Archive for October, 2010

How To Choose A Coin Counter Or Sorter

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Coin Counters and SortersFinding a good coin counting machine can be a bit of a chore. There is a lot of stuff out there, ranging from toys to bank-quality stuff. So how do you find a machine that will do what YOU need to do? Here are a few common questions that you will want to ask yourself. These questions should help you narrow down what you need.

To begin with, a lot of coin counters and sorters out there are basically toys. I was in the local department store chain near where I live and I passed by the office supplies isle. I noticed that they were offering several different coin counting machines. I couldn’t help but crack a smile when I saw what they were. They were basically $20 & $50 dollar toys being sold as “office” coin counters.

I find that buying an inadequate coin counting machine is one of the biggest complaints I find among our customers. There are few things worse than buying a machine only to find out it won’t do what you need.

So here you go, great coin counting questions to ask prior to purchasing a machine.

What Types Of Coins Will You Be Counting?

  • If counting U.S. Currency, will you only be counting pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters? If so, most coin counters will work for you. If you will be counting dollar coins or tokens, you may have to check and see if this is a possibility. Machines do exist, however, that will handle tokens and dollar coins. Some machines are also designed to handle Canadian currencies, including Loonies and Toonies.

How Many Coins Do You Need To Count Per Day?

  • Coin counters are typically rated on speed, usually coins per minute. The higher the speed rating, the more coins you will be able to count in a day. If you only need to count coins every so often, a lower speed rated coin counter should be fine.

Where Will You Be Using Your Machine?

  • We try to provide dimensions with all our machines. Be sure you have adequate room. Most of our machines are fairly compact, but sometimes pictures can make something look smaller than it really is.

Do You Also Need To Sort?

  • Most coin counters sort, but not all coin sorters count. If you need sorting and counting capabilities, be sure to verify that the machine can do that prior to making a purchase.

Do You Need To Roll Coins?

  • Many people that count and sort coins also need to roll them. Many, but not all machines, have coin rolling attachments. These funnel-like attachments make it easy to put coins in coin tubes, sometimes called shotgun shell tubes. Be sure that the coin counter you want can roll coins (if needed).

These are some of the most important questions you will want to ask prior to making a purchase. You can find our entire selection of coin counters here and coin sorters here.

Martin Yale 1624 Hand-Held Electric Letter Opener Review

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Martin Yale 1624 Hand-Held Electric Letter OpenerWe all get letters on a daily basis. Many of us use a knife or a metal letter opener to slice open the mail. This is hands-down better than opening a letter by ripping it open. There is another option for opening letters at home.

This other option is the electric letter opener. These convenient little machines make letter opening fast and sometimes fun. One model you may want to consider using is the Martin Yale 1624 hand-held electric letter opener (found here). This is my review.

Martin Yale makes a wide variety of high-end letter opening machines. Most of these are designed for commercial, high-volume use. If you’re only concerned about opening letters at home, the 1624 is probably what you need.

The Martin Yale 1624 is a compact electric letter opener designed to fit in the palm of your hand. It is designed for opening a few pieces of mail, which it does well, but not for the high-volume environment you find in an office.

The 1624 is a lightweight letter opener, weighing in at only 4.6 oz. It measures in at 5 1/4″ x 2 3/8″ x 1 3/4″. It runs on four AA batteries, which can be a pro or a con depending on your preference. Because it runs on batteries, it can be used just about anywhere. It is so compact that it can be placed in a desk drawer or a briefcase without any problem.

Using the 1624 is pretty easy. Simply take the 1624 letter opener in one hand and your envelope in the other. Place the edge you want to open into the letter opener, following the arrow printed on the machine. Once inserted, the 1624 will automatically turn on and open the letter. The opened letter will come out the other side.

I would have to say that the biggest pro of this letter opener is how compact and portable it is. The biggest con would have to be that it isn’t designed for high-volume use.

Overall I think the Martin Yale 1624 is perfect for most home-use and small-office applications. It is a nice looking machine, affordable and gets the job done quickly.

You can find the Martin Yale 1624 hand-held electric letter opener here. You can find our entire selection of electric letter openers here.

Shrink Wrap Machine Troubleshooting Tips

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Shrink Wrap MachinesIs your shrink wrap machine acting up and causing a fuss? As with any machine, shrink wrap machines will eventually need a little maintenance and preventative care. I have come up with a list of some of the most common shrink wrap machine problems reported to me by our customers along with solutions that should help fix these issues.

Common Shrink Wrap Problems

  • Burrs – Burrs are clumps of burned plastic that form along the edge of sealed shrink wrap film. These burrs are usually caused by the cutting wire element getting dirty. Cleaning this wire, or replacing it, will usually eliminate burs from occurring.
  • Bag Not Sealing – There are several possible situations that may be occurring if the bag is not sealing correctly. The least expensive solution is to try adjusting the sealing time or temperature. If this does not help, you may need to replace either the wire element or the teflon tape & pad.
  • Excessive Smoke – Excessive smoke is usually caused by a dirty sealing wire element. First try cleaning this wire. If that doesn’t solve the problem, the wire may need to be replaced.
  • Holes – If holes keep occurring in the shrink wrap film, during the shrinking process, your heat gun or heat tunnel is running too hot. Try turning down the temperature. This should fix the problem.
  • Wrinkles – If wrinkles keep occurring in your shrink wrapped products, more than likely your heat tunnel or heat gun are running too cold. Wrinkles are usually the result of un-shrunk film.

These are some of the most common issues I have experienced with shrink wrap machines. These are also some of the easiest fixes available. If you are experiencing more serious issues, you may want to contact our Service Department by filling out this form.

You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines, supplies and accessories here.

German Paper Cutters – Why Are They So Good?

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

German Paper CuttersWhen it comes to paper cutters, there is one common factor among the top brands. They are almost all German engineered or German made. German paper cutters are considered to be some of the best built and the longest-lasting lines around.

Owning several German cars (VWs), I have a certain appreciation for German engineering. While perhaps not the most popular line of cars here in the U.S., German engines are often considered so tough they can take a bullet and keep running. The same is the case with German paper cutters. They are tough.

The most popular German paper cutting brands I can think of are Dahle paper cutters (guillotines & stack cutters) and MBMs line of Triumph and Kutrimmer paper cutters (by IDEAL). These paper cutters are asked for by name and have gained an impressive reputation in the paper cutting industry and among our customers.

The only cutter I can think of that even compares to the German paper cutters is the British-made Rotatrim. As far as I know, the Rotatrims don’t leak any oil (sorry, a little car humor). Rotatrim is an excellent brand of paper cutter.

If you are looking for German-made paper cutters, these are the brands you’ll want to check out:

Dahle Paper CuttersDahle – Dahle makes a wide variety of guillotine cutters, rotary paper cutters and stack paper cutters. These paper cutters are typically the most affordable of the German-engineered paper cutters. You can find our Dahle paper cutters here.

Kutrimmer Paper Cutters and TrimmersKutrimmer – Kutrimmer (by IDEAL) is a line of guillotine paper cutters distributed by MBM. These guillotine cutters are very popular with our customers and use an arm-activated blade to cut paper, card stock, pictures and more. You can find our Kutrimmer paper cutters here.

Triumph Paper CuttersTriumph – Triumph (by IDEAL) is considered to be one of the heaviest-duty and best lines of stack paper cutters. These cutters come in manual, semi-auto and fully automatic designs. Triumph stack cutters are designed for high-volume paper cutting. You can find our entire selection of Triumph paper cutters here.

So there you have it. The kings of the German paper cutting industry. You can find our entire selection of paper cutters here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Folding Glossy Paper – The Do’s and Don’ts

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Paper Folding MachinesSo this is the question posed to me on an almost weekly basis. Can a paper folding machine handle glossy paper? They can, but you have to have the right machine. Here are a few tips to help you find a machine that will properly handle your glossy and coated paper.

There is a lot of love out there for glossy paper. This paper does have a professional look to it and is very popular for brochures. Most people who fold glossy paper don’t need anything fancy. They usually need something simple, like a letter fold or an accordion fold.

There are two types of paper folding machines. These types are friction-feed and air-feed. Here is a quick breakdown on what they are:

Friction Feed – Friction-feed paper folding machines use rubber rollers to pull paper into the machine for folding.

Friction-feed paper folding machines make up about 90% of the machines used today. This is because they are typically more compact and less expensive. The only problem is that the friction wheels slide around on glossy paper like ice-skates on a lake.

Air Feed (aka Air Suction or Pneumatic) – Air-feed paper folding machines use air to suck paper into the machine.

Air-feed paper folding machines suck glossy paper into the machine just as easily as standard non-glossy paper. They have absolutely no problem handling coated and glossy paper. The only downside is that they have a built-in compressor, making them a little bigger, and I have found that they tend to make more noise.

So can you use coated or glossy paper in a friction-feed folding machine? The official answer is no. The unofficial answer is sometimes. If the paper is coated, but not too slick, it can often be used in a friction-feed folding machine. The only problem is that there are no guarantees.

If you are on a budget, and can’t afford an air-feed paper folding machine, feel free to send in your paper and we can run it on one of our machines. While I can’t guarantee it will always work, I can at least let you know if it is compatible. Call us at 1-800-658-8788 to set up sending in samples.

You can find our entire selection of friction-feed paper folding machines here and our air-feed paper folders here.

Streamline Your Shrink Wrap Operations With A Gravity Conveyor

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Nestaflex Gravity ConveyorShrink wrap machines are amazing things. They can be used to package just about anything, whether it is DVDs, a bar of soap or a basket of fruit. If you are packaging products on a high-volume basis, you may find that you are having trouble packaging and moving products in a streamlined fashion. One great way to speed things up is by using a gravity conveyor.

Gravity conveyors are just like the conveyors you may have seen in factories, but there is no motor involved. Products are carried along the conveyor by means of wheels or rollers. These wheels and rollers spin on silent and smooth bearings, which make it extremely to move boxes along the conveyor line. The type of conveyor you use will depend on the size of package you are dealing with and how long you need the conveyor to be.

Most gravity conveyors have some sort of accordion-like design, making it possible to shrink or stretch the conveyor. They are also typically designed in a way that allows them to bend in an S or snake-like fashion. Sitting on casters, they can typically be moved around to accommodate any situation.

At ABC Office we carry Nestaflex brand gravity conveyors. Our customers that have purchased a gravity conveyor for their shrink wrap system typically put the conveyor at the end of their heat tunnel or machine (if an integrated tunnel is being used). As the package is finished being wrapped, it is either ejected onto the conveyor or manually placed on the conveyor. The next product is easily lined up right behind.

Overall I consider a gravity conveyor to be a great way to streamline high-volume shrink wrapping. The machines are very easy to set up and install.

You can find our entire selection of Nestaflex gravity conveyors here and our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Top 3 Best Collapsible & Foldable Platform Trucks

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Safco Collapsible / Foldable Platform TrucksPlatform trucks are extremely useful to have on hand in a warehouse. They can be used to haul equipment, boxes and more. One big problem I have found with many platform trucks is that they can be bulky and get in the way. One solution to this is to use a collapsible platform truck.

Collapsible platform trucks allow the operator to take the handle and fold them down so that they’re level with the bed of the platform truck. This makes them easy to store, slide under workbenches and more. At ABC Office we offer several different foldaway-style platform trucks from Safco. Here are three of the most popular models.

Top 3 Best Collapsible & Foldable Platform Trucks:

  1. Safco FoldAway Platform Truck – This platform truck has a very traditional look to it, yet still features a folding handle, making it easy to store.
  2. Safco HideAway Convertible Hand Truck – This truck can adapt from a hand truck to a platform truck. It also features several other configurations. This is a great all-round platform truck to have on hand.
  3. Safco Stow Away Platform Truck – This handy platform truck is one of the heaviest-duty models around, capable of holding up to 1,000 pounds of material. The handle folds down for easy storage.

So there you have it. Three solid, compact and reliable platform trucks. We have been selling Safco brand hand trucks and platform trucks for years now and they have a great track record with our customers. You can find our entire selection of hand trucks and platform trucks here.

Executive Wood Presidential Podium Review

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Executive Wood Presidential PodiumAre you looking for a podium that has class, a professional look and is made from high quality wood? If this is what you’re looking for, you may want to consider the Executive Wood Presidential Podium (found here). This is my review.

They don’t call it the Presidential Podium for nothing. It has a very similar look and feel to the podium presidents have used at the White House for years. This podium is ideal in professional environments for giving speeches, lectures and presentations. Here are a few things you may not know about the Presidential Podium.

To begin with, the Presidential Podium is made from solid hardwood materials. This wood is available in a selection of Walnut, Cherry or Mahogany finishes. The fabric finish is a available in black, red or blue. The blue fabric is designed to match the look and color of the podium the President of the United States uses. For comparison, I am including a sample picture of President Obama using a similar Presidential Podium in this article.

The Presidential Podium is not just designed to look good. It is also very functional. The back of the podium features a shelf for added storage. The compartment inside the Presidential Podium is very roomy.

Barack Obama Presidential PodiumThe base of the podium conceals a couple of hidden rear casters. This makes the Presidential Podium easy to tilt back and move around. It weighs in at 250 pounds shipped, so the casters are definitely a huge plus.

The top of the Presidential Podium has a dropdown surface. This allows the speaker to adjust the surface from an angled to a flat surface. This is especially ideal for people who want to use a laptop on the podium. The podium itself measures in at 50 ½” high, 26 ½” at the widest point and is 23 ¾” deep.

If you are looking for a podium that is well built and designed to easily last for years, this may be a good option for you. I certainly consider it to be one of the highest-quality podiums around.

You can find the Executive Wood Presidential Podium here. You can find our entire selection of wooden office podiums here. The Presidential Podium is also available with a built-in speaker, amplifier and microphones as the Presidential Evolution Podium found here.

It Never Hurts To Ask

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Roll Laminators from ABC OfficeYou would be surprised how many questions can be answered and how many problems can be solved by simply asking a few questions. While we try to post all the information, specifications and features on our products, sometimes there are things we simply don’t list. Here are a few examples.

We often get asked if a machine comes in a 220-volt configuration. This may be a paper folding machine or a laminator. Often times a manufacturer doesn’t tell us that a machine is available in a different voltage configuration. When we get a call from a customer, we typically check with the factory to see if a different voltage is a possibility. We are often able to get a machine custom-made in a 220-volt design.

Much of our furniture is also available in different configurations. If a podium needs to be a little taller, we can usually get a custom-made table to accommodate the requested height. Does it need casters? No problem. If text needs to be engraved, it is often a possibility.

How about a burster? Does it need an extra slitter? We are often asked if we can add an extra slitter wheel or perforation wheel to our office equipment. This can often be done in the factory.

These are just a couple of examples of custom / special request that we are able to fulfill. If you’re not sure about something, give us a call. Our specialists are well trained, friendly and knowledgeable. You can reach us by calling 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of office equipment here.

Business Card Cutter & Slitter Troubleshooting Tips

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Business Card Cutters and SlittersDo you own or use a business card cutter and keep running into issues? While most business card cutters are pretty cut and dry (excuse the pun), there are some common issues that people run into. Some of these issues have simple solutions, where others may be a little more involved. Here are some of the most common issues I have experienced or have heard from customers.

Common Business Card Cutter & Slitter Troubleshooting Issues

  1. Pages Keep Slipping – Does your paper keep slipping as it’s pulled into the machine? This may either be a simple annoyance or it may be causing serious issues. This is usually a result of coated paper or glossy paper. Most business card cutters use friction to pull paper through the machine and coated / glossy paper slips on the friction rollers. The only solution to this issue is to use non-coated or non-glossy paper.
  2. Cut Is Crooked – Does your business card cutter seem to cut crooked lines when cutting business cards? This is typically a result of paper that is too thick being run through the machine. The quickest and easiest solution to this is to use thinner weight paper.
  3. Business Cards Bleed Into Each Other – Do your business cards bleed into each other? Chances are pretty good that you are using a standard business card template on a standard business card cutter. In order to create edge-to-edge color on a business card (full bleed), you need to use a full-bleed business card template with a full-bleed business card cutter. If you only have a standard business card cutter, you will have to adjust the template of your business card.

Hopefully these tips will help you get more use out of your business card cutter and will help lower the stress in your life. If your business card cutter issues do not relate to the problems I have posted, you may want to contact our Service Technician by filling out this form. You can also find our entire selection of business card cutters and slitters here. Have a great day!

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