Archive for November, 2010

Minipack Galileo / Galaxy Has No Electrical Plug?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Minipack Galileo Shrink Wrap Machine SystemIt’s already a well-known fact that the Minipack Galileo and Galaxy are two of the most popular and highest-recommended shrink wrap machines around. There is one small thing that you may need to be aware of, however, before purchasing one of them.

While we do try to specify this on the respective product pages, both the Minipack Galaxy and Galileo ship without an electrical plug. The power cable is still with the machine, but the end (where the plug should be) has exposed wires. So why is this?

This is because of the various outlets used throughout the country and world. Remember, these machines are made in Italy.  The Galaxy is a 110-120V system and the Galileo is a 220-240V system. The end connector you use will depend entirely on what’s available in your building.

Minipack Galileo Electrical Plug ConnectorAn end connector can be found at just about any hardware store, including Lowes, Home Depot and Ace Hardware. For just a few dollars, the correct end connector can be purchased.

Connecting the plug to the exposed end cable is easy to do and takes just a few minutes. Our Service Department is more than happy provide you with over-the-phone assistance to help connect the plug to the cable if needed.

In conclusion, don’t worry if your Galaxy or Galileo has no plug. This is perfectly normal and is done for your convenience (funny as it may seem).

You can find the Minipack Galileo here and the Minipack Galaxy here. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Rotatrim Professional “M” and Mastercut “MC” Rotary Paper Cutter Confusion

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Rotatrim Professional "M" Series Rotary Paper CutterI had a customer call me a while back that was confused as to the difference between the Rotatrim Professional and the Rotatrim Mastercut rotary paper cutters. I can understand this. Rotatrim has undergone some unusual name changes over the past few years. Hopefully I can clarify the differences between these cutters in this post.

To begin with, the Rotatrim Professional “M” series of paper cutters is currently Rotatrim’s highest-end paper cutter for precision tabletop cutting of photographs, paper, cardstock and other material. The Professional “M” series used to be called the Mastercut series about 5+ years ago.

This means if you are looking for the OLD Mastercut series cutter, you will now need to look for the Professional “M” series line of Rotatrim cutters. They are literally the exact same paper cutter, but with a different name. I have used the new Professional and the old Mastercut and they feel and work in the exact same way.

The Professional “M” series of rotary cutters from Rotatrim feature two round rails that support a heavy-duty cutting head. These two bars provide exceptional support and accuracy during the cutting process.

Rotatrim Mastercut –> Now Rotatrim Professional “M”
Rotatrim Monorail –> Now Rotatrim Mastercut “MC”

Rotatrim Mastercut "MC" Series Monorail Paper CutterRotatrim, a few years ago, put out the Rotatrim Monorail paper cutter. This cutter featured a single square bar. The square bar provided great support, but not quite as superior as the Professional series.

For one reason or another (perhaps for marketing purposes), Rotatrim decided to resurrect the Mastercut name. The old monorail line is now called the Mastercut “MC” series. It is still common, however, to find this cutter still being called the Monorail online.

Because the Mastercut name is being reused on a lower-end product, many people get frustrated when they discover their Mastercut is not the Mastercut of old.

You can find the current Rotatrim Professional “M” series cutters here and the new Mastercut “MC” series cutters here. You can find our entire selection of rotary paper cutters here.

5 Mil Laminating Film – Best Thickness?

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Laminating Film / Lamination SuppliesWhen customers are shopping around for laminating film and supplies, I often get asked which thickness is the most popular. Laminating pouches (and rolls) can be found in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. While all thicknesses of laminating film have certain benefits, the 5 mil thickness is the most commonly used. This is why.

To begin with, 5 mil laminating film is the most universally accepted mil thickness used by laminators, especially pouch laminators. Both 7 and 10 are often too thick for most entry to mid-level laminators. Thinner 1.5 and 3 mil film is also very popular with roll laminators.

Five mil thick laminating film is popular because it provides a nice clean look with great support without being too flimsy or as thick as a credit card. It can be used to effectively laminate photographs, business cards, menus and more.

Cost is another factor. The 5-mil thickness is also a great balance on price. The thicker the film, the more expensive it is.

While all these factors point to 5-mil laminating film as being the most popular, thicker and thinner films have their benefits as well.

You can find our pouch laminating film here and our roll laminating film here. Be sure to check the user manual prior to purchasing film. You don’t want to end up with film that is too thick for your laminator. Using laminating film that is too thick often manifests itself in cloudy patches in the film.

You can find our entire selection of laminators here. Have a great day!

Restaurant Menu Insert Binding Machines

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Wire Binding Machines for Restaurant Menu InsertsI had a customer ask me recently if a wire binding machine could be used to bind restaurant menu inserts. While you can use wire, there are some definite advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of. There are also several other great options for restaurant menu inserts. Here is my advice.

To begin with, wire looks great! Wire bound menu inserts also look great, but there is one downside. Wire bends and after several days or weeks of constant handling, it may get bent out of shape.

For long-term menu insert binding, you may want to consider using a coil binding machine. Coil (aka Spiral) looks great and allows pages to turn a full 360 degrees. This will make menu browsing easy. The only downside of using coil is that the spine will poke out a little, and as an insert, may not allow the main menu to close flat. You can find our coil binding machines here.

Restaurant Menu Insert Booklet MakerAnother great option for menu insert binding is a booklet maker. These machines can take several sheets of paper, fold them and staple them along the spine. This is inexpensive, inconspicuous and allows the insert to lay completely flat. You can find our booklet makers here.

Hopefully this helps you out. If you need to laminate the menu, you can find our laminators and film here. Have a great day!

Do-It-Yourself Shrink Wrap Packaging

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I-Bar Shrink Wrap MachineAre you starting up your own business or are you trying to sell your own unique product? If you are selling goods, of any sort, you may be in need of a shrink wrap machine. Many people are intimidated at the thought of packaging their own products. Some think it is too hard and others think it is too expensive. This isn’t the case.

You may be surprised by how many of our customers buy shrink wrap machines and film from us for their own do-it-yourself packaging. The most popular type of shrink wrap machine for start-up businesses is the I-bar sealer. We offer models from both AIE and Traco that are both huge hits.

An I-bar (aka straight bar) shrink wrap machine has a single bar that is used for cutting film around a product. When used with centerfold shrink wrap film, a total of about 2 passes are required to completely package a product. A shrink bag only requires one pass. Once the package is fully sealed, a heat gun is used to shrink the film down.

The entire packaging process only takes a few minutes. Here is a video demo of me using a Traco I-bar shrink wrap machine. I have had customers use I-bar sealers to package CDs, DVDs, fruit baskets, soap bars, chocolate and more.

The I-bar shrink wrap machines we sell are made from high quality components. They rarely need servicing. Most servicing involves changing the pad, the tape or the wire element. We offer all of these parts and they can be replaced by anyone.

You can find our entire selection of I-bar shrink wrap machines here. You can find our polyolefin shrink film here and our PVC  shrink film here.

Good luck packaging your products! I am certain that you will have great luck and success with your do-it-yourself packaging operations. The end results will be very professional and will make a great impression on your customers.

Booklet Makers & Page Capacities Explained

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Formax FD 160 Electric Booklet MakerAre you looking for a booklet maker, but aren’t sure exactly which machine you need? One of the most confusing aspects of a booklet maker is the page capacity and the number of pages you end up with in your booklet. Here are a few tips that may help you out.

To begin with, booklet makers typically let you know how many sheets of paper they can fold and staple. What confuses many people is they think the number of sheets a booklet maker can handle equals the number of pages their book will have. This is not the case.

Let’s take the Formax FD 160 as an example. This booklet maker can fold and staple up to 12 sheets of paper at a time. Many people think, “Only 12 sheets?” What they don’t realize is that a single sheet of paper produces 4 pages in a booklet. This is because two pages are printed on each side of a sheet of paper.

This means that although the Formax FD 160 can fold and staple up to 12 sheets of paper, it can create a booklet up to 48 pages in size. That doesn’t sound quite as bad now does it?

A higher capacity machine like the MBM Sprint 3000 booklet maker can fold and staple up to 25 sheets at a time. This means it can create a booklet up to 100 pages in size.

Hopefully this clears things up. Be aware, however, that the amount of sheets a machine can fold and staple is based on standard 20# copy paper. If you will be using a card stock cover, the sheet capacity will go down.

You can find our entire selection of booklet making machines here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our booklet making machine specialists. They are more than happy to help answer any additional questions.

Akiles AlphaBind-CE Electric Comb Binding Machine Review

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Akiles AlphaBind-CE Electric Punch Comb Binding MachineIf you operate, work for or own a business that needs to comb bind a lot of books, you probably need an electric punch comb binding machine. One excellent option you may want to consider is the Akiles AlphaBind-CE electric punch comb binding machine (found here). This is my review.

The Akiles AlphaBind-CE is a fairly compact machine, but features an excellent build quality. The machine weighs in at 61 pounds shipped, which is pretty sturdy for an electric punch comb binder. While it weighs in at 61 pounds shipped, it is still light enough to sit on most tables, desks and countertops.

The AlphaBind-CE is designed to punch paper up to 12″ long. It is open ended, however, which means you can punch longer paper. If you are punching smaller paper, the included disengageable (selectable) punching dies eliminate annoying half-punched holes. Overall, the AlphaBind-CE is perfect for custom-sized books.

I mentioned earlier that it has a great build quality. Almost everything on this machine is made from metal. The punching dies are sharp, very sturdy and the punching motor is designed for day-long continuous use. You should be able to use the AlphaBind-CE to punch and bind dozens to hundreds of books a day without any issues.

The electric punch is capable of punching up to 20 sheets of paper at a time. Unlike many manufacturers that claim near-critical punching capacities, the Akiles AlphaBind-CE can handle the 20 sheets without a problem. The comb opening and closing is done manually. A foot pedal operates the motor, making hands-free operation easy.

This electric comb binding machine does not require any special training or setup. Operation is pretty cut and dry. Simply press a button to punch the paper and pull a lever to open the combs. The entire process takes only a minute or two, depending on the thickness of the book.

The AlphaBind-CE also includes the ability to adjust the margin punching depth and the side margin measurements. An adjustable margin depth is ideal for long-term comb binding. This makes it easier to prevent torn pages when binding thicker books. The Akiles AlphaBind-CE is capable of binding books up to 2″ thick.

I really like this binding machine. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. It is perfect for most office binding needs and can keep up with most comb binding jobs.

You can find the Akiles AlphaBind-CE electric punch comb binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of electric comb binding machines here.

Best Type Of Shrink Wrap Film

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Shrink Wrap Machines & Film
I have had several customers ask me which type of shrink wrap film is the best. Naturally, they want to get the best type for their machine. In order to answer this question, there are some details you will need to be aware of. Here are a few tips that may help you come to a decision.

There are two main types of shrink wrap film used today, regardless of whether it is centerfold or shrink wrap bags. These types of film are PVC and Polyolefin. While the shrink film rolls themselves look very similar, the end results are a little different.

Polyolefin Shrink Wrap Film
PVC film has been around for years. It is cheap and works on pretty much any machine out there. It has a more brittle feel to it than Polyolefin and is general ideal for use in single-product packaging. It doesn’t hold up as well when packaging multiple items together. PVC film is not safe for use with food.

Polyolefin film has also been around for some time, but is newer on the market than PVC film. Polyolefin is sometimes referred to as poly film. Polyolefin film is more pliable than PVC and is food safe. One thing I really like about Polyolefin film is that it puts off less odor than PVC film during the shrinking process. Poly film is also better for packaging multiple products.

Another thing you will want to take into consideration is the gauge of the film. The higher the gauge, the thicker the film. If you only need shrink wrap film for protecting a product, something as thin as a 60 gauge film may be more than enough. If you will be bundling multiple products together, you may want to go with something thicker, perhaps 75 gauge or more.

Before purchasing shrink film, be sure you know what you will be packaging. You don’t want to end up with a roll of film only to find out it isn’t the right type or the right thickness.

Also be sure and take into consideration the height of the product you are shrink wrapping. Many people don’t realize that increased product height will decrease the packaging width effectiveness of the shrink wrap roll.

Hopefully this information helps you out. If this article has left you with even more questions, please feel free to call one of our shrink wrap experts at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap film here and shrink wrap machines here.

Fellowes P-35C Cross Cut Paper Shredder Review

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Fellowes P-35C Personal Cross Cut Paper ShredderAre you in the market for a small, compact paper shredder for use at home? There are a lot of no-name brand shredders floating around out there. One brand that stands above the rest, for home paper shredding, is Fellowes. One great little shredder you may want to consider buying is the Fellowes P-35C cross cut paper shredder (found here). This is my review.

To begin with, Fellowes has established itself as a reliable paper shredder for home and small office use. While there are more robust shredders out there, Fellowes shredders are inexpensive and carry a tough warranty. The Fellowes P-35C personal shredder has a limited 3-year warranty, which is hard to come by in the paper shredder market.

The Fellowes P-35C is a compact little shredder. It measures in at 14″ H x 13″ W x 8″ D and only weighs in at 10 pounds shipped. Don’t let this small size discourage you. To be honest, the P-35C isn’t designed for high-volume shredding. If you only need a shredder for occasional home use, the P-35C easily fits the bill.

Unlike many comparable shredders out there that feature a strip-cut design, the Fellowes P-35C uses a higher security Level 3 cross cut pattern. This is great for most shredding applications. A single sheet of paper is turned into 5/32″ x 1-9/16″ (4mm x 40mm) particles.

The P-35C is not designed for high-volume use. The motor and shredder head are capable of shredding “up to” 5 sheets of paper at a time. Remember that 5 sheets is the maximum amount. Don’t try and press it above that limit or you will run into trouble. I would personally scale that amount back to 3-4 sheets at a time.

Because the Fellowes P-35C is so compact, it can easily sit next to a desk, and in many situations, under a desk. I have even heard of people that have placed this shredder in a pantry for shredding junk mail.

One thing I personally really like about the P-35C is the design. It looks great. I don’t know what it is about black-colored office equipment, but I think it looks slick. The P-35C will easily blend in with your existing office décor.

Overall I have to say that I really like this shredder, but must caution those of you who want to use it for large office or departmental shredding. It is simply not designed to be used all day long. It is best suited for occasional “every-so-often” shredding, ideally in a home or small office environment. It is called a personal shredder for a reason.

You can find the Fellowes P-35C cross cut paper shredder here. You can find our entire selection of paper shredders here.

Can You Re-Use Wire Binding Supplies?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The question was recently asked as to whether or not wire binding supplies can be re-used. The customer in question needed to know the answer to this up front prior to making a purchase. This is a great question, especially if you need to add pages, remove pages or recycle bound books. This is the answer I gave.

Unfortunately wire binding is about as unfriendly to being re-used as coil binding. Wire binding elements are literally bent into place during the binding process. While wire can be re-opened (methodically), it ends up in pretty bad shape and cannot be reused.

Wire Binding Supplies

It is possible to remove the wire, making necessary changes to the document, and then re-insert a new wire binding element. While this isn’t re-using a wire binding element, it does allow you a little freedom when it comes to modifying an already bound book.

If you need to use a re-usable binding method, perhaps for temporary binding, the best choice to use is comb. Comb binding elements can be re-used over and over and are very forgiving to when it comes to adding or removing pages.

You can find our entire selection of wire binding machines here and our comb binding machines here.

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