper cutter and paper trimmer are often used interchangeably. Most industry experts, however, consider trimmers to be light-volume machines and paper cutters to be medium to higher-volume machines.

What do most people cut? Having spoken to thousands of customers, most people want to cut paper, photographs, card stock, business cards and laminated materials. Here is the paper cutter you may want for each of these projects:

  • Photos / Photographs – If you are cutting photos, I generally like to steer people towards rotary paper trimmers like those made by Rotatrim, Dahle or Carl. They are precise, excellent for alignment and are affordable for photographers and scrapbookers alike. If you are looking for a multi-purpose cutter that can also handle photos, you may want to consider using a guilllotine paper cutter.
  • Card Stock – If you are cutting down dozens to hundreds of sheets of card stock, I recommend using a stack paper cutter. These amazing cutters are capable of cutting entire reams of paper, with some even capable of cutting up to 3″ of card stock at a time. If you are only cutting a few at a time, I recommend to first consider a guillotine paper cutter and then a rotary paper trimmer.
  • Business Cards – I first and foremost recommend using a business card cutter. These cutters are designed to cut standard 3.5″ x 2″ cards. Simply print your cards and run them through one of these handy machines. If you are cutting non-standard size business cads, or need to cut hundreds to thousands of them, I recommend using a stack paper cutter. In a few passes, a stack paper cutter can create thousands of cards.
  • Laminated Paper – If you are cutting out menus, signs, ID badges or other laminated paper, I recommend using a rotary paper cutter like those made by Dahle or Rotatrim. These trimmers are designed for precision, and thanks to self-sharpening blades, the lamination film does not easily dull them. If you also need to cut card stock, chipboard and other material, a guillotine paper trimmer also does a great job.

Now that we have covered some of the most common uses of paper cutters, let me go over the pros and cons of each style of paper cutter.

  • Rotary Paper CuttersRotary Paper Cutters – These cutters are extremely precise, which is why they are so popular for cutting photographs, art prints and artwork in general. They are also great for cutting paper, cover stock, laminated material and much more. The only downside to rotary paper cutters (aka rolling paper trimmers) is that they don’t usually have the cutting capacity of guillotine or stack cutters.
  • Guillotine Paper CuttersGuillotine Paper Cutters – Guillotine paper trimmers are one of the most common style of trimmers used in schools and copy centers. Many of the older guillotine trimmers cut crooked and were a little dangerous. Modern guillotine trimmers have excellent paper clamps, razor sharp blades and are chuck full of safety features. Simply put, guillotine paper cutters are the best rounded machines out there.
  • Stack Paper CuttersStack Paper Cutters – Stack paper cutters are available in manual, electric and hydraulic designs. The are designed for high-capacity and heavy-volume cutting. You will often see these cutters in print shops, copy centers and other locations where hundreds of sheets of paper need to be cut at a time. These workhorses are great for cutting a lot of paper, but are not the best machines for cutting a single sheet or a few sheets of paper.

Hopefully this helps you determine which cutter is best for you. We have over 30 years of experience with paper cutters and trimmers, so feel free to call us at 1-800-543-5454 for advice on the right paper cutter for you. You can find Office Zone’s entire selection of paper cutters here.


How Does an Envelope Stuffing Machine Work?

Posted by: James on September 15th, 2011

Envelope Stuffing MachinesRemember that Seinfeld episode where George’s fiancé died from licking envelopes? Here untimely demise could have been averted had she just used an envelope stuffing machine instead of licking them herself. Envelope stuffing machines tend to be cost prohibitive for casual home or wedding use, but they are a must have for businesses that send out large volumes of correspondence.

Envelope stuffing machines do exactly what they sound like. They insert correspondence, such as documents, letters, invoices, remittance, statements and even wedding invites that have been folded into an envelope. Most of the higher quality envelope stuffing machines will perform a combination of tasks, such as folding the sheets of paper, stuffing the envelope and then sealing the envelope for mailing.

When considering which envelops stuffing machine to purchase, remember that not all envelopes are compatible with an envelope stuffing machine. Some envelope stuffing machines are only compatible with standard business style envelopes. Higher end envelope stuffing machines are able to accommodate manila and side open envelopes.

Envelope stuffing machines are mostly automated, and require minimal user effort or supervision. They can run from start to finish on their own. Although features and settings may vary from model to model, envelope stuffing machines all work using the same steps.

The envelope stuffing machine operator begins by adjusting the settings on the machine to match the paper and envelop size, as well setting the fold style for the paper. Most combination folder and envelope stuffing machine are preset with all the standard folds, (V-Fold, Letter Fold, Z Fold, Gate Fold, etc.), and a few customized folds.

Envelope Stuffing Machine EnvelopesThe operator will then place the envelopes to be stuffed into the envelope tray and the paper to be inserted into the hopper, or feed tray. How many sheets a hopper can hold will depend on the size of the machine, itself. Some envelope stuffing machines have one hopper, while higher end machines will have multiple hoppers, sometimes as many as seven, for larger envelope stuffing jobs. Envelope stuffing machines with multiple feed trays or hoppers accommodate larger jobs can hold as many as 325 sheets each and the envelope tray holds up to 250 envelopes at a time. These machines are used for folding and stuffing correspondence with multiple pages into one envelope. Envelope stuffing machines with multiple feed trays are also useful for inserting return envelopes, inserts, buck slips and more. Envelope stuffing machines have a range of being about to stuff 1,350 sheets of paper per hour in entry level machines to high performance machines that can fold and stuff 4,300 sheets per hour.

The operator then turns on the machines and observes while the machine does the rest. The friction rollers feed the sheets of paper into the machine where the fold plates crease the sheets into the desired fold. The friction rollers then feed the folded sheets into the envelopes loaded in the machine. The machine folds the envelope flap down to close the envelope, applies moisture to the sealing glue on the envelope, and then applies pressure to seal the envelope. The envelope stuffing machine then releases the sealed envelope into a catch bin. Please note that friction rollers are not compatible with glossy paper. If you need an envelope stuffing machines to fold and insert glossy paper then you’ll need to purchase a suction-fed envelope stuffing machine instead. Envelope stuffing machines are able to fold and stuff hundreds of sheets of paper per hour into hundreds of envelopes.

There are some manufacturers that make better envelope stuffing machines than others. Formax is one of the foremost brands of envelope stuffing machines on the market. Along with producing exceptional products, Formax has exceptional customer service. Their envelope stuffing machines and other office machines have a high user satisfaction track record. You can find Office Zone’s entire selection of Formax envelope stuffing machines here.


Best Shredders Under $100

Posted by: James on September 15th, 2011

Fellowes P-35C Cross Cut Paper ShredderSome businesses believe that they need to invest hundreds of dollars in a paper shredder for their company. While this may be the case for some companies, it isn’t the case for all. There are several good paper shredders that can be purchased for under $100. It doesn’t make sense to spend $1000 on a paper shredder if you don’t require the unique features on a high-end paper shredder. Before purchasing any shredder, you should remember some key considerations.

What is your security level? Not every company has papers containing sensitive information that need to be shredded into tiny bits of confetti. And even among those that do, it is not necessary to have a high security paper shredder at every desk or in every office. Many companies will keep their high security shredder in a central location, and will have standard cross cut or strip cut paper shredder for general use.

The volume of use is another good consideration. If you’re only shredding dozens or even hundreds sheets of paper in a day, then a $100 or less shredder will be more cost effective than a high volume paper shredder that can shred thousands of pages a day. The amount of paper that a paper shredder can destroy at a time is also something to consider. If you shred documents that are six pages or less, then spending $100 on a low volume paper shredder makes more sense than spending $800 on a shredder that can destroy 2—30 page documents.

Here are four of the best paper shredders for under $100.

  1. GBC SC032 Paper Shredder – The SC032 Paper Shredder by GBC is available for $58.69. It is a desk side paper shredder that is perfect for light office or home use. The SC032 Paper Shredder is a low-volume strip cut style shredder that can shred six sheets of paper at a time. The blades can handle shredding any standard-size paper, and can even handle destroying plastic cards, like expired credit cards or ID cards.  The SC032 Paper Shredder has a four-gallon bin, which is a good size shred bin that does not need to be emptied often depending on your shredder usage. The GBC SC032 Paper Shredder is easy to use and requires minimal maintenance.
  2. Fellowes P-35C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder – The P-35C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder by Fellowes can be purchased for $65. Fellowes has a reputation for high performance and durable office equipment, so this is a real deal.  The P-35C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder is cross-cut style low volume paper shredder that can shred up to 5 sheets of paper into tiny 5/32″ x 1-1/2″ particles. So it is a good choice for people that want added security at a bargain price. The P-35C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder has a compact design, so it will fit easily at a desk in a business or home office.
  3. Fellowes W-11C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder – The W-11C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder by Fellowes retails at $83. This is a paper shredder for under $100 that is designed for more rugged home office or business office use. The W-11C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder has a 9 inch shred opening that can handle shredding 11 sheets of paper at a time. This cross-cut paper shredder has a Level 3 security ranking, which means the shred particles are smaller than lower level printers. This will appeal to those who are concerned with protecting their or their clients’ private information.
  4. HSM Compact Multishred Shredder – The Compact Multishred Shredder by HSM can be purchased for $93, and is the most versatile shredder that can be purchased for under $100. The Compact Multishred Shredder is a cross-cut shredder that can destroy 8 sheet stacks of paper with each pass. It is a Level 3 security shredder that is able to turn paper and also thin plastics into tiny bits. This includes laminated sheets of paper, floppy disks (assuming you’re still using them), credit cards, and ID cards. It’s compact design makes it ideal for individual use at home or at the office.

Each of these quality paper shredders can be purchased at You can find Office Zone’s entire line of paper shredders here.


Types of Counterfeit Detection and What You Need

Posted by: James on September 15th, 2011

Counterfeit Bill DetectorsCounterfeiters are clever and are always looking for ways to work the system. While the US government is always looking for newer and more clever ways to battle counterfeit money, you should still be on guard. Criminals that counterfeit money are often clever, using the latest in technology to produce near-perfect duplications. Luckily there are several methods of catching counterfeit bills. I will discuss a few of those methods in this article.

One of the best ways to combat counterfeit money is by using a counterfeit bill detector. There are literally dozens available. The model you use will depend on a lot of factors.

  • Bill Counter with Counterfeit DetectionSpeed – If speed isn’t an issue, you may be able to use most of the machines out there. If you need to scan a bill on the fly, you may need a machine capable of detecting counterfeit bills in just seconds.
  • Quantity – If you need to scan hundreds to even thousands of bills in a day, you probably aren’t going to need a handheld scanner. You are probably going to need a high-speed bill counter with counterfeit detection capabilities.
  • Location – Where do you need to use you bill counter? Is an outlet available? While most counterfeit bill detectors are portable, not all can run on batteries. If you aren’t going to be near an outlet, I highly recommend using a battery-powered machine. Some can use both an outlet and batteries.
  • Lighting – Some of the more manual counterfeit detectors will only work indoors. Sunlight can often make it difficult to visually inspect the results of a counterfeit bill detector.

Now that you have answered these questions, you may want to familiarize yourself with the different types of counterfeit detection technology.

  • UV – UV scanners use ultraviolet light to detect the UV strip found in legal U.S. currency. This strip will light green / yellow under a UV light. This is one of the most common and popular counterfeit detection methods used today.
  • MG – MG (magnetic) detectors are able to scan the magnetic properties of ink used in legal bills. This may be done automatically or may require you to physically rub the bill over a sensor, depending on the machine being used. Magnetic detection is also one of the most common counterfeit detection methods used today.
  • WM – WM detection (watermark) is essentially a backlight that allows you to see watermark properties in bills. Most US bills incorporate a watermark face. While you can hold a bill up to a light to get the same results, the power of the light may affect the outcome. WM detectors use bright white light, which leaves little room for error.
  • Size Detection – Many modern bill detectors can detect whether or not a US bill is the right size or not. While this method isn’t going to detect everything, it is an excellent extra layer of protection.
  • Magnifying Glass – Many stand-alone counterfeit detectors have a magnifying glass that makes it easy to read micro text and other microscopic features incorporated into legitimate US tender.
  • Pen – The pen used to be one of the most popular counterfeit detection method used. Ink in the pen would react with starch found in standard paper, causing a visible reaction. While this is still a good way to catch many counterfeit bills, it won’t catch everything out there.

This is an example of a standard desktop counterfeit money detector:

These are by far the most common counterfeit detection methods used today. At Office Zone we carry a great selection of counterfeit bill detectors (found here) and an excellent selection of bill counters (found here) that incorporate counterfeit detection technology.

Do you still have questions? Please feel free to speak with one of our knowledgeable experts at 1-800-543-5454.


Top 10 Best Pouch Laminators 2011

Posted by: James on September 15th, 2011

Pouch LaminatorIf you’re in the market for a pouch laminating machine, you may be a bit confused by the wide selection. Some sites out there feature dozens to even hundreds of different models. I can tell you from personal experience that you need to get a high-quality pouch laminator. Having used pouch laminators and laminating pouches for over 10 years, I have a pretty good idea on what works and doesn’t work. Here are a few tips.

Purchasing a bad laminator can lead to some dramatically bad results. It can also lead to ruined documents and valuable material such as photos. Bad laminators can create cloudy splotches, ripples and bubbles. Many of these artifacts cannot be removed, even with multiple passes. It is horribly frustrating and can result in one bad day.

Even if you don’t take my advice on laminator models in this article, please at least try to find a pouch laminator with at least 4 rollers. That’s right. Four rollers is the magic number for a good pouch laminator. Some higher-end laminators feature 6, 8 and even 10 rollers. Stay away from 2 roller laminators unless you’re simply shopping around for a paper weight.

There are many brands out there, but I have personally had excellent luck with Intelli-Lam, Fellowes (some models), Akiles, Tamerica and Banner American. Now to the list.

Top 10 Best Pouch Laminators 2011 (Sorted by Price – Lowest to Highest)

  1. Intelli-Lam IL300 – This is the least expensive of the recommended pouch laminators. It features four rollers, can handle 10-mil thick film and is perfect for laminating signs, business cars, ID cards and much more. This laminator is a great value for the price.
  2. Tamerica TCC-230 – Tamerica (aka Tahsin) laminators have a great reputation with our customers. The TCC-230 is a feature-rich laminator and has an incredibly quick warm-up time.
  3. Intelli-Lam IL400 – The IL400 is one of the best deals available online for a 13″ pouch laminator. It features four rollers, the ability to handle 10 mil thick film and is extremely fast.
  4. Tamerica TCC-330 – The TCC-330 is a time-tested classic that has a proven track record for being reliable and producing high-quality results.
  5. Akiles iLam 240 – While relatively new, this 9″ laminator has quickly become a favorite. Akiles has a great reputation for producing high-quality equipment that lasts for years.
  6. Akiles iLam 340 – This laminator is perfect for the no-nonsense operator. This 13″ wide pouch laminator is extremely easy to set up and produces top-quality results.
  7. Banner American PL135-4 – The PL135-4 has been around for more than a decade and used to be one of the most affordable 4-roller laminators. This laminator is solid, time tested and you won’t be disappointed.
  8. Tamerica C-Lam – This laminator is cool to the touch, easy to operate and produces some of the most professional results of any laminator listed here. A total of 6 rollers produce crisp results.
  9. Banner American PL12A – This classic is by far the most popular commercial pouch laminator available. It utilizes 4 rollers and is designed for daily use.
  10. Akiles Pro-Lam 320 – The Akiles Pro-Lam line of laminators are fast, effective, easy to use and can handle just about any pouch laminating film out there. A total of 4 rollers quickly and evenly distribute heat.

So there you have it! My list of the top 10 pouch laminators for 2011. These laminators have proven themselves time after time and I’m confident you will be impressed as well.

We have been selling laminators for years, so if you have any questions, please feel free to call one of Office Zone’s laminating experts at 1-800-543-5454. You can find Office Zone’s entire list of pouch laminators here.