Archive for March, 2011

Formax FD 342 Tabletop Folding Machine Review

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Formax FD 342 Tabletop Paper Folding MachineDo you need a paper folding machine that is extremely versatile, capable of performing the most common and custom paper folds available? One great machine, with an equality great reputation, is the Formax FD 342 tabletop paper folding machine (found here). This folder can create C folds, gate folds, Z folds, cross folds and much more. This is my review.

Formax has developed a great reputation over the past decade for their high-quality line of paper folder inserters, folding machines and pressure sealers. The build quality on these machines extremely high, with many of there machines being made in the USA.

The Formax FD 342 is packed with features. Weighting in at 77 pounds shipped, the FD 342 is a solid piece of machinery. The build quality alone features a metal housing, metal folding plates, high-quality silicon rollers and much more. It is designed for the ground up to be able to be used continuously throughout the day.

One great feature about the FD 342 is the motor. It is tough, capable of folding up to 15,500 sheets per hour. It is fast and strong, which helps get jobs done quickly and with fewer jams.

The feed tray on the FD 342 can hold up to 500 sheets of 20# paper at time, with the ability to handle paper as large as 12″ x 18″ and as small as 3.5″ x 5″. This is a pretty impressive range and paper capacity.

The exit tray is completely powered and uses a conveyor system to assist the paper as it exits the machine. The exit tray is telescoping. This means it can be shortened to accommodate tight spaces or it can be fully extended to hold up to 500 sheets of folded paper.

Setting the FD 342 up is extremely easy. It uses two separate folding plates to set up the required fold. Setting the folding plates up is as easy as pressing on a slide stop and sliding the plate to the desired fold. A fine-tune adjustment knob is located on the back of the fold plate in case any fine adjustments need to be made.

You can see a demonstration of the folding plates being set up here:

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Once the fold has been selected and paper has been placed in the feed tray, you can press the 1X button to test one sheet of paper. This allows you to ensure everything looks correct before starting up the machine. Once everything looks good, you can press the green “go” button to start the machine.

Unlike many folding machines out there, the Formax FD 342 can create a French fold, sometimes called a cross fold. This machine is built from the ground up to handle this type of difficult fold and even includes a cross-fold feed arm to help assist the fold.

Overall I have to say that this machine is extremely precise, durable and excellent for the price. It can be used for continuous daily operation without any issues. I give this machine a solid 5 out of 5 stars.

You can find the Formax FD 342 tabletop paper folding machine here and our entire selection of paper folding machines here.

Paper Shredder Safety Tips

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Phenomenal advancements have been made in paper shredder safety over the past 10 years. Blades have been recessed, making them harder to reach, and other manufacturers have even implemented “touch” technology that turns shredders off when fingers are detected around the throat of the shredder. Even with all these safety features, there are still a few good tips you can follow to make shredding even safer.

To begin with, I don’t care how safe the shredder is, I recommend keeping shredders away from children and animals. Even with all the safety measures in place, paper shredders are still essentially sharp blades powered by a motor. Children, and many pets for that matter, seem to find a way to get hurt by even the safest things.

Be careful with necklaces and jewelry. Many necklace chains are thin enough, and with a little assistance from gravity, that they can quickly slip through a paper shredder throat and get pulled into the blades. Either make sure jewelry is secured or removed.

Long hair can also be a little bit of a hazard. When feeding paper into a shredder, long hair can quickly fall forward over shoulders and become entangled in paper shredder blades. I can’t think of anything worse than getting your hair pulled into a shredder. Please be sure to keep your hair pulled back when operating a shredder.

Be careful with loose clothing and especially neckties. Clothing, even more so than jewelry and long hair, can cause bodily harm. A necktie, when lodged into a fast shredder, can quickly cause a perilous situation.

When clearing a paper jam, be careful when your hands are around the blades, especially when accessing a shredder from underneath. Always make sure that the shredder is unplugged when accessing the underside of a paper shredder head.

Always familiarize yourself with the shredder you are using before operating it. Get to know where the controls are and how they work. First and foremost, make sure you know how to turn the shredder off.

Again, paper shredders are very safe machines. A lot of these safety tips are based on common sense.

If you are in the market for a new shredder, we offer a great selection of paper shredders here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. Our knowledgeable representatives can help point you towards reliable, durable and safe paper shredders.

How Does a Proximity Card Work?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Proxmity CardsAt ABC Office we sell a wide variety of employee time clocks, designed to keep track of employee time worked for payroll purposes. One popular technology used with many of our time cards is proximity cards. So how exactly does a proximity card work? I’ll explain in this article.

To begin with, you may have noticed that proximity cards are a little thicker than your standard ID badge or credit card. This is because integrated circuitry is embedded and sandwiched between several plastic layers. This circuitry communicates with other devices such as time clocks using a special radio / wireless frequency.

Most proximity cards are powered by using resonant energy transfer in conjunction with a passive chip that is found inside the proximity card itself, although some are powered using small batteries. Non-powered proximity cards typically have a smaller storage capacity than powered cards.

Resonant energy transfer, used in non-powered proximity cards, is very similar to RFID technology and transponder technology found in many modern car keys. This allows the card to operate without have any battery inside. The proximity card reader emits pulses of a wireless radio frequency that the built-in passive chip uses to power the proximity card.

One of the biggest advantages of proximity cards is convenience. They operate by holding the card anywhere from 0-3 inches in front of the card readers. There is no password or special keypad interaction. It is that easy, and for that reason, proximity card are huge for use with building security, time cards and for a variety of business applications.

Proximity cards use special chips that are embedded into the circuit board that contain unique identifying data. This unique identifying data, embedded on the proximity card, can then be tied to a specific person or employee. In the situation of a time clock, the proximity card may contain unique information identifying the employee. When waved in front of a proximity-based time clock, that employee is logged in or out.

Setting up a proximity card is pretty easy. In the instance of an employee time clock, a blank proximity card can be read and then linked with a specific employee. This is typically the case with a building security system as well.

So how do pictures and ID information get placed on a proximity card? This is often done by using a 10-mil CR-79 ID card with an adhesive back. Basically the employee’s picture, company logo, ID number and other information is printed on the CR-79 card using a digital ID card printer. This thin 10-mil card is then stuck onto the surface of the proximity card. You can find our blank CR-79 adhesive cards here.

So there you have it. Proximity cards are extremely handy and utilize some pretty unique technology. You can find our entire selection of time clocks, including proximity time clocks, here.

2,000-Year-Old Books Bound Using Plates of Lead Metal & Wire

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Ancient Plates of Lead CodicesAs a book binding enthusiast, I find all forms of book binding to be very interesting. Going back to the days of the Egyptians using papyrus to medieval hardback binding, it is all very intriguing. Today I read an article about 70 lead codices that appear to contain early writings from Christians dating back to the 1st century.

It is believed that these codices contain early Christian writings. Some believe that it may even include clues regarding the last days of Jesus’ life. Apparently these codices were found in eastern Jordan, where many early Christian believers possibly fled after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, around 70 AD. Whether you’re Christian or an atheist, you have to admit that this is a pretty cool archeological discovery.

Ancient Metal Lead Bound Pages - Early ChristianityThese plates are made up of thin sheets of lead metal, bound together by wire. Could this be the beginning of wire binding? The way the wire is used to bind the individual metal sheets allows the pages to be turned and read. Each of the codices are about the size of a credit card, so they are all pretty small.

So far these booklets appear to contain images and textual allusions to the Messiah. Some of the codices are wired shut, creating all sorts of speculation as to what they may contain inside.

According to the article:

One of the few sentences translated thus far from the texts, according to the BBC, reads, “I shall walk uprightly”–a phrase that also appears in Revelation.

Anyway, I just found this entire thing fascinating. The bound documents have a wire / coil binding appearance to them. I suppose it makes sense to use ringlets of wire to bind the books as that was probably one of the best binding methods available at the time.

At ABC Office we sell a wide variety of modern-day book binding machines that can be used to create reports, presentations and booklets. You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here.

Akiles iCoil 41+ Coil Binding Machine Review

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Akiles iCoil 41+ Spiral Binding MachineAre you in the marketing for a coil-binding machine and need something that includes everything you need to get your binding operations up and going? One great machine you should take a look at is the Akiles iCoil 41+ coil binding machine (found here). The iCoil 41+ is a relatively new binding machine is quickly becoming a hit. This is my review.

Akiles easily ranks up with there with GBC and Renz when it comes to quality and reputation. Akiles manufactures coil, comb and wire binding machines ranging from entry-level to high-end industrial products.

The Akiles iCoil 41+ is a very well rounded coil-binding machine. While it isn’t designed for high-volume jobs, it can easily handle most light to medium-volume bookbinding. It really does include everything you need to start coil binding minus the supplies. This includes a punch, a coil inserter and coil-crimping pliers.

What is the significance of the + in 41+? The plus signifies that this particular coil-binding machine utilizes an oval hole pattern that is very much unique to Akiles. Instead of a round hole, the hole is oval. This is supposed to make coil insertion and page turns easier. Having used both standard round holes and oval holes, I have to say that there is a little truth in that assumption.

The iCoil 41+ uses a 4:1 pitch hole pattern. This is means it punches four holes per inch of paper, which is the most common coil binding hole pattern used today. The other hole pattern used in coil binding is a 5:1 pitch, which is five holes per inch.

Using the Akiles iCoil 41+ is extremely easy and to be honest is pretty darn convenient. Everything has been ergonomically laid out for ease and storage. To begin with, the iCoil 41+ punches paper vertically instead of horizontally. This allows gravity to naturally keep the paper squared up during the punching process, which means all the holes will be even and will maintain an equal margin punching depth.

Once the holes are punched, coil can be quickly inserted through the oval holes by using the included electric coil inserter. While the inserter on the iCoil 41+ is small, it easily grabs onto the coils and spins them through the holes. The electric inserter is turned on and off by means of an included foot pedal, which allows for convenient two-handed operation.

Once the coils are inserted through the punched holes, the included coil-crimping pliers can be used to cut off and crimp the ends of the coils. The entire process is quick and seamless.

One of my favorite features of the iCoil 41+ is how compact it is. The back support for the paper folds down as a dust cover. A storage compartment holes the coil crimping pliers and the electric coil inserter folds down into the body of the binding machine. Once everything is put away and folded into place, the iCoil is extremely easy to move around and store.

One feature the iCoil does not include, which I personally like, is selectable (disengageable) punching dies. This isn’t a huge disadvantage, especially considering the build quality of the iCoil 41+ and the affordability of the machine.

I personally highly recommend this product. It is made by Akiles, and to be honest, just about everything Akiles touches is gold. It is perfect for home use or low to medium-volume business use. You will love using this machine for binding booklets, reports, presentations and more.

You can find the Akiles iCoil 41+ coil binding machine here and our entire selection of coil binding machines here.

We are experts when it comes to binding machines. If you are shopping around, or simply need answers to a few questions, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. Have a great day!

Semacon S-110 Manual Coin Counter & Sorter Review

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Semacon S-110 Manual Coin Counter & SorterAre you in need of a solid, robust and commercial coin counter and sorter that doesn’t require the use of electricity? Few manual coin counters are capable of handling large coin counting and sorting jobs. One excellent model you may want to consider using is the Semacon S-110 manual coin counter and sorter (found here). This is my review.

Semacon is one of the most reputable manufactures of coin counters, sorters and bill counters around. Their products all feature a very nice build quality, one that far exceeds that found in many competitors. While their prices may be a little more than cheaper Chinese-made products, you make up the difference in cost by longevity alone.

The S-110 is one of the most unique coin counters and sorters that we carry. That is because it is completely manually operated. It is set up and designed like many of our high-end electric coin counters, but instead of an electric motor it features a hand crank.

While manually operated, it is still capable of counting and sorting coins at an amazing speed of up to 1,200+ coins per minute. That is faster than many of our electric machines. It does, however, include a battery-powered LCD screen that keeps tabs of total counted coins.

So why would you want a manual commercial coin counter and sorter? A high-end manual coin counter and sorter is perfect for locations, evens and businesses where electricity is either limited or simply is not available. It is also a huge plus for portability. You can literally use the Semacon S-110 anywhere.

Weighing in at 12.2 pounds, the S-110 is also very easy to pick up and move around. It can be used on desks, tables, countertops and more. Part of the reason for its light weight is the lack of an electric motor. While it is fairly lightweight, the build quality on this machine is excellent.

There is another huge portability benefit with the S-110. The lid on the S-110 acts as a coin funnel and as a dust cover. When folded up, a built-in handle makes the S-110 extremely easy to pick up and move.

The main chassis on the Semacon S-110 is made from a strong and lightweight metal alloy. This alloy frame provides reliable stability to the machine. The outside of the S-110 is constructed from a impact-resistant plastic case. This durable build quality allows the S-110 to be used for heavy-duty jobs.

Overall, if you don’t mind the hand crank, I have to say the S-110 is an excellent coin counter. I highly recommend this coin counter.

If you aren’t fond of the idea of using a hand crank, Semacon also makes a similar variation of this coin counter as the electric-powered S-120 and S-140.

You can find the Semacon S-110 manual coin counter and sorter and our entire selection of coin counting machines here.

Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Binding Machine Doppelgangers (Great Alternatives)

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Binding Machine AlternativesAre you looking for a book binding machine, but the machine you want is either out of stock or out of your budget? What you need is a binding machine doppelganger. By doppelganger, I don’t mean an evil twin or double. What I am referring to is an equal alternative that is both similar in appearance and operation. I have come up with a list of high-quality binding machines and their equivalents.

I have come up with a list of comb, wire and comb binding machine alternatives. These machines, originals and alternatives, are all high-quality machines. It is amazing how similar many of these machines look and operate, almost as if they came out of the same factory. These alternatives should help you get the machine you need in a timely manner and may even save you a little cash in the long run.

Comb Binding Machine Alternatives

Wire Binding Machine Alternatives

Coil Binding Machine Alternatives

All the machines listed here are good quality machines that can be used to bind reports, booklets, presentations and more. Hopefully some of these suggestions will provide you with affordable alternatives. You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here.

Fun & Interesting Facts About U.S. Money

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

A few months ago I wrote an article about how the U.S. government has seriously messed up the printing of the new $100 bill (found here). That article turned out to be pretty popular with our blog subscribers. Since we sell bill counters and counterfeit detectors, I thought it would be appropriate for me to point out a few additional interesting facts about modern U.S. currency.

I have gathered together many of these facts from my own knowledge on money, articles I have read and from a great article entitled “All About the Benjamins” written by Rachel Arndt with Fastcompany.com magazine.

Did You Know?

  • There are 4.42 billion more $1 bills in circulation than $100 bills.
  • The U.S. printed 26 million bills a day in 2009, equaling $907 million dollars.
  • Three of our currency denominations feature people who were never presidents. These are Benjamin Franklin ($100), Alexander Hamilton ($10) and Sacagawea ($1 coin).
  • About 1 in every 10,000 bills in current U.S. circulation is counterfeit.
  • About 90% of U.S. paper money has traces of cocaine on it.
  • In 1910 there was about $3.1 billion in currency circulation in the U.S. Today that amount is about $888.3 billion in circulation.
  • The $5 bill has the shortest lifespan of paper currencies, lasting about 16 months. The $100 bill has the longest lifespan at 73 months.
  • It costs 1.6 cents to produce a 1-cent coin.
  • The U.S. Mint ended up losing $2.2 million dollars making nickels and $19.8 million making pennies in 2009.
  • Even with all the credit and debit cards used today, 35% of all U.S. transactions are still made with cash.

Those are some pretty interesting facts. Even though only 1 in every 10,000 bills is counterfeit, this can vary from city to city and state to state. It is still a good idea to verify the authenticity of your bills by scanning them with a counterfeit bill detector. You can find our entire selection of counterfeit bill detectors here.

If you are a business that continues to conduct a lot of transactions using cash, you may be in need of a bill counter. At ABC Office we carry a huge selection of bill counters found here.

Do you know any fun or interesting facts about money? Feel free to post your thoughts and ideas in a comment!

Formax FD 402P1 Paper Jogger Review

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Formax FD 402P1 Paper JoggerDo you print hundreds to thousands of documents a day? Do you bind hundreds of books, cut thousands of sheets of paper per day or letter fold paper for mailing purposes. If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in need of a paper jogger. One great model you should consider is the Formax FD 402P1 paper jogger (found here). This is my review.

As paper leaves a printer or copy machine, the sheets are often jumbled and disorganized. If for any reason you have to feed this paper into another machine, cut it or even bind it, you will need to jog the paper back into a manageable stack. This is the reason paper joggers exist and they can save literally minutes of time over manually jogging paper. Minutes quickly become hours when you are handling large volumes of paper. Joggers are also ideal for cutting down and eliminating static electricity.

Formax, a leading manufacturer of folding machines, pressure sealers, paper shredders and other office equipment, currently manufactures several different paper jogging machines. All of their paper jogging machines are designed for commercial, continuous and daily use.

The FD 402P1 is an angled paper jogger designed for handling paper up to 11″ x 17″ in size. While it can be used with larger paper, it can also easily be used with smaller 8 ½” x 11″ paper and many other sizes.

Formax FD 402P1 Video Demo

The motor on the FD 402P1 is powerful, making it possible to jog paper in just seconds. A large knob, located on the front of the machine, allows you to adjust the intensity of the motor. At maximum speed, the motor shakes at 4,000 vibrations per minute. This makes it easy to adjust the Formax FD 402P1 to work with whatever type of paper you are jogging. This can be card stock, copy paper, glossy paper, coated documents and more.

Paper tends to create a lot of dust. Dust accumulation can cause all sorts of problems with machinery such as collators, paper folding machines, pressure sealers and more. The FD 402P1 actually has slotted clean-outs that allow dust to be removed from stacks of paper during the jogging process.

Weighing in at 28 pounds, the FD 402P1 is an extremely durable machine, however, it is light enough to be used on most desks, tables and surfaces. As far as joggers are concerned, it is relatively quiet.

I have to say that the build quality on the FD 402P1 is exceptional. It should be able to keep up with the most laborious and rigorous jobs thrown at it.

You can find the Formax FD 402P1 paper jogger here and our entire selection of paper joggers here.

Hot or Cold Laminating Machine?

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Pouch Laminators / Laminating MachinesIf you are shopping around for a laminator, you may have noticed that there are two primary methods used for laminating documents and pictures. These two methods are cold and hold lamination. Both laminating techniques have their benefits, but which style of laminator should you use?

Both hot and cold laminating is still commonly used today, however, hot thermal laminating is by far the most popular. Each of these laminating styles has unique features that make them ideal for certain laminating jobs. I’ll explain the differences between the two.

Cold Laminating – Cold laminating is often referred to as pressure laminating. That is because cold laminating film has a tacky adhesive on one side that sticks to documents when pressure is applied, much like scotch tape. This laminating method is popular for making stickers (Xyron), arts & crafts and for laminating temperature sensitive documents.

Hot Laminating – Hot laminating, often called thermal laminating, is very common. This laminating method uses laminating rolls or pouches that are coated on one side with thermally activated glue. Once heat is applied, the glue melts, much like a hot glue gun. Heat, along with pressure, coats the laminating film to documents, pictures and more. This laminating style is extremely common for laminating photos, signs, posters, banners, business cards, restaurant menus and much more.

Multi-Format Laminating – Some pouch and roll laminators are capable of being used with hot or cold laminating film. Most of these laminators are designed for hot lamination by default, but offer the option of turning off the heat for cold lamination.

If I had to pick between the two formats, I would personally go with a hot laminator. This is mostly because hot laminated documents tend to last longer and the film is generally less expensive. Both laminating styles produce professional results.

You can find our entire selection of laminating machines here.

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