Archive for March, 2012

Banner American Pouch and Roll Laminator Alternatives

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Banner American PL12a Pouch Laminator AlternativesIn case you haven’t heard, the iconic manufacturer of pouch and roll laminators, Banner American, recently went out of business. While you can still find a few of their laminators here and there (lingering stock), people are now wondering which laminators are good alternatives. Banner laminators were probably some of the best on the market. Luckily there are some great alternatives out there.

Banner American was easily one of my favorite laminator manufacturers. They made laminators like the PL12A, Pl4A, PL100, Easy Lam and many other laminators. Their products were mostly made in America and lasted literally for years. I remember us having a PL12A out on our showroom for 5+ years without issue. We used it to laminate samples, test pouches, shoot video demos, for demonstrations and more. I know of customers who had their PL laminators for over a decade.

I would like to produce a list of some Banner American laminators and their ideal alternatives. These pouch and roll laminators should perform on an equal level to the old Banner American laminators.

  • Banner American MightyLam-2700HC AlternativeBanner American PL4A Alternative – The best replacement for this laminator is the Akiles Pro-Lam 100 (found here). This laminator is still 4″ wide and is still perfect for quickly laminating ID badges.
  • Banner American PL12A Alternative – An ideal replacement for this laminator is the Akiles ProLam 320 (found here). This laminator is just ¼” wider than the PL12A and features a very similar build quality.
  • Banner American PL135 Alternative – A great 13″ wide alternative to this laminator is the Akiles iLam 340 (found here). This laminator accepts most pouches and is just as good.
  • Banner American PL135-4 Alternative – A good replacement to the PL135-4 is the Akiles ProLam Plus 330 (found here). This laminator has a comparable 13″ width and in my opinion is a better laminator.
  • Banner American Easy Lam Alternative – A comparable laminator to the classic Banner American Easy Lam is the Tamerica TCC2700 (found here). This laminator accepts the same film as the Easy Lam while producing similar results.
  • Banner American Easy Lam II Alternative – A great replacement to this iconic roll laminator is the GBC Ultima 65 (found here). It is still a 27″ roll laminator and can still be used in schools to laminate posters, signs, banners and more.
  • Banner American MightyLam 2700HC Alternative – The standard MightyLam 2700 and newer MightyLam 2700 were both classics. A great alternative to this classic is the GBC Pinnacle 27″ roll laminator (found here). It has about the same build quality and duty cycle. Another good alternative is the Ledco Professor 27″ Laminator.
  • Banner American ValueLam 4500HC Alternative – This laminator was one of Banner American’s heaviest-duty models. It could be used for laminating, mounting and more.  There are a couple of laminators that compare, although they are a bit more of an investment. The first is the Pro-Lam PL-244WF and the second is the MRL 42 Roll Laminator.

While it is extremely sad to see a valued manufacturer like Banner American go, it is nice to know that there are some high-quality alternatives out there. I have personally used laminators from Tamerica, GBC, Ledco and Akiles and can vouch for the fact that you will be just as happy with them as you would have been with the Banner American alternative.

We also carry a great selection of other laminating machines that you may want to consider using. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here and roll laminators here. If you need additional help finding a Banner American alternative, please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788.

Akiles DuoMac 421 2-in-1 Wire and Coil Binding Machine Review

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Akiles DuoMac 421 Two-in-One Coil and Wire Binding MachineTwo of the most common and popular binding methods used today is coil binding (found here) and wire binding (found here). Both of these formats are used to bind reports, presentations, books, manuals and more. While both formats look great, it can be a bit costly to buy two “good” binding machines, not to mention the amount of space it takes up on a desk or table. The solution to this problem is to use what’s known as a combination or 2-in-1 binding machine. One solid machine you may want to consider using is the Akiles DuoMac 421 (found here).

Akiles is easily one of the best known manufacturers of book binding machines. Their CoilMac is the best selling coil binding machine to date. That just goes to show you how desirable their machines are. Three of their most popular lines of binding machines include the MegaBind, WireMac and CoilMac. Why are their machines so popular? It has a lot to do with the build quality and just how easy the machines are to use.

The Akiles DuoMac is a line of combination 2-in-1 binding machines. This includes coil / wire, comb / coil, comb / wire and many other combinations. Many of the DuoMac machines look like something concocted in Frankenstein’s laboratory. While these machines are literally a mish mash of multiple machines into one machine, they work remarkably well.

I decided to review the DuoMac 421 because it combines comb and wire, which are very popular right now. Not only does it combine these two formats, it combines the most popular hole patterns in both. The DuoMac 421 has a 2:1 pitch twin loop wire punch and a 4:1 pitch coil patter. The pitch is the amount of holes the machine punches per inch. A 4:1 pitch, for example, has four holes punched per inch of paper. Once you have a machine with a specific hole pattern, you need to make sure you purchase supplies that correspond with that pattern.

The DuoMac 421 has a coil binding punch on the front and a wire binding punch in the back. Both of the punching handles are located on the right side of the machine (a plus for those of you who are right handed). The two handles don’t get in the way of each other and each are leveraged to easily punch through up to 20 sheets of paper at a time. It can also be used to punch through clear covers (found here) and binding covers (found here).

The coil punch has five disengageable punching pins and the wire punch is completely disengageable. This is awesome if you like to punch sheet lengths of various sizes. It eliminates half-punched holes along the edge of the paper.

The wire punch has a 14″ punching length and the coil punch has a 13″ punching length. Both punches are open ended, which means you can actually punch longer lengths of paper by simply sliding the paper out the side of the machine and punching again.

The Akiles DuoMac 421 has a wire closer on the front of the machine, including a convenient wire hanger. The lever on the left-side of the machine is used for closing wire. Simply adjust the wire closer to coincide wit the diameter of wire you are using. This will ensure that the wire is closed perfectly. You never want wire to be under closed (pages fall out) or over closed (looks bad and pages are hard to turn).

Unfortunately this machine does not have an electric coil inserter. Based on my own capabilities, I am able to manually spin a coil through punched holes in about 20-30 seconds, which isn’t bad, however, it isn’t as fast as an electric inserter (3-5 seconds). A free pair of coil crimping pliers is included, which is a nice value in and of itself.

Overall I have to say that this is a solid piece of machinery. If you are a business, school, church or organization that wants a two-in-one machine, this is definitely one to consider. It takes up a much smaller footprint than owning two machines and is perfect for binding a few dozen to a few hundred books a day.

You can find the Akiles DuoMac 421 here and our entire selection of two-in-one binding machines here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with questions or post your question here as a comment. Happy binding!

Invoice Folding Machines (Business Automation Tips)

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Invoice Folding MachinesWe’re supposed to live in a paperless society now, right? With computers, laptops, iPads, Android devices and other useful tools to assist us, a lot of paper use is down. Many businesses, however, still deal with inbound and outbound mail on a regular basis. Much of this mail comes in the form of invoices. It should come as no surprise that folding and mailing invoices takes a lot of time. Luckily, there are several machines available designed to make folding and mailing invoices easier.

Most invoices are either folded and inserted into an envelope or the yare put into a package. The most common type of fold used for invoices is what’s known as a C-fold (aka Letter Fold). This type of fold involves 3 panels and 2 folds. The second most common type of fold for invoices is the accordion fold (aka Z Fold). Here is diagram showing both types of folds:

Letter / Accordion Paper Folds

Invoice Folding Options

There are four different tools you can use to fold invoices. The first is by hand, the seconds is by using a paper folding machine, the third is by using a folder inserter and the fourth is by using a pressure sealer. I will explain each of these methods in detail and will cover the pros and cons of both.

  1. Hand Folding Paper – If you’re a small business, and only mail out a few invoices a day, folding paper by hand may be an option. The only problem with this is that hand-folded paper looks hand folded. What I mean by that is the skew is often off, which means the folded paper looks misaligned and unprofessional. Don’t forget about those annoying paper cuts as well.
  2. Paper Folding Machines (found here)Paper Folding MachinePaper folding machines use a couple of folding plates and a series of rollers to fold paper. This is the most common method used for folding paper and is very popular for folding invoices. Simply set your fold, insert a stack of paper and let the machine do the res. The only downside to a traditional paper folding machine is that you still have to manually insert the folded invoice into an envelope. Paper folding machines are accurate and create very professional folds.
  3. Envelope Stuffing Machines (found here)Envelope Stuffing MachinesEnvelope stuffing machines, sometimes called folder inserters, automate the invoice folding process. Much like a stand-alone paper folding machine, envelope stuffing machines will fold the invoice, insert it into an envelope and seal the envelope shut for mailing. These machine, depending on the model, can be used to fold multi-page invoices in a single pass. While automated envelope stuffing machines are more money than a stand-alone folding machine, they make up for that cost in time saved.
  4. Pressure Sealers (found here) Pressure Sealer MachinePressure sealers are excellent machines to have for single-sheet invoice mailing. Pressure sealers use special pressure activated paper. This paper has tiny bubbles of pressure-activated glue around the edges of the paper. As this paper is run through the pressure sealer, the pockets burst open and seal the invoice shut. The invoice can later be opened by tearing off the perforated edges. The nice thing about pressure sealers is there is no envelope involved, yet the folded invoice can still be mailed. The special pressure-seal paper (found here) can be used in an inkjet or laser printer and then be fed into the pressure sealer. The results look great, are professional and are secure.

The invoice-folding machine you use will depend entirely on the size of your business, how many invoices you fold per day and what your budget allows. I recommend a standard folding machine for entry level to mid-level folding and an envelope stuffing machine or pressure sealing machine for medium to higher-volume invoice folding.

We have been selling invoice-folding machines for over 30 years now and are able to provide you with a lot of advice and expertise. Please feel free to contact one of our specialists at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Top 8 Best Manual Coil Binding Machines

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Intelli-Bind IC410 Manual Coil Binding MachineThe hottest type of binding for 2012 is coil binding (found here). This versatile and easy-to-use binding format can be used to bind presentations, cookbooks, reports, manuals and more. While this all sounds great, which machine should you use for your own coil binding operations? There are a lot of machines out there. Some of them are garbage and others are diamonds in the rough. Which machine should you use? I would like to visit 8 machines that have a great reputation with our customers.

Coil binding, often referred to as spiral binding, is a way to bind pages of paper together using spring-like PVC plastic coil binding elements. These coils spin through punched holes in the paper. Once the coils have been spun through the holes, the ends are cut and crimped off using a tool called coil-crimping pliers. The entire process takes just a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on the experience level of the operator.

There are many reasons people choose coil over wire or comb. To begin with, pages bound in coil can turn a full 360 degrees. This makes access to bound literature extremely easy. This binding format also allows books to lay flat open on a table or surface. This again makes reading and handling easy.

Akiles iCoil 41+ Coil Binding MachineCoil binding comes in two different hole patterns. The hole pattern is referred to as the pitch. A 4:1 pitch coil binding machine punches 4 holes per inch of paper and a 5:1 pitch coil binding machine punches 5 holes per inch of paper. The 4:1 pitch can bind more paper than the 5:1 pitch as the holes are spaced farther apart. If you don’t plan on binding more than about an inch of paper, either hole pattern will work for you (matter of preference). Once you settle on a hole pattern, you will need to be sure the supplies you buy match up with the hole pattern of your machine.

So which machines should you consider buying? I will list of 8 best sellers, but first I would like to familiarize you with a few reliable brands. If you’re shopping for a machine, consider a brand like Akiles, Tamerica, Intelli-Bind or Renz. These four brands are solid machines.

These 8 machines are what are known as manual coil binding machines. This means the punching is done by manually pulling a handle. The coil insertion process, however, is often still done with an electric motor while still being called a “manual” machine. Without further wait, here is my list.

Top 8 Best Manual Coil Binding Machines (Sorted by lowest to highest price)

I have hands-one experience with each of these machines. They’re solid. You won’t be disappointed. That said, you should still get a machine that is appropriate for the amount of books you are binding per day. If you would like to bind several hundred books a day, you may still want to  consider going with an electric coil binding machine (found here). Electric punches help speed up the process and require less manual effort to bind a book.

At ABC Office we offer a huge selection of coil binding machines (found here) and coil binding supplies (found here). We have been selling coil binding machines for over 30 years and have the experience and the knowledge to help you find a good machine. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Polyolefin Shrink Film and Food Packaging

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Shrink Film for PackagingPackaging food with shrink film (found here) such as pizza, cheese, fruits and chocolate doesn’t just look good, but it is also sanitary and a great way to preserve food. There are a few things that you will need to know before packaging food using shrink wrap. For one, some grades of shrink film are not safe for use with food, where others are FDA approved. This article will cover the most popular food grade film known as polyolefin shrink film (found here).

First off, what is shrink film? Shrink film, sometimes referred to as shrink wrap packaging, is used to protect, bundle and preserve products. The film used is designed to contract and shrink when heat is applied. You may have seen shrink film on your DVDs, Blu-rays, Xbox games and more. It is very popular for retail packaging. Shrink film is affordable, easy to use / manipulate and can be used to package most retail products.

While boxes, DVDs, software and other items are popular to be packaged with shrink film, food is also another popular applicator for shrink film. The most popular film used today, known as PVC shrink film, is not usually safe for use with food. There are some exceptions. If you’re not sure what type of film you have, here are the characteristics of both Polyolefin and PVC film.

Traco I-Bar Shrink Wrap MachineShrink Film Characteristics

  • PVC Shrink Film – PVC film is a clear shrink film that once shrunk has a brittle characteristic to it. It is often used in non-food packaging. It can be very thick and typically ranges from 75 to 100 gauge thick. The higher the gauge, the thicker the film.
  • Polyolefin Shrink Film – Polyolefin film is a clear shrink film that has stretchy characteristics, making it ideal for use where PVC film may crack or break open. The stretchy characteristics of poly film are often compared to saran wrap.

Some PVC film is OK for indirect use with film. An example of this would be our PVC dome shrink bags (found here). These bags use an PDA approved PVC film that is OK for indirect use with food. An example of this would be a gift basket.

As a general rule, polyolefin is going to be your best bet with direct contact to film. Polyolefin, sometimes called poly film, is available in centerfold rolls for use with both I-bar (found here) and L-bar shrink wrap machines (found here). Polyolefin is typically more durable than PVC film, which means you usually don’t need as thick a gauge of film to accomplish what you could do with PVC. A 60 gauge poly film will be about as durable as 75 gauge PVC film.

Minipack Shrink Wrap MachineOne misconception that people have about polyolefin is that their base model shrink wrap machine, that uses PVC film, can’t use it. I used to think that myself as someone years ago told me a standard shrink wrap tunnel or heat gun didn’t produce enough heat to shrink polyolefin. I later discovered, from our manufacturer Traco, that most shrink wrap machines can use both PVC or polyolefin film and they both take about the same amount of heat to shrink. If you are considering packaging food using your old shrink wrap machine, you should be able to simply swap out your old PVC roll of film for a polyolefin roll. It is that easy.

I have used Polyolefin film on a standard I-bar sealer with a heat gun and it works great! I have also used polyolefin film on a variety of different Minipack, AIE and Traco shrink wrap machines with excellent results.

For those of you who love science, here is a technical explanation on exactly what Polyolefin film is straight from Wikipedia:

A polyolefin is a polymer produced from a simple olefin (also called an alkene with the general formula CnH2n) as amonomer. For example, polyethylene is the polyolefin produced by polymerizing the olefin ethylene. An equivalent term is polyalkene; this is a more modern term, although polyolefin is still used in the petrochemical industry. Polypropyleneis another common polyolefin which is made from the olefin propylene.

So there you have it! Everything you could possibly want to know about polyolefin shrink film. We have been selling centerfold polyolefin shrink film for use with I-bar and L-bar machines for years. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions about shrink wrap or packaging. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

David-Link Time Clock Software & PDF Setup Manual

Monday, March 12th, 2012

David-Link Time ClocksDavid-Link time clocks (found here) are now some of the most popular employee time clocks used today. There are many reasons for this. To begin with, David-Link time clocks are extremely affordable and come packed with features. Many of their time clocks include biometric, proximity and keypad time logging features. In order to get the most out of our time clock, you will want to set up the software. Here are a few tips that will help you get your time clock up and going.

To begin with, you will need the David-Link software. If for any reason you do not have your software disc, you can download the basic version of David Link Time Management Software (DLTMS) directly from us:

Once you have your software installed, you will need to begin setting up employees and other features. David-Link has created a nice multi-page PDF manual that goes into great detail on how to set everything up. This is the PDF manual for David Link software:

The manual covers the following categories:

Setting Up and Employee Profile

  • When setting up your software, be sure that the employee enroll number in the software and the employee ID number on the device match up.
  • If necessary, check the days off that apply to each employee.
  • Assign an appropriate shift number for each employee. Shift numbers can be edited under the “Shift” setting option (advance only).

Shift Setting: Standard & Flexible

  • There are two types of shift settings available in the David-Link software. These are standard and flexible. Apply the setting that best suits your needs. The standard shift setting is recommended for employees that have fixed schedules. Flexible shift setting is recommended for most part-time employees.
  • If you are using the flexible shift setting and your employee works after midnight, check the box “Cut-Off” so the system can generate the correct report.

OT Authorization

  • You will first need to create an overtime code. You can do this under the “Employee Posting” tab.
  • Don’t forget to select all the employees that are permitted to work overtime.

Holiday Setting (Advance Only)

  • Legal and special holidays are required fields in order to generate the appropriate employee attendance report.

Leave Application (Advance Only)

  • This option is designed to permit and record employees who take days off on days other than holidays and weekends.
  • There are two steps to set up the leave application.
  • Assign a leave code and description to distinguish different types of leave.
  • When applying the leave option to your employee, don’t forget to choose the correct employee’s name.

Download

  • There are three ways to download and import data from your device to the David-Link Time Management Software.
  • Exporting data can be done via an Ethernet connection, a flash drive or a USB cable.

Virtual Timecard

  • Under the “Time Cards” option, you can view, add, delete and edit transactions for each employee.

Delete Timecard or Add / Edit Time Card

  • This software will allow you to add, delete and edit records under the “Time Cards” option.

Reports

  • Make sure your computer is connected with a printer in order to preview reports available in the software.
  • All reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel format (Advance Only)

There you go! Those are all the categories covered in the manual. Once you have the software figured out, you will discover just how powerful and user-friendly David-Link time clocks can be. We sell these time clocks every day and they have an excellent reputation with our customers. While this software and PDF manual are helpful, we understand that you may still have some questions. Please call us at 1-800-658-8788 with your David-Link time clock questions.

You can find our entire selection of David-Link time clocks by going here.

Minipack Inert Gas Flush Kit for Vacuum Sealers

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Minipack Chamber Vacuum SealersIf you need to provide maximum shelf life for vacuum-sealed food, without removing all of the air, you need to use what’s known as an inert gas kit. Minipack, one of the leading manufactures of commercial and industrial vacuum food sealers (found here), offers inert gas flush kits for all their chamber machines. This article will cover what is involved in an inert gas kit and why you may want one for yourself.

Vacuum sealers, out of the box, can be used to remove air from a bag for preservation purposes. Minipack vacuum sealers can remove 99.9% of the air in a bag. For food preservation purposes, this gets the job done. The only problem is that not everyone wants to remove all of the air. Many fruits, vegetables, chips, bread products and other food will be damaged and crushed if all the air is removed. By using an inert gas flush kit, air can still be left in the bag and thus the food itself is not damaged.

Why swap out the air? One of the most damaging gasses you can have in packaged food is oxygen. This is because most food-damaging life forms and bacteria use oxygen. In practice, the removal of that oxygen will eliminate the very gas needed to sustain life. This is done by re-balancing the gasses.

Re-balancing of gasses is most economically done via an inert gas kit. The inert gas kit is used to flush out oxygen (O2). Oxygen makes up about 20.9% of the air we breath. The gas kit creates a modified atmosphere, which is process of moving the 20.9% oxygen content down to 0%. By removing the oxygen, and replacing it with another gas, food shelf life can be dramatically extended.

While the oxygen is removed, it has to be replaced by another gas. One of the most popular inert gasses used is nitrogen (N2). Another inert gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), which helps cut down on bacterial growth while lowering the PH. Carbon monoxide has even been used as an inert gas as it helps red meet retain a bright red color. These gasses are all considered to be safe for use with food. The gas used will ultimately depend on the product being packaged.

As mentioned earlier, Minipack offers an inert gas flush kit for all their machines. That kit must be factory installed, so you will want to request it when purchasing a new machine. The price of the kit varies from one machine to another.

Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 for more information on an inert gas flush kit for your Minipack chamber vacuum sealer. You can find our entire selection of Minipack vacuum sealers here. You are more than welcome to call us with your questions or you can simply post your question here as a comment.

Business Card Laminating Pouches – A Professional Finish

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Laminating Business CardsWhile many things in this world have gone digital, business cards still play an important role in helping establish contacts and promoting an individual or business. There are many ways to create, produce and print business cards. Some are glossy, some have a dull luster and others are created on a laser printer. Regardless of the style of business card you use, you can benefit from laminating them with a business card laminating pouch (found here).

Lamination adds a lot of qualities and benefits to a business card. Aesthetically, it looks great. A laminated business card has a nice shine and glossy “new” look to it. If you don’t like the glossy look, matte pouches are also available. Laminated business cards have several other benefits:

  • They have a longer lifespan.
  • They don’t get bent out of shape.
  • They are less likely to be discarded.
  • They have a professional sturdy feel to them.
  • They are waterproof.
  • They stand out from other business cards.

Business Card Laminating PouchesBusiness card laminating pouches measure in at 2 ¼” x 3 ¾” in size (5.72 cm x 9.53 cm). The standard business card is 2″ x 3.5″ in size. The laminating pouch adds a thin border around the card for added security and durability. This border is usually no more than 1/8″ wide. While most people are fine with a small border, it can be trimmed off by using a rotary paper cutter (found here).

Business card laminating pouches are typically sold in quantities of 100 per box and generally cost less than $5 per pack. They come in different thicknesses, referred to as mil thickness (1 mil = .001″). The higher the mil thickness, the thicker the pouch.

Which mil thickness should you use? In the business card size, there are 5, 7 and 10 mil thick options. The thickness you use really depends on the thickness of your card. If your business card is printed on card stock, you are probably going to be fine with a 5 mil thick pouch. Five mils is the most popular thickness. If you are printing your own business cards on thin stock or standard copy paper, I recommend using a 7 mil thick pouch. Once all is said and done, a 10-mil pouch will give our business card the thickness, weight and feel of a credit card.

Laminating a business card is easy. Place your business card in the pouch, place the pouch in a carrier and run it through a laminator (found here). Once done, you may want to consider rounding the corners by using a corner rounder (found here).

At ABC Office, we offer bulk quantity discounts. We offer price breaks at 5 boxes, 10 boxes, 25 boxes and 50 boxes of film. We are a wholesaler for laminating pouches, so we can typically get you the best price possible. If for any reason you find the price for less, we can almost always match it. You can find our entire selection of business card laminating pouches here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Minipack Galileo Replaced by the Minipack RP55

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Minipack Galileo Shrink Wrap MachineI can’t really explain why Minipack has discontinued the extremely popular Minipack Galileo, being that it was one of the best selling shrink wrap systems available. What I can say, however, that it has been replaced by a very solid machine, the Minipack RP55 (found here). I would like to show you just how the old machine and the new replacement stack up next to each other.

The Minipack Galileo was immensely popular for several reasons. To begin with, it was affordable. While the old saying “you get what you pay for” is often true, that statement did not apply to the Galileo. The low price did not signify low quality. There were several machines that were more money that I didn’t feel held up to the quality of the Galileo. The Galileo also had a large sealing chamber that could be used to package small items, such as CDs, or larger items like pizzas.

Minipack RP55 Shrink Wrap MachineThe new Minipack RP55 is a solid machine that ads a modern look to a traditional design. It still has all the features of the Galileo such as an integrated tunnel, an impulse l-sealer and an easy-to-use control panel. The new RP55, unlike the Galileo, includes a 500-foot roll of centerfold shrink-wrap film. The only downside is that the chamber is one inch smaller in width and length.

I would like to post the chamber and sealing specifications for both machines.

Minipack Galileo

  • 21″ x 17″ x 8″

Minipack RP55

  • 20″ x 16″ x 8″

As you can see, these two specifications are both very close. They both operate at about the same speed and can both be used with Polyolefin and PVC centerfold shrink wrap film up to 24″ wide. They are also both 220 volt machines.

The RP55 shrink wrap machine can be ordered with an optional entry film opener, stainless steel entry plate and automatic waste winder. You can also get a taller hood for the RP 55 if the 8″ height isn’t quite enough.

You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap systems here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 to request a quote, to place an order or to get answers to your questions.

Using AIE Bag Sealers for Food Storage Purposes

Monday, March 5th, 2012

AIE-305A1 Bag SealerI had an opportunity over the weekend to package food in #10 cans and foil bag pouches for food storage purposes. I packaged black beans, potato flakes, spaghetti, oats and more. It actually ended up being really fun. What really surprised me is that the facility I was at was using an AIE-305A1 bag sealer (found here), which we just happen to sell here at ABCOffice.com. It was fun to see a piece of equipment, which we offer, being used in the wild

So what is a bag sealer (aka heat sealer)? Have you ever purchased a bag of beef jerky, a bag of candies, opened a hard drive from an anti-static bag or torn open a Mylar bag that was full of dried fruit? These are all items that were sealed using a bag sealer. These sealers use heat to seal the open end of plastic bags for packaging and preservation purposes. These bags range in thickness, size and material composition. The bag you use will depend entirely on what you are packaging.

Mylar Barrier Bags for Heat SealersThe foil pouch bags (aka Mylar barrier bags) that I was using were made of multiplayer laminated plastic and aluminum. The bags were 7 mils thick (1 mil = .001″) and are designed to protect food from moisture, rodents, insects and other environmental factors that can decrease the life of food. The pouches I was using were designed to hold up to a gallon of food. This was large enough to hold 7 pounds of wheat, 5 pounds of dry milk or 6.8 pounds of white rice. These bags were lined with food grade plastic. The aluminum barrier helps to prevent moisture and oxygen.

If you want to package food for long term storage (sometimes up to 30 years at a time), the food will need to meat few criteria:

  • The food has to be dry (10% moisture or less)
  • Low in oil content
  • Shelf-stable

Using the AIE-305A1 bag sealer (found here) was extremely easy. These are the steps I took to package my food:

AIE-305A1 Settings: Set the recycle dial to 2, the Congealing dial to 6, the Sealing dial to 4 and the Action Selector switch to manual. I recommend setting the heat sealer 5 inches above the table or desk surface. This can be done by setting it on a block of wood, books or something else that can support and elevate the machine. This makes operation easier.

  1. Fill the pouch with the food product. Don’t overfill the back as this can result in a poor seal. If you are packaging powder, be sure the area that will be sealed is clean.
  2. Place an oxygen absorber on the top of the food inside the pouch.
  3. Turn on the AIE heat sealer.
  4. Place the open end of the pouch into the machine. Let the bag rest on the table or shelf.
  5. Pull the sides of the pouch outward to ensure everything is flat.
  6. Fold the top of the pouch over (at about 1 ½” from the top) at a right angle.
  7. Now press the bag and expel remaining air from inside.
  8. Open the folded top bag open for sealing.
  9. Hold the bag by the sides and insert the open end of the pouch into the heat sealers jaw.
  10. Remove any wrinkles.
  11. Activate the AIE heat sealers jaw by pressing the foot pedal.

There you go! It is recommended to test the seal for any leaks. If any air can be forced out or if the seam can be pulled apart, you may need to re-seal the bag. You may also need to adjust the sealing dial from 4 to 4.25. If the seams seem to be burned, decrease the sealing dial from 4 to 3.75. Also remember to not overfill the pouches as this will result in a poor seal as well.

Where should sealed pouches be stored? I recommend putting sealed pouches of food in a cool and dry location. This should preferably be in a rodent-free area as rodents can chew through the aluminum / plastic material. If you have a rodent issue, you can place the sealed bags of food in a metal trashcan or other rodent-proof container.

While the 14″ wide AIE-305A1 (5mm seal) was the machine of choice where I was packaging food, you can use other heat sealers to complete the process.

American International Electric (AIE) makes some of the best heat sealers, bag sealers and shrink wrap machines available. Their machines have an industrial look to them and are made from solid metal components and long-lasting electronics. You can find our entire selection of AIE heat sealers here and our entire selection of bag heat sealers here.

Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions regarding heat sealers. You can also leave your questions here as a comment.

by Category