Archive for January, 2012

How Does a Booklet Maker Work?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Booklet Makers / Booklet Making MachinesIf you want to bind a booklet or instructional manual, and don’t want to use a binding format that uses a spine, you may want to consider using a booklet maker (found here). These compact machines come in a variety of sizes, depending on the amount of books you want to create. So how exactly does a booklet maker work?

Booklet makers use staples, instead of binding elements, to bind books. These staples, usually 2 or 3, are placed along the middle of the booklet rather than the edge. Booklets bound on a booklet maker are usually 8 ½” x 5″ folded and usually range in size anywhere from a couple of pages up to 60, depending on the machine that’s used.

Booklet makers typically complete the binding process in a matter of a few of steps.

  1. Paper is first inserted into the machine.
  2. The booklet maker then applies staples along the middle of the sheets.
  3. The booklet is then folded in half, completing the process.

The size of the book depends on the capacity of the booklet maker. An entry level booklet maker typically staples around 10 sheets of paper, which ends up being 40 pages (front and back). High end machines can staple up to 25 sheets, which ends up being 100 pages (front and back). Keep in mind, when looking for a booklet maker, that sheet capacities are based on standard copy paper. That amount will need to be decreased if you are using card stock.

Before booklet makers existed, paper was first folded in half using a folding machine. Folded paper was then placed on a saddle stapler and stapled. This process involved multiple machines and took a minute or two to complete. Booklet makers cut that time by at least half.

Booklet makers can be broken up into three different categories, based on how the machine is built and how it is used. These three styles include semi-automatic, automatic and in-line. I will briefly cover each of these machines.
Automated Booklet Makers

  • Semi Automatic – This type of booklet maker is especially popular because it is much more affordable. It is usually designed for low to medium-volume work. The operator typically pulls a lever, which activates the staple heads. When the lever is returned to its original position, the booklet maker then grabs the paper and folds it in half (by means of an electric motor). The process is extremely quick.
  • Automatic – Automatic machines use a motor to staple and fold the paper. Most of these machines still require the operator to feed the paper into the machine, but the rest is automated. A book takes just seconds to complete on an automatic machine.
  • In-Line – These machines are designed to work in conjunction with a collator. Separate stacks, usually hundreds of sheets of paper, are placed into the collator. As the collator collates the paper, it feeds the stacks automatically into the booklet maker where the document is stapled, folded and comes out the other side of the machine completed.

TROUBLESHOOTING:

The biggest complaint I here from customers using booklet makers is that the page edges don’t line up. This is perfectly normal and occurs as more sheets are stapled together. The edges of the paper will gradually fan out as more paper is stapled together. For this reason, many businesses like to use a stack cutter to chop of and align the edges of the booklets. Some higher-end booklet makers include built-in cutters for an all-in-one process.

BRANDS:

There are several different brands of booklet makers. I really don’t have any issues with any particular brand. For entry-level booklet making, I really like machines by Formax, MBM, ISP and Martin Yale. For higher-end booklet making, I really like machines by MBM.

You can find our entire selection of booklet makers here. We currently offer about 14 different models, so feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 if you have any questions about them. We have been selling booklet makers for decades, so we have a lot of experience that may help you with your choice.

What is MG Counterfeit Money Detection and How Does It Work?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

MG Counterfeit Bill DetectorCounterfeit bill detection is a necessary evil in a world where high-tech printers and ever-smarter criminals are producing counterfeit bills that can fool most people. Counterfeit money detectors, and many bill counters, help quickly catch counterfeit bills before it becomes a serious problem. I personally recommend any business that deals with tangible cash on a regular basis to use a counterfeit detector. One popular method for catching counterfeit bills is MG (magnetic) detection.

Legitimate US currency implements magnetic ink in strategic locations to help thwart counterfeiters. Many modern counterfeit money detectors, and most bill counters with counterfeit detection, will check for magnetic ink.

Most manual counterfeit money detectors require that you slide a bill over a magnetic sensor. If the bill is legitimate, it will usually audibly and visually indicate that it is real. The process takes just seconds and is faster than manual UV detection or counterfeit ink pen detection.

Magnetic Ink Found on Real US CurrencyMost modern bill counters, equipped with counterfeit money detection, will scan for UV (ultraviolet) and MG (magnetic) properties. These bill counters count bills at a speed of hundreds of bills per minute. As the bills are run through the machine, sensors scan the bill for magnetic properties. This is probably the fastest way to check a bill for counterfeit properties.

Is magnetic ink scanning 100% foolproof? While nothing is 100%, magnetic detection is very reliable. Bill bleaching, which can be a problem for some counterfeit detection methods, will typically ruin the magnetic ink properties, rendering the bill useless to counterfeiters.

Considering the reasonable cost of counterfeit bill detectors, with some MG scanners costing less than $30, I recommend investing in a solid machine. The savings in catching a counterfeit bill alone will make up for the cost of the machine.

Our ABC-75, at the time of this article, costs $41 and includes UV (ultraviolet) detection, WM (watermark) detection, MG (magnetic) detction and also includes a magnifying glass. This is a video demo of me using teh ABC-75, including the magnetic ink scanner:

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At ABC Office, we offer about 10 different counterfeit detectors (found here), which range from manual operation to automated operation. We also offer almost 2 dozen different bill counters (found here), with about half having counterfeit bill scanning capabilities.

We have over a decade of experience with counterfeit bill detectors, so please feel free to contact us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

What is UV Counterfeit Money Detection and How Does It Work?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

If you have been shopping around for a bill counter or a counterfeit money detector, you have probably come across the phrase UV or ultraviolet. UV detection is an important part of verifying the authenticity of a bill. UV scanners are commonly used to detect counterfeit banknotes. The way UV detectors work is simple, yet very clever.

All US denominations, except the $1, have a UV stripe embedded in the banknotes paper / fabric. While it is visible with a back light, this stripe becomes illuminated when a UV light is held over it.

This shows you where the UV stripe is located on a $10:
Location of UV Stripe on $10 US Bill

We have a guide, found here, that shows you where the stripe is located on $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. You will notice that the strip is located in different places, depending on the denomination. There is a good reason for this. One popular method for counterfeiting a bill is to use a real bill, say a $5, bleach it and reprint a higher denomination on that bill. If you are unaware of where the stripe is located, the bleached bill may pass a counterfeit detector.

UV Counterfeit Money Detector / ScannerUltraviolet (UV) counterfeit detectors come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are portable and require the operator to visually confirm the stripe, where others simply pull in the bills and use a sensor to scan them. While UV counterfeit detection isn’t 100% effective, it catches most counterfeit bills. Visual UV detectors catch just about everything, but SOME automated machines may be tricked by bleached bills. If you are using an automated counterfeit detector, I recommend you use one that implements several counterfeit detection measures.

Having used several types of manual UV counterfeit detectors, I do highly recommend using them indoors and if possible, in a darker setting. Direct sunlight or outdoor use is almost impossible with a manual UV scanner that requires visual verification.

This is a video of me using a very effective manual UV counterfeit detector (the ABC-75 found here):

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We offer a great selection of bill counters with UV counterfeit detection here and a great selection of stand-alone counterfeit detectors with UV capabilities here. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact one of our specialists at 1-800-658-8788. You can learn more about counterfeit detection by reading our guide found here.

How Does a Digital Duplicator Work?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Standard Brand Digital DuplicatorIf you need to create mass copies, in the hundreds or even thousands, you may want to consider using a machine called a digital duplicator (found here). While you may never have seen a digital duplicator in person, they look very similar to a toner-based Xerox copy machine. So what is a digital duplicator and how do they work?

Are you familiar with ditto machines or mimeograph machines? I can still remember (perhaps this is showing my age) in school people asking for a ditto of something on the ditto machine. Both Ditto Machines (aka Spirit Duplicators) and Mimeograph machines utilize direct contact with paper to print text. Digital duplicators, in a way, borrow ideas from these technologies to create a modern-day ink-printing machine.

Using a digital duplicator is very similar to using a toner-based copy machine, like a Xerox copier, but the actual printing process is very different. Here is a step-by-step breakdown on how the process works.

  1. First you place your document, text facing down, on the glass scanning surface of the machine.
  2. The digital duplicator scans the image off the paper.
  3. The image is then burned onto a wax-based master via tiny dots. Different duplicators have different resolutions referred to as DPI (dots per inch).
  4. The master is then wrapped around an ink drum.
  5. The drum, filled with ink, squeezes ink out through the tiny holes on the master.
    As the drum rotates, it rolls over paper, leaving the image on the paper.
  6. The paper exits the machine and the process either continues with more paper or ends.

The ink dries very fast. If you are concerned about the ink not being dry enough, I recommend using an air paper jogger. They are designed to quickly dry ink for use with digital duplicators or even with offset printers.

One of the first digital duplicators created, around 1986, was made by the Riso Kaguka Corporation. Their machines were often referred to as Riso or Risograph machines. While Riso machines are still used today, digital duplicators made by Ricoh and Standard Duplicating are more commonly used.

So why would you want to use a digital duplicator? Ink is far less expensive than toner. If you plan on printing a lot of text, perhaps for a manual, menu, flier or other documentation, a duplicator makes a lot of sense.

So why are copy machines more popular? Copy machines are often used to create one, two or perhaps a few dozen copies at a time. In small quantities, toner-based copy machines cost less to operate. The most expensive part of using a digital duplicator is the master. The price, however, drops dramatically once you start making 25 or more copies.

Digital Duplicator SuppliesCopies made on a traditional copy machine typically run around $0.02 a copy. Duplicators, once you hit around 200 copies, costs about $0.004 a copy. Simply put, a duplicator (at 25 or more copies) costs less to operate. The text printing quality of a digital duplicator is just as good as a toner-based copy machine.

You can read more about duplicator operation costs by reading our Digital Duplicator School Guide found here.

You can find our entire selection of Standard digital duplicators here and our entire selection of Ricoh, Riso and Standard masters and inks here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions about digital duplicators.

ABC Office January 2012 Coupon Code

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

If you are trying to save money on office equipment, binding machines, paper folders, laminators and other office products, consider using ABCOffice.com. We offer some of the best selection and prices available online. Not only do we have great prices, but we stock much of what we sell, which means fast shipping times for you. As a valued reader of our blog, we would like to extend a 5% off coupon code that you can use during the month of January 2012.

ABC Office Coupon Code January 2012

The coupon code you will want to use during January is JANBLOG12. This code can be used to buy both office equipment and supplies and can either be applied via our secure shopping cart where it says, “Enter coupon or gift certificate number” at the bottom of the shopping cart, or you can mention the code over the phone.

ABC Office Coupon Code Via CartWe appreciate your business and are excited for the New Year. We plan on adding a lot of new machines and supplies to our site this year, so be sure to check back often. You can find our entire selection of office equipment and supplies by visiting us here.

If you need a quote, or simply have some questions about the equipment we offer, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788.

Some restrictions do apply to this coupon code. You can read those restrictions here.

All About CD, DVD and Blu-ray Shredders

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

CD, DVD and Blu-ray ShreddersOptical media discs are used to store and hold volumes of data. This data, as is the case with printed material, is susceptible to identity theft. For this reason, it is recommended to properly destroy optical media rather than throw it away in the garbage. CDs where the first widely used optical discs to store data. Later can DVDs and now Blu-ray discs are commonly used for data storage.

There are a lot of optical discs in use today in businesses around the world. Common formats include:

  • CD (CD-R, CD-RW)
  • DVD (DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW)
  • Blu-ray (BD-R, BD-RE)

To put into perspective just how much data can be stored on these media discs, take this into consideration. A megabyte of data storage can hold a book of approximately 500 pages with 2,000 characters on a page. This means:

  • A standard CD (CD-R) can hold about 350,000 pages of data.
  • A standard DVD (DVD-R) can hold about 2,350,000 pages of data.
  • A standard Blu-ray (BD-R) can hold about 12,500,000 pages of data.

Blu-ray Disc ShreddersThis immense storage capability is why many sensitive documents and data are stored on optical discs. Imagine trying to store millions of pages of data physically in a room when you can put that all on a disc that is about 4.75″ (120mm) in diameter. While convenient, this also means data breaches of optical discs can be far more catastrophic than the loss of physical paper documents. For this reason, optical disc shredders are critical.

While many shredders are capable of shredding optical discs, not all can do this. Be sure to check and see if the shredder is rated for shredding discs or you may end up with a jammed shredder.

While many CD and DVD shredders cut discs into little strips, or crimp them using a waffle pattern, a cross cut pattern is going to be the most secure destruction method. Some devices are used to literally grind the data off of CDs into powder.

A question I frequently get is can a CD or DVD shredder be used to shred Blu-ray discs? While the material that makes up a Blu-ray is a little stronger than your typical CD or DVD, I have found that most CD and DVD shredders can easily handle Blu-ray discs.

Hopefully this information has been useful. You can find our entire selection of optical disc, CD, DVD and Blu-ray shredders here. If you have a question about shredding optical discs, or simply need a few questions answered about a specific machine, please feel free to contact one of our experts at 1-800-658-8788.

Introducing: The Formax FD 8730HS High Security Level 6 Shredder

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Formax FD 8730HS High Security Level 6 Paper ShredderHigh security paper shredders, while not common in offices, are abundant in different makes and models. Most military and government agencies that use Level 6 shredders typically have to sacrifice the ability to shred CDs, DVDs or Blu-rays when using a high security shredder. A new shredder from Formax, the FD 8730HS (found here), has both high security shredding capabilities as well as the ability to destroy optical media.

At ABC Office we currently offer nearly 3-dozen different makes and models of high security paper shredders. While most of the shredders we sell are top-notch products, I am personally fond of Destroyit, Dahle and Formax shredders. Simply put, they are all solid machines. Formax, in particular, is such a great deal right now. Formax paper shredders have one of the best reputations with our customers.

The new Formax FD 8730HS is a unique beast. To begin with, ths NSA evaluated shredder can cross cut shred paper in a Level 6 pattern. This ends up being 1/32″ x 3/16″ (0.8mm x 4.8mm). This is as good as it gets when it comes to shredding top-secret information. A Level 6 cut document cannot be put back together, hence the title high security shredding. This shredder meets NSA/CSS specification 02-01 for Level 6 shredding.

The FD 8730HS has a very nice sheet capacity, capable of shredding 14-15 sheets of paper at a time. Considering the tiny cut pattern and the amount of cutting involved, that is a great sheet capacity. To compliment this capacity, the FD 8730HS is equipped with a generous 31-gallon bin. It takes a lot of shredding to fill a 31-gallon bin with paper. The feed opening measures in at 9 3/8″, which is wide enough to handle most paper.

Most military and government entities that destroy paper also need to destroy sensitive records stored on optical media. An independent slot, which measures in at 4 7/8″ inches, can be used to shred and destroy CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, credit cards and even CR-80 ID badges (30 mils thick). Having this independent slot eliminates the need to have two different shredders. The FD 8730HS even includes an independent 18.5-gallon bin to catch and separate the optical media particles from the paper particles. This is ideal for sorting and for recycling purposes.

The FD 8730HS keeps the operator in the know during the entire shredding process. The control panel lets the operator know exactly how much stress the motor is under by means of load indicator lights. The control panel also has a series of LED lights that let you know when the door is open, bag is full, when a jam occurs and much more.

The feature that I really like, which is uncommon in most paper shredders, is the automatic oiler. An oiler lubricates the intricate cutting blades as needed, which is a very nice feature to have on hand. It is well known and documented that oiled paper shredders last significantly longer than non-oiled shredders.

This shredder is fast, reliable and is a great value. As is the case with all Formax shredders, the FD 8730HS features durable metal construction, pristine cutting blades and the best electronics available for paper shredders.

You can find the Formax FD 8730HS high security shredder here and our entire selection of high security paper shredders here. Please feel free to contact one of our experts at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Do Comb Binding Machines Exist with Electric Comb Openers?

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Electric Comb Binding MachinesAbout 11 years ago I used to work for the Federal Government. In the mailroom they had a comb binding machine. I believe it may have been an Ibico, however, I was unfamiliar with makes and models (nor did I care) at the time. It looked like something from the 80s. I do remember that binding machine had an electric comb opener. I used the machine to bind a few reports and presentations as needed. One thing I do remember is that the motor that powered the electric opener was pathetically underpowered and had a bad habit of stopping in the middle of the process.

As fate would have it, I have had customers ask me if we offered a similar machine. Just today I had a customer looking for a comb binding machine that had an electric comb opener. The problem they ran into is that they couldn’t find any machines with that capability. Comb binding machines were aplenty, but models with an electric opener weren’t around. She asked me if I knew of any.

Having researched this myself, I can tell you that some models do still exist with an electric comb opener, but none from well-known manufacturers that I’m aware of. There is a good reason for this. It is faster to use a manual comb opener than an electric comb opener.

While the punching portion of comb binding requires a lot of effort (hence the advantage of an electric punch), the comb opener requires little effort. Even with the electric comb openers the operator is still required to place the comb on the opener’s fingers by hand. The only difference is that with the electric opener you push a button and wait, where the manual version requires you to tilt a tiny lever.

Even the most robust and complex Akiles, Renz, Tamerica and Intelli-Bind electric comb binding machines still have manual comb openers. This is because, as I have mentioned earlier, manual comb openers are faster and have fewer issues.

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

Best Paper Shredders to Consider in 2012

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Best Paper Shredders 2012The new year is upon us, which means it’s time for another “best of” paper shredders list for 2012. The year 2011 brought us many new makes and models including the launch of the Dahle CleanTEC line of paper shredders. Last year I created a top 10 best paper shredders list. While I still want to recommend high-quality paper shredders, this list will be broken down by where the shredder will be used.

There are 4 main categories people typically consider looking at when buying a paper shredder. This includes, small business, departmental and high security paper shredders. I will include the top 5 best paper shredders for each category.

I am not going to include cheap “temporary” paper shredders that are designed to last 6-12 months. These paper shredders are hardy, designed to be used on a daily basis and should last for years. While there are other shredders out there that are equally as reliable, these are the shredders that not only offer quality, but also have a great reputation with our customers.

Best Home Office Shredders 2012Top 5 Best Home Office Paper Shredders 2012

You can find our entire selection of home office paper shredders here.

Best Small Office Shredders 2012Top 5 Best Office Paper Shredders 2012

You can find our entire selection of office paper shredders here.

Best Departmental Paper Shredders 2012Top 5 Best Departmental Paper Shredders 2012

You can find our entire selection of departmental paper shredders here.

Best High Security Shredders 2012Top 5 Best High Security Shredders 2012 (Level 6)

You can find our entire selection of high security shredders here.

Sometimes I wish I could make this list longer since there are so many great models out there. While I can only list 5 per category, you can find our entire selection of paper shredders by visiting our site here. We also offer a great selection of paper shredder oil and paper shredder bags.

Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. Our experts are more than happy to help.

Overview of the Formax FD 1200 AutoSeal Pressure Sealer

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Formax FD 1200 AutoSeal Pressure SealerPressure sealers save money by eliminating the need for envelopes and creating a tamper-proof letter that can be used for mailing bills, invoices, checks and much more. One of the most affordable pressure sealers money can buy is the Formax FD 1200 AutoSeal. Being that this machine is so affordable, will it get the job done? I will answer that question and more in this article.

To start off this article, I would like to explain why Formax is considered to be such a reputable manufacturer. Formax, based out of Dover, NH, has been making envelope stuffing machines (aka folder inserters) for over a decade now. They are also well known for their paper folding machines and paper shredders (many of which are made in the USA). These machines are considered to be the best in the industry. As you might expect, their pressure sealers are considered to be equally reputable.

The FD 1200 is the least expensive entry-level pressure sealer Formax offers. While it isn’t the most robust machine offered, it is very good at what it does. It can be used to fold and seal invoices, notices, checks, grade reports, rebates, utility bins, basic forms, PIN mailers, direct mailers, W-2s and much more. It can be used to fold and seal pressure seal paper up to 8 ½” x 14″ in size.

While perhaps not the fastest pressure sealer out there, it can be used to fold and seal forms at a speed of about 35 sheets per minute. This is about 1 every 2 seconds. It has a duty cycle of 10,000 forms per month, which is pretty good considering the size and price.

Having set up this machine myself, I can vouch for how easy it is to get up and running. It has two folding plates that are set up much like a manual paper folding machine. By adjusting 2 folding plates, this machine can be set up to fold and seal paper in a Z fold, C fold, uneven Z, uneven C, half and custom fold patterns. Once the folding plates are set, getting the machine started is as simple as pressing a big green button.

This machine is insulated to help dampen sound, but it will still make noise. I would consider it to be slightly louder than your typical paper folding machine. This is due in part to the heavy steel rollers that are literally bursting open glue pockets found in pressure seal paper.

The build quality of this pressure sealer is exceptional. It weighs 55 pounds and is made out of all metal construction. It definitely has some heft to it, but it can be used on most desks and tables.

Remember, while this is a great machine, it is designed for entry-level applications. As of the writing of this article, Formax offers well over a dozen different models of pressure sealers, with some capable of folding and sealing over 40,000 sheets per hour. That should give you an idea of the range of machines that are out there.

You can find the Formax FD 1200 here and our entire selection of Formax pressure sealers here. If you have questions about using a pressure sealer, which machine you need or even where to find supplies, please feel free to contact one of our mailing specialists at 1-800-658-8788.

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