Archive for January, 2013

Make Your Own Horse Bedding from Cardboard

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Cardboard Shredders for Making Horse BeddingWhen you think of cardboard, the last thing that probably comes to your mind is horse bedding. Believe it or not, however, shredded cardboard is quickly becoming a favorite horse bedding material for horse owners. There are many reasons why this is the case. I would like to cover all of the reasons in this article and would like to recommend some cardboard shredders (found here) that you may want to consider using for your own horse bedding production.

At ABC Office we sell a lot of office equipment and supplies designed to help streamline and simplify business operations. A few years ago we started noticing that stable operators and owners were purchasing cardboard shredders. As we came to find out, these people where purchasing the shredders to quickly and easily shred cardboard down into soft horse bedding. So why use cardboard?

Advantages of using cardboard for horse bedding:

  • Availability – Cardboard is readily available. In fact, many department stores simply throw away used boxes and are more than willing to give them away. This means zero cost for the actual cardboard material.
  • Environmentally Sound – Cardboard quickly breaks down back into soil, making it excellent for compost and for environmentally sound disposal. This is also a material that is often thrown away, allowing you to get a second use out of it.
  • Texture – While you may think cardboard sounds uncomfortable, it is actually remarkably soft. From what customers have told me, horses love to lie down and sleep on it.
  • Cleanup – Sweeping up, shoveling and cleaning soiled or old cardboard shreddings is very easy and is actually easier in many cases than straw or wood shavings.

Things to watch out for:

  • Staples – You don’t want sharp objects in your shredded cardboard as this may pose a health hazard to horses. While many boxes are glued together, some are stapled. If you are using boxes that include staples, be sure to remove them before shredding the boxes.
  • Dust – The cardboard shredders we offer cut cardboard in a waffle pattern that creates very little dust. If you aren’t using a dedicated cardboard shredder, you will want to be careful that there isn’t too much dust that could adversely affect the respiratory health of the horse.

Different Cardboard Shredder Models:

  • HSM Profi Pack 400 (found here) – This is a very affordable and compact cardboard shredder that is perfect for areas with limited space. It uses hardened steel rollers to quickly chop up cardboard into horse bedding.
  • Martin Yale PacMate (found here) – This shredder easily sits on the end of a table or bench and has a nice bag holder for catching the shredded cardboard as it leaves the machine.
  • HSM Profi Pack 425 (found here) – This is the king of all cardboard shredders and is excellent for shredding a lot of cardboard throughout the day. It can handle cardboard in upwards of 2-3 layers thick. This shredder cuts down cardboard at a speed of 39 feet per minute, making it extremely fast.

All three of the above-mentioned models work great and have proven themselves to be solid machines. They are all easy to use and can all be used for creating horse bedding. We are more than happy to send you a sample of shredded cardboard upon request. If you have additional questions about cardboard shredders and how they work, please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788.

Review of the Formax FD 6204 Envelope Inserter

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Formax FD 6204 Envelope InserterIf you are in the market for a new envelope-inserting machine, you are going to love the all-new Formax FD 6204 (found here). This envelope inserter, sometimes called a folder inserter, is available in four different models, depending on what you need to fold and insert. This modern machine will take your paper, fold it, insert it into an envelope and seal the envelope shut. Is this all-in-one machine a good choice for you? Read on!

There are many reasons why you may want to use an envelope-inserting machine. For one, they are many times faster than trying to manually fold and insert documents. The quality is also significantly better, with folds being perfectly aligned and crisp. The FD 6204 comes in a few different versions, depending on how many sheets you need to fold and insert and whether or not you need an insert or business reply envelope added.

The FD 6204 replaces the extremely popular FD 6202. As a machine, it is almost exactly the same as the FD 6202 with a few modern improvements. One such improvement is the touch screen interface. The older FD 6202 required you to navigate the menu via buttons on the right side of the screen. The FD 6204 lets you quickly touch the screen and select what you need to do. This intuitive interface makes it possible to set the machine up with as little as one touch of the screen. It also includes a daily mail feature that allows for the quick feeding of stapled and non-stapled sets.

The FD 6204 can handle documents up to 14″ long. Many of our customers use this machine for folding and inserting documents such as checks, newsletters, invoices and more. You can purchase the 6204 in four different versions. These include the FD 6204-Basic (one sheet feeder), the FD 6204-Basic 2 (two sheet feeders), the FD 6204-Advanced 1 (one sheet feeder and one insert / BRE feeder) and the FD 6204-Advanced 2 (two sheet feeders and one insert / BRE feeder).

The Formax FD 6204 can fold and insert paper at a speed of about 2,200 pieces per our and has a monthly duty cycle of 15,000 pieces. This makes this machine ideal for low to medium-volume applications. Each of the feed trays hold up to 325 sheets and they can be refilled on-the-fly, making it possible to continually run this machine. Models with two trays can also be set up to run so that when the top tray runs out, it immediately switches over to the seconds tray.

As mentioned earlier, this system uses a color touchscreen interface. It uses a job assistance wizard to help the operator quickly navigate through the system. The AutoSet feature automatically detects the paper width, length, envelope size and other details, making setup extremely easy. It can be used to create C, V, Z and double parallel folds. An integrated blade folding system keeps the folds crisp and accurate. For frequent jobs, this machine will allow you to store up to 15 customizable applications.

Here is a video showing the features of the FD 6204:

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

In conclusion, this is a very fast, effective and affordable machine for what it does. Formax has years of experience with folding and inserting machines and their machines are well known for reliability and build quality.  If you need samples tested, or simply have some questions, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of envelope inserters here.

Top 10 Best Guillotine Paper Cutters

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Best Guillotine Paper CuttersGuillotine paper cutters (found here) have come a long way over the years. These cutters used to be known as sharp blades attached to wood bases and were known for their keen ability to cut you. These same cutters, while you can still purchase the old school models, are now refined pieces of metal engineering with several integrated safety features.

Guillotine cutters are probably some of the most well rounded paper cutters available and can be used for cutting paper, photos, laminated material and more. So which models are considered the “best?” Having a decade of experience with these cutters under my belt, I would like to share with you some models that I like and have a great track record with our customers.

One thing I have found that over the years is that German is closely associated with quality in the paper cutting industry. German engineered and German built paper cutters are amazing. Another high-end feature to look for is Solingen. Solingen steel, again from Germany, is some of the strongest steel available and holds its edge remarkably well for cutting purposes. As a result, I have found Kutrimmer (by Ideal) and Dahle to be two very reputable manufacturers.

Here are what I consider to be the top 10 best guillotine paper cutters available (sorted lowest to highest price):

  1. MBM Kutrimmer 1134 (found here) – This is a 13 ¾” paper cutter that is perfect for trimming letter-size paper. It includes all the necessary safety guards and features a razor-sharp Solingen steel blade.
  2. MBM Kutrimmer 1135 (found here) – This cutter is similar to the 1134, but includes an automatic clamp with an Easy Lift release lever.
  3. Dahle 561 Premium Guillotine (found here) – This quality cutter comes from Dahle and is 14 ½” long. Unlike the Kutrimmer cutters that use a Lexan safety guard, this cutter has a corkscrew plastic guard that projects the blade during the cutting process.
  4. MBM Kutrimmer 1046 (found here) – This cutter features a nice 18″ cutting length. It includes an adjustable back gauge and a cutting line indicator. This is a nice cutter for trimming a wide range of paper sizes.
  5. MBM Kutrimmer 1035 (found here) – If you need to cut up to 50 sheets of standard paper at a time in a single pass, this 14 ¾” guillotine cutter is a great option. It features a very sturdy paper clamp to help keep those 50 sheets in place during the cutting process.
  6. Dahle 565 Premium Guillotine (found here) – The Dahle 565 premium guillotine has a 15 ½” cutting length and a 35 sheet trimming capacity. It includes a scale bar, an adjustable backstop and all the bells and whistles you would expect in a premium cutter.
  7. MBM Kutrimmer 1058 (found here) – This guillotine trimmer has a long 23″ cutting length while still being able to cut up to 40 sheets of paper at a time. As with all Kutrimmer paper cutters, this one includes a nice Solingen steel blade.
  8. MBM Kutrimmer 1071 (found here) – The 1071 ups the ante with a nice 28 ½” cutting length. It includes a nice paper clamp, an adjustable back stop and is still capable of cutting up to 40 sheets at this nice length. This is excellent for trimming a wide range of material.
  9. Dahle 567 Premium Guillotine (found here) – The Dahle 567 features a 21 ½” cutting length and a 30 sheet cutting capacity as well as a limited lifetime warranty. It ships equipped with a hand clamp, a lockable blade and an adjustable back stop.
  10. Dahle 569 Premium Guillotine (found here) – This is the largest premium guillotine Dahle offers, with a 27 ½” cutting length and a 30 sheet cutting capacity. As with the 567, this cutter includes a limited lifetime warranty.

There are some larger Kutrimmer trimmers available that would probably make this list other than the fact that they are extremely big and typically only used by print shops and businesses that deal with larger paper. You can find those larger cutters and our entire selection of guillotine paper cutters here.

If you have questions about any of the above-mentioned models, please feel free to give us at call at 1-800-658-8788. We have a lot of experience with these cutters and would love to help you out. We are also able to help with replacement blades and parts for all Kutrimmer and Dahle cutters.

Direct Heat Sealers vs Impulse Sealers – Which Should You Use?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

If you are shopping for a bag sealer, you have probably noticed that they seem to come in two different flavors. These are direct heat sealers and impulse sealers (found here). The type of sealer you purchase really depends on the type of bag you are trying to seal. Both types of sealers are designed to quickly seal bags shut for packaging purposes. At ABC Office we offer both types of sealers. I would like to discuss the difference between the two technologies and help you determine which type you should use.

  • Direct Heat Bag SealerDirect Heat Sealers (aka Constant Heat Sealers) – These sealers use constant heat to seal plastic shut. This usually involves both sides of the sealing jaw. This means that the jaws are constantly hot. These types of sealers are excellent for use with sealing thicker materials. Materials that are ideal for use with direct heat sealers include gusset bags, poly cello films, coated Kraft papers, cellophane, waxed paper, mylar, coated polypropylene (PP) and other thick materials. Because direct heat sealers remain hot while it use, a little extra caution is urged to prevent burns.
  • Impulse Bag SealersImpulse Sealers – These sealers don’t need to warm up. They use impulses of electricity to quickly heat up and seal a bag shut. Once the sealing process is complete, impulse sealers quickly cool down. These types of sealers are very convenient because they can be immediately used and the chance of being burned is minimal. These types of sealers are perfect for use with thermoplastic materials. This includes those made from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). Impulse sealers can be used with bags and plastics such as padded mailers, foil, coated bags, Kel-F, Polyethylene, Polyurethane, Pilofilm, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Polyvinylchloride, Nylon, Sara, Mylar, Tyve, Polyflex and bubble packs.

Both direct heat sealers and impulse sealers come in different designs, depending on the size of the bag, the volume you are working with and the usage. Here are the different types of sealers:

  • Hand Sealers – These sealers look a lot like an I-bar sealer and are extremely portable and easy to move around. These sealers use impulse-sealing technology and come in different lengths. Most can seal film up to 10 mil thick.
  • Foot Sealers (aka Pedestal Sealers) – These sealers are ideal for continuous sealing operations and situations where both hands are needed to position bags. They usually have some sort of foot pedal that can be pressed to bring down the sealing bar. You can find foot sealers in both impulse and direct heat designs, depending on what you are sealing. Most foot sealers handle film up to 15 mil thick. The heavier-duty direct heat sealers can often handle 20 mil bags.
  • Double Impulse Sealers – These are the toughest impulse sealers you can buy. These include two sealing bars (top & bottom) and can be used with film up to 20 mil thick. These sealers are ideal for heavy duty projects and applications.
  • Sealers w/ Cutters – These sealers are designed to quickly seal a bag shut and then cut off the excess plastic. The cutting blade is usually built into the sealing arm of the sealer.
  • Automatic Sealers – These are heavy-duty sealers designed for continuous operation throughout the day and come in semi-auto and fully automatic designs. They usually sit on a table or countertop. These are designed to be programmed to accommodate the film you are using and then repeat the seal over and over again.
  • Continuous Band Sealers (found here) – These are the fastest bag sealers you can buy. They are designed to seal bags on a mass scale and use a conveyor-style system to quickly seal bags shut. These come in horizontal, vertical and tilted designs.

There are a few things you will want to keep in mind when picking a bag sealer. First, you will want to determine the type of film you are using and establish whether you need a constant heat sealer or an impulse sealer. You will then need to determine the speed that you need to package. You will also need to establish the maximum sealing length you need and how wide you need the seal to be. The nichrome sealing wire, depending on the model, comes in 2mm, 3mm, 5mm, 8mm or 10mm sealing widths.

We carry several different brands of bag sealers. We have great luck with models from AIE, SealerSales and Traco. If you need additional assistance with finding a machine, or if you have some questions, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788.  You can find our entire selection of direct heat and impulse bag sealers here.

Why is Oak Wood So Popular for Furniture?

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Northern Red Oak PodiumAt ABC Office, we offer a wide assortment of lecterns, pulpits, chairs and tables (found here), much of it being made from northern red oak from New York State. While oak does look nice, why is it so popular in furniture? I would like to cover several of the benefits of oak furniture and why oak is so popular for use in hardwood furniture today.

Oak is a type of wood with a rich history, having been used by several countries and cultures over the past several centuries. Even as far back as the Vikings, oak was used in their more prestigious Viking longships. Into the middle ages oak was used for building frames, as furniture and can even be found in the House of Commons in London in the interior paneling. It was especially popular during the 19th century for building construction and shipbuilding.

So why is oak so popular? For starters, it is readily available in many parts of the world. Of course availability isn’t the only reason. It is also extremely hard and durable, having a density of 0.75 g/cm3, which is extremely dense and strong for use in furniture. Hardwood has a tendency of being stronger and lasting longer. The density, along with high tannin content, makes oak more resistant to both insect and fungal attacks.

Historically both red and white oaks were two of the most common types used in the United States. White oak is lighter in color than red oak and white oak has longer grain rays. Because white oak is waterproof, it was the most common wood used in shipbuilding. Red oak on the other hand was very popular for hardwood floors, railroad ties and wagon wheels.

Today white and red oaks are still used, with red oak being especially popular for furniture. Other types of oak used include such varieties as natural oak, tiger oak, pippy oak, burr oak and more. The different varieties of oak have different densities and wood patterns. The type of oak used often depends on preference and regional availability.

Unfinished oak is second only to pine and when it comes to popularity and it is known for its ability to stain nicely. It is ideal for use in high-use environments due to its durability.

Much of our furniture at ABC Office is made using northern red oak from New York State. This is because northern red oak is very durable and has an absolutely beautiful wood grain pattern. One of our manufacturers, Woerner, uses this wood for their lecterns, pulpits, tables and chairs. Many of our other manufacturers, such as Wooden Mallet (found here) and Executive Wood, also use high quality oak wood in much of their furniture manufacturing.

When you buy a piece of furniture made using oak, you are almost guaranteed a longer-lasting piece of furniture. Not only does it look better, it is also holds up much better than cheaper particle board or MDF board.

If you need wood samples, or simply have questions about our oak furniture, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help answer your questions. You can find our entire selection of oak lecterns here, oak tables here and oak seating here.

Canadian Polymer Currency Counters Now Online

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Canadian Polymer Banknote Currency CountersBack on November 14th 2011 Canada released its first Polymer bill ($100). That was followed on the 26th of March 2012 with the $50 and on November 7th 2012 with the $20. The $10 and $5 are expected to be released this year. While there have been a few complaints with the new banknotes, they are expected to stay. The biggest advantage of the new Polymer bills is their excellent lifespan that is about 2.5 times longer than standard bills. These is one small problem many people are experiencing, however, that I would like to cover in this article.

One problem with the new banknotes is that they are not all compatible with older currency counters and can result in some pretty bad jams. As a result, many of our Canadian customers are looking for currency counters that can handle the new bills. Thankfully one of our most reputable currency counter manufacturers, Semacon, has stepped up to the plate with brand new Canadian currency counters (found here). Rather than make you sift through our entire index of bill counters, I would like to list the models that will 100% work with polymer banknotes.

Canadian Bill Counters from Semacon that Handle Polymer Banknotes (sorted by least expensive to most expensive)

Semacon makes some of the toughest currency counters we offer. They are all made from high-end components and feature a rigorous burn-in period to ensure they work properly prior to shipment. Many of our Canadian currency counters feature counterfeit detection as well. If you are looking to upgrade, or have some questions about these machines, please contact us at 1-800-658-8788. While we are based in the United States, we can ship to Canada and have many Canadian customers.

I would also like to mention that Semacon also offers some excellent Canadian coin counters and sorters:

Thank you for reading this article. If you own one of the above mentioned Semacon currency or coin counters, please leave your feedback here as a comment.

ABC Office January 2013 5% Off Coupon Code

Friday, January 11th, 2013

We at ABC Office hope that you had a great 2012. We wish you an even more prosperous 2013. One great way to kick of the new year is to streamline operations and move costly paper handling jobs in house. At ABC Office we offer an excellent selection of machines that allow you to bind your own documents, fold your own paper, create your own business cards and much more. For the new year, we would like to extend a 5% off coupon that you can use over the phone or via our secure shopping cart.

The coupon code you will want to use during the month of January is JAN1305. This coupon can be applied towards any of the equipment we offer or towards our selection of thousands of different supplies. You can even use this code on multiple purchases throughout the month. If for any reason you have trouble using it or applying it, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 and we can help you out.

ABC Office January 2013 Coupon Code

Here are a few products you may want to consider buying with your coupon code:

  • Intelli-Cut 530D Stack Cutter (found here) – This is by far one of the most robust and affordable paper cutters out there. It is easy to set up and can be used to cut hundreds of sheets of paper. It is equipped with such features as an optical cutting line and an LCD measurement display that you simply won’t find in other similar stack paper cutters.
  • Akiles iCoil 41 Coil Binding Machine (found here) – Have you ever wanted to try binding your own booklet? The Akiles iCoil 41 is a great tool for doing this. It uses PVC coils to bind multiple stacks of paper together. It includes the punch, coil inserter and coil crimping pliers!
  • Electric Document Stamps (found here) – One of the best ways to keep track of documents is by stamping them. We offer a huge selection of numbering, date and text stamping machines. Most of these machines use an electric motor to drive the crash head into the paper. Check out our great selection!
  • Intelli-Fold DE-112AF  Folding Machine (found here) – If you need to fold letters, invoices, brochures or other material, you should consider using the Intelli-Fold DE-112AF. This affordably priced paper folding machine is tough, well built and includes everything you need to get up and going. We offer fast shipping on this machine. Orders placed before our shipping deadline will ship out same day.

Thank you for visiting our blog. We sincerely appreciate your patronage and again hope you have a great 2013. You can read more about the coupon code and its restrictions by visiting us here.

Top 6 Best 8 ½” x 14″ and 11″ x 17″ Paper Joggers

Friday, January 11th, 2013

11" x 17" Paper JoggersIf you are jogging paper larger than your standard letter size document, you are probably going to need a slightly more robust and capable paper jogger than your standard run-of-the-mill design. At ABC Office we offer several paper joggers (found here) that can be used to handle both 8 ½” x 14″ legal size paper and large 11″ x 17″ documents. The model you choose will depend on how many sheets you need to jog and where the paper jogging will take place. I would like to recommend some of our highest-rated models in this article.

A paper jogger, for those of you unfamiliar with the technology, uses a motor to generate fast vibrations that quickly cause jumbled sheets of paper to re-align into a squared-up stacks. This helps keep paper organized when placing it in a copy machine, paper folder,  tabletop printer and in other paper handling machines. It also helps to eliminate static electricity and cuts down on jams. Some paper joggers also use air during the jogging process to help align pages and dry wet ink as they come out of a printing press.

At ABC Office, we offer paper jogging machines from such brands as Martin Yale, Lassco, Formax and MBM. All of the paper joggers we offer are great machines, but not all can be used with larger 11″ x 17″ paper. Over the years we have had a lot of luck with the following models.

Top 6 Best 8 ½” x 14″ and 11″ x 17″ Paper Joggers

  1. Lassco LJ-4 Paper Jogger (found here) – This is the least expensive of our large format paper joggers. It can handle paper up to 11″ x 17″ in size and up to 500 sheets at a time. We have had great luck with our Lassco brand paper joggers and they have proven themselves to be excellent products over the years. This jogger features a wood tray and sits at an angle for faster jogging. It is open sided for easy removal of paper.
  2. Formax FD 402P1 Paper JoggerFormax FD 402P1 Paper Jogger (found here) – Formax paper joggers are known for their metal build and solid construction. The Formax FD 402P1 can be used with larger 11″ x 17″ paper as well and features an open sided design. Unlike the Lassco LJ-4, this jogger has a large 800 sheet capacity and a variable speed motor.
  3. Formax FD 2054TA1 Air JoggerFormax FD 402TA1 Paper Jogger (found here) – If you need a jogger capable of handling paper up to 12″ x 18″ in size, the FD 402TA1 is the machine you are going to need. This is a table top air jogger that features a motor that runs at speeds of up to 2,500 vibrations per minute and air pressure capable of 29,000 rpm. The V shape of the bin encourages extremely fast jogging. This machine can hold up to 940 sheets of paper, making it one of the highest capacities we offer in a tabletop design.
  4. Martin Yale Premier 4200 Paper Jogger (found here) – The Martin Yale Premier 4200 is one of the largest joggers we offer. It has a 17″ x 23″ x 3″ bin that can be used to hold a variety of larger paper. The tray itself can be adjusted to sit at different angles. This includes an 80-degree upright layout to sitting almost flat. This is a tabletop machine and is very easy to set up and use.
  5. MBM AJ-700 Air JoggerMBM AJ-700 Air Jogger (found here) – If you jog large volumes of paper on a daily basis, you may need something like the MBM AJ-700 air jogger. This jogger forces air between sheets while jogging the paper, resulting in extremely fast results. The air also helps to assist in drying ink. This machine features an open sided design and a floor stand. It is very easy to use and is excellent for use in printing presses and much more. It can handle paper up to 12 7/8″ x 17 ¾” in side and the tray has a 4″ depth, allowing it to hold a lot of paper.
  6. Formax FD 402A Air JoggerFormax FD 402A Air Jogger (found here) – The Formax FD 402A is one of the most robust paper joggers available. It is highly adjustable and can be used with an included foot pedal for hands-free operation. Because it sits on casters, this floor model jogger can be wheeled around from one area to another. It includes a timer and can be used in air only or vibrate only modes. This jogger is excellent for use commercial applications.

We have decades of experience with paper joggers, so please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788 x140 for answers to any of your paper jogging questions. We can provide you with quotes and can match prices.

Types of EZ-LAM Roll Laminators (aka EasyLam)

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

EZ-LAM Roll Laminators by Laminators SpecialtiesIf you’re in search of a high-quality roll laminator (found here) for your school or business, you may really enjoy using an EZ-LAM. These laminators, made by Laminators Specialties, have been around for well over a decade in one form or another. With several different versions of the EZ-LAM, which model should you consider using? I will cover all three models in this article.

To begin with, EZ-LAM used to be called EasyLam. Why the name change? EasyLam was the name of the laminators when they were produced by Banner American. After the company went out of business, Laminators Specialities took over the business and changed EasyLam to EZ-LAM. The quality is still the same and they are essentially the same laminator as they used to be. These laminators are all available with options that allow you to customize them.

When Laminators Specialities took over, they did drop a few of the EasyLam models including the EasyLam Green and the EasyLam II. Luckily we are still able to provide roll lamination film (found here) for all of the discontinued EasyLam roll laminators.

The three EZ-LAM roll laminators that survived the transition to new ownership are some of the best models available. These are the EZ-LAM School Budget, EZ-LAM Budget Pro and the standard EZ-LAM. Here is a little bit of information about the three:

  • EZ-LAM School Budget (found here) – This laminator is designed for low to medium-volume use in a school environment. Most schools are on a tight budget, but still need to laminate signs and banners. The EZ-LAM School Budget was designed just for this situation. While it isn’t terribly fast (3.5 feet per minute) and it only handles film up to 3 mils thick, it gets the job done right. This laminator can be used on many tables and desks and is very easy to set up and operate.
  • EZ-LAM Budget Pro (found here) – The EZ-LAM Budget Pro is a beefed up version of the School Budget. It includes the ability to mount material up to 3/16″ thick and is great entry-level machine for use in a print shop or copy center. It also has the ability to use all mil thicknesses of film including 10 mil.
  • EZ-LAM 27″ Laminator (found here) – This is the time-tested classic that has been around for years. It is used in businesses, copy centers, print shops and other organizations around the world. It can be used with film up to 3 mils thick and includes two rolls of 1.5 mil film. It can be used with larger core rolls of film using optional core adapters. It can also be built with features like cooling fans, a foot switch, side slitters and more.

All three of these laminators are solid products. The build quality is excellent. Unlike many manufacturers out there, Laminators Specialties uses steel side plates that are computer machined ensuring consistency in quality. We have had several of these machines out on our showroom floor and I have had the opportunity to use them myself. They are very easy to use and the quality of the laminated items is excellent. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any of your roll laminator questions. You can find our entire lineup of roll laminators here.

Best Shrink Wrap Machines for Packaging Food

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Food Packaging Shrink Wrap MachinesWhether you are trying to package chocolate or you simply need a way to package and present fruit baskets, shrink wrap (found here) is an effective food packaging tool. There are a few things you will need to know before purchasing a machine, but ultimately shrink wrap is an affordable and easy way to package food for a variety of reasons. I would like to cover a few machines that may help you and go over a few tips that may help you out.

There are two types of shrink wrap machines you’ll want to consider when packaging food. The first uses an I-bar sealer (found here) and the second uses an L-bar sealer (found here). An I-bar sealer shrinks film along one length at a time, requiring usually about two passes to seal a product in centerfold film. An L-bar sealer seals the film in two spots completing the sealing process in a single pass. As you might imagine, the L-bar sealer is much faster than an I-bar sealer, making it ideal for industrial and commercial applications. An I-bar sealer, however, is better for sealing and packaging products with awkward shapes and sizes.

When it comes to shopping around for film, you’ll probably want to use Polyolefin film (found here). Polyolefin film is safe for direct contact with food, where PVC film is only safe for indirect contact with food. Most shrink wrap machines can use either type of film.

What are the benefits of packaging food with shrink wrap? Shrink wrap provides a protective barrier from the outside. This may be handling by customers, shipping, the elements and much more. Shrink film also makes products look much more presentable. Shrink wrap can also have food preservation benefits by helping contain moisture and flavor.

Which machine design should you use? There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, but the biggest is packaging volume. I-bar sealers are good for packaging a few dozen to a few hundred items a day. If you are packaging more than that, you should really be using an L-bar sealer equipped machine.

What are some of the limiting factors? The biggest limiting factor will be the sealing width. In the case of an L-bar sealer it will be the width and the length. If you are using an L-bar sealer equipped with a heat tunnel, you will also need to take the height of the product into account. Many people remember the width and length, but forget the height. Remember, the height of the product will take up film. You’ don’t want to end up with a machine that won’t accommodate your product or future products.

What about heat damage? If you are worried your food item may suffer from heat damage, you may want to use a machine that utilizes a heat tunnel. A heat tunnel applies heat evenly and shrinks film much faster than a heat gun. Because heat guns are manually operated, they are subject to human error such as leaving the gun in a single spot for too long. I have had people package chocolates and other temperature sensitive food without suffering any damage.

Which brand is best? There are a lot of shrink wrap brands out there. Those that I have personally used and trust include AIE, Traco, Intelli-Pack, Minipack and Strategic Group.

If you still have questions about our shrink wrap machines, or if you would like samples to be tested on the machine we offer, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We have over 30 years of experience and are more than happy to help you out.

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