Archive for May, 2013

Formax FD 8400 Office Paper Shredder Review

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Formax FD 8400 Office Paper ShredderOne of the biggest mistakes people make when purchasing a paper shredder for the office is the expectation that a department store shredder will handle an office’s shredding needs. The sad reality is these cheap shredders burn out and break down in a very short period of time and are ultimately a waste of money. If you’re looking for a solid office paper shredder, you really need to invest in a machine that can keep up with the needs of the office. One such shredder is the Formax FD 8400 paper shredder (found here). This is my review.

Formax has been manufacturing paper shredders for years and their FD line of shredders have proven themselves over the years to keep up with office needs. The FD 8400 is an office shredder designed to be used by small department throughout the day. It is available as the FD 8400CC and FD 8400SC, depending on whether or not you need a cross cut or a strip cut pattern. Most people go with the cross cut pattern for the added security that it offers.

One of the biggest annoyances I have with many cheaper shredders is the small throat width. Many are set at just 9″ wide, which means you need to feed the paper in just right to ensure everything operates correctly. The FD 8400 has a 12.2″ wide throat width, that easily accommodates letter-size sheets of paper including larger sheets of paper. This width also makes it easy to feed in jumbled stacks of paper.

Speed is also a concern when shredding paper in an office setting. Nobody wants to stand around the shredder for minutes at a time trying to shred a small stack of paper. The FD 8400 shreds paper at a speed of 30 feet per minute, which is remarkably fast. This ends up being a foot of paper every 2 seconds. This means you can burn through a stack of paper very quickly. When it comes to capacity, the cross cut version shreds 18-20 sheets of paper at a time and the strip cut version shreds 30-32 sheets of paper at a time.

Another thing that bothers me with cheaper shredders is the overheating and cool-down period that you have to deal with. The Formax FD 8400 is built using a thermally protected continuous-duty motor. That means it never has to cool down. The powerful geared motor, which is connected to steel gears, can keep running throughout the day without batting an eye. It really is built that well. Considering the metal, motor and shredding blades used in these shredders, they are remarkably quiet. I have used this shredder at it does not distract at all.

As mentioned before, this shredder is available in a cross cut and a strip cut design. The cross cut is rated at a Level 3, which is HIPAA compliant, and the strip cut model is rated at a Level 2. The Level 3 cross cut shreds paper into 5/32″ x 1 1/5″ particles, where the strip cut version shreds paper into ¼” strips. Both models have a large 20-gallon shred bin, which holds a lot of paper between bag changes.

The FD 8400 comes built with a load detector that is visually displayed on the control panel. As the motor works harder, the load indicator lets the operator know. This makes it easy to increase or decrease the amount of paper being shredded. In the event that too much paper has been fed in, the shredder will automatically stop and reverse the paper back out. This office shredder also includes a bag full indicator, auto start/stop (via optical sensor) and a door sensor that stops the shredder in the event the door is opened. It also includes an oil indicator light, letting you know when it is time to oil the shredder blades. It can be fitted with an optional EvenFlow automatic oiler. This entire shredder sits on casters for easy maneuverability.

The FD 8400 is built with a self-diagnostic system. It records operation time, number of auto-reverse sequences, amount of paper shredded and more. This data can later be accessed by a service technician in the event of maintenance.

Both of these shredders are nicely priced and as of this article are available with free shipping. If you have additional questions regarding this shredder, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-658-8788. We can help provide you with a quote, service the warranty, provide parts or answer your questions.

You can find the Formax FD 8400 here, our entire lineup of Formax paper shredders here and all of our paper shredders here. Please feel free to post your comments, questions and suggestions here.

Best Way To Void An Expired Driver’s License & Comply With 49 CFR 384.211

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Voiding Drivers License Complying with 49 CFR 348.211When a driver’s license expires, states are now requiring that you surrender the license to an appropriate DMV location. For legal and safety reasons, these expired licenses cannot remain in the original owners hands unless they are properly voided. This is all per new DOT / FMCSA legislation that affects how expired driver’s licenses are handled.

According to DOT / FMCSA Legislation 49 CFR 384.211 surrender procedure, before returning the license to the owner it must be physically marked so it cannot be mistaken for a valid document. According to the new legislation, simply punching a hole in the expiration date is not considered sufficient. One of the best properly void a driver’s license is to perforate it with the word “VOID” by using a text perforator like the Widmer P-400V found here.

Widmer P-400V Void Text PerforatorThe Widmer P-400 is a remarkable little machine, designed to perforate through paper, card stock and plastic coated documents. It comes in different variations depending on what you want perforated. This includes words such as PAID, VOID, CANCEL and Spanish words such as PAGADO and CANCELADO. A custom version is also available as the P-400U.

For properly voiding driver’s licenses, you will want to use the P-400V (VOID). This device is fully compliant with 49 CFR 384.211 and can perforate the word VOID through U.S. style plastic coated ID cards and driver’s licenses. This device sits on just about any desk or table and is remarkably easy to use. It is also economically priced to fit within most state budgets.

The P-400V is manually operated. It features a long leveraged handle on the right-side of the device. This handle is extremely easy to use. Thanks to high-quality parts and precision engineering, this perforator quickly slices through documents and licenses. The machine itself is made from heavy-duty metal material and it is rated for daily use.

If you still have questions about compliance with 49 CFR 384.211, or if you have questions about the Widmer P-400V, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out. You can find the P-400V by visiting us here.

Do you have experience using the P-400V? Post your experience here as a comment! Thanks for reading.

Best Reusable Binding Machines Formats

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Why waste when you can reuse, right? So, can you live up to this statement when it comes to bookbinding? Believe it or not, some binding machine formats can be reused, where others cannot. If you are interested in reusing your binding supplies, whether it be for financial or environmental reasons, I would like to introduce you to some of the most reusable binding formats amiable. Binding formats I will cover include comb, wire, coil, VeloBind, ProClick and thermal. You can find all of our binding machines here.

There are many reasons why people want a reusable binding format. For one, it is nice to be able to reuse binding supplies rather than simply throw old bound documents away. It is more affordable to do this and ultimately it means less waste, which in turn is more environmentally sound. Reusable binding supplies often also mean you can add or remove pages from an already bound document.

I am going to start by listing the most reusable binding formats to the least reusable.

  • Comb Binding MachinesComb Binding (found here) – Comb binding has literally been around for decades. I remember handling and using comb bound books when I was going to elementary school back in the 80s. This binding format uses a spring-loaded spine that can be opened and closed using a comb opener, typically found on the top of the machine. Comb binding continues to this day to be THE least expensive binding format around, which includes the machines and the supplies. These machines are affordable enough that they can be used for business, school or even home use. The supplies are available in a variety of sizes and colors and can be used to bind small reports or thick books.
  • ProClick Binding MachinesProClick (found here) – ProClick, from GBC, uses a proprietary binding element that uses a similar hole pattern to twin loop wire. The binding element opens and closes using a special tool. The end results look class. The supplies “zip” open and closed and can be reused multiple times over. This binding format has a loop like format. The only downside is that the machines and supplies are proprietary to GBC, which means they aren’t very common or easy to come by. Other binding formats also have better color selection.
  • Coil Binding MachinesCoil Binding (found here) – This is by far the most popular binding format used today. The supplies are extremely durable, the colors are vast and the size range is broad. Coil allows pages to turn 360 degrees, lie flat and can be used for binding small presentations or large manuals. This binding format is semi-reusable. You can clip the ends off of the coil and spin it back out, allowing it to be re-used. The only catch is that the element (now clipped shorter) cannot be used with the same size sheet of paper. It will have to be used with a smaller book. That is a pretty huge catch, which is why most people don’t reuse their coil supplies, but it can be done. The PVC coils can be recycled.
  • Wire Binding MachinesWire Binding (found here) – I have had many many people ask me lately if twin loop wire can be re-used. Simply put, it cannot. Wire binding is literally bent into place. The wire element itself is made from a single piece of wire. Removing the wire element results in the destruction of the wire. The good news is that the wire isn’t hard to remove and a new wire can be easily inserted and closed. Wire binding is a classy format, and it looks great, but the supplies cannot be reused.
  • Hot Knife VeloBind MachinesHot Knife VeloBind (found here) – Velobind is a fairly permanent bind. It uses heat to literally melt the prongs to the back strip. The VeloBind System 3, however, does have a debind feature that will use heat to soften the plastic prongs and strip, allowing it to be removed. The removed strip, however, cannot be reused. Having used this machine and the debind feature myself, I can safety say that the debind feature is quirky at best and the debound book often does not come out of the process looking good.
  • Thermal Binding MachinesThermal Binding (found here) – Thermal binding machines use glue to bind paper. The glue is thermally warmed up, causing the glue to liquefy. When the glue is soft, it sticks to the paper. As the glue cools it hardens and the binding process is complete. You cannot remove the glue…period. It is a permanent bind. The only way you could possible salvage a document and rebind it would be to cut the glue bound spine off of the book using a stack paper cutter (found here).

As you can see, comb binding (which happens to be one of the most affordable) is still the king of binding formats when it comes to reusability. ProClick and coil follow soon after. At ABC Office, we offer a huge selection of book binding machines that can be found here. If you still have a question about one of the above-mentioned binding styles, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788.

Thanks for reading. Please post any feedback as a comment.

Daily Mail Mode Rolls out on Formax Envelope Inserting Machines

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Daily Mail Mode Formax Envelope Inserting MachinesFolding and inserting machines (found here) are pretty remarkable pieces of equipment when you consider all that they do. These machines take paper, fold it, insert it into an envelope and seal the envelope shut. They do this at a high rate of speed and dramatically cut down on overhead by eliminating the need to do the same work manually. These machines come in a variety of configurations, depending on how many sheets you need inserted into an envelope. One feature that many of these machines now include is a daily mail. I would like to go into more detail what this does.

Envelope inserting machines are known by many names. Some include folder inserters, envelope stuffing machines and letter inserters. These machines are all made for mailing purposes. I have seen customers use these machines for mailing invoices, checks, letters, marketing material and more. Some even have the ability to insert a small insert or business reply envelope (BRE).  The precision and efficiency that these machines perform is truly and engineering feat.

The latest feature now included in most Formax envelope inserting machines is called Daily Mail. This is a feature that allows you to quickly fold and insert multiple sheets of paper into an envelope without having to set up any special project. This is sometimes called semi-auto mode and is excellent for occasional jobs that pop up here and there. This bypasses the normal feeding trays and requires you to pre-collate the sheets prior to folding and inserting. This may range from a couple of sheets up to several, depending on the machine.

Traditional envelope inserting machines do not have the ability to fold and insert stapled sets of paper. This is another example of where Daily Mail Mode is so cool. The semi-auto Daily Mail feed slot allows you to insert stapled documents for folding and inserting into an envelope. This gives you a lot of control and again, it is ideal for occasional jobs that may pop up out of nowhere.

Another thing you may not be aware of is that these folding and inserting machines can also be used for multi-sheet paper folding. This means folding multiple sheets of paper at a the same time (without the intent of mailing them). Most paper folding machines are not capable of multi-sheet folding, but Formax envelope inserting machines allow you to disable the envelope inserting part of the process for simple or multi-sheet folding.

Most of our envelope inserting machines are capable of creating a Z fold (aka accordion), C fold (aka letter fold), half fold (aka single fold) and a double parallel fold. These really are paper folding machines on steroids.

If you’re curious as to whether or not our machines will work for your project, feel free to send in samples. We would love to test them on our machines and send them back to you. Sometimes it helps, when selecting a machine, to see the end results in your hand. This will also help us determine the right machine for you and establish if your paper and envelopes will even work.

While envelope inserting machines do cost more than your typical paper folder, we do offer leasing options and accept purchase orders.

If you have additional questions about these machines, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of envelope inserting machines here.

Top 10 Best Office Paper Shredders of 2013

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Best Paper Shredders 2013Office paper shredders need to be able to put up with a lot of daily use. You don’t want an office shredder that’s going to require a cool down time, period. For an office, you need something that is tough, time tested and capable of holding up for years. At ABC Office, we offer a huge selection of office paper shredders (found here). Many of these shredders are excellent products, however, I would like to point out 10 that have truly proven themselves as “best shredders” for 2013.

I have come up with criteria of 5 features you need to have in a solid office paper shredder.

  • Bin Size – I recommend you get a paper shredder that has at least a 10 gallon capacity. The larger the bin, the less you are going to have to empty it. I would put 10 gallons as the minimum size for an office.
  • Throat Size – I generally recommend you go with a paper shredder that has a throat width that is at least 10″. The first model I am going to recommend is 9.5″, but the rest are 10″ or wider. A 10″ throat width easily accommodates letter-size paper and the added width helps prevent jams.
  • Security – I recommend you use a paper shredder that uses a cross cut shredding pattern. I have found that a Level 3 is more than adequate security for most businesses.
  • Sheet Capacity – When it comes to sheet capacity, I recommend you buy a shredder that handles at least 10 sheets of paper at a time if not more.
  • Continuous Duty – I never recommend a shredder with a cool down period. I find it a nuisance and often a sign of cheap construction. I recommend you buy a shredder with a continuous duty motor that is thermally protected. All of the shredders I am going to recommend have continuous duty motors.

Top 10 Best Office Paper Shredders of 2013 – These are listed in order of price.

  1. Dahle CleanTEC 41214 (found here) – This shredder is compact and perfect for use with a small department of people. It is extremely quiet, is energy efficient and helps cut down on dust. It is German built and is a solid piece of equipment.
  2. Destroyit 2604 CC (found here) – This is a very affordable paper shredder, especially when you consider what it does. It has a nice 26-gallon bin, is energy efficient, has a Level 3 cross cut pattern and is German made. This shredder sits nicely next to a wall and can be used by several different people throughout the day.
  3. HSM B34 Securio (found here) – This shredder is has capacity, speed and security. The German made Securio line of shredders from HSM are all solid pieces of equipment. This particular model features a Level 4 security and has a nice 26.4 gallon shred bin.
  4. Formax FD 8400 (found here) – This paper shredder has a nice 12.2″ wide opening and is remarkably affordable considering the cross cut version can handle up to 18 sheets of paper at a time. This shredder is also fast, operating at 30 feet per minute.
  5. Destroyit 3104 CC (found here) – This is a great small to medium-duty paper shredder. It has a 12″ opening and can be used to shred on a continuous basis. A 32 gallon bin holds a lot of paper and this shredder is rated as a Level 3.
  6. Destroyit 3804 CC (found here) – This is one of the most affordable Destroyit shredders that includes a wide 16″ shredding width. This German-made paper shredder is solid and features an extremely easy-to-use control interface. It is safe and powerful, making it an excellent choice for most offices.
  7. Destroyit 4002 CC (found here) – Destroyit paper shredders, by Ideal, are German build and feature hardened steel shredder blades. A huge 44 gallon shred bin and a 16″ wide throat means this shredder will handle just about any size of paper and won’t need to be changed very often. This is an excellent departmental paper shredder.
  8. HSM Securio P40C (found here) – This is one of HSM’s most well rounded heavy-duty office shredders. It has a 13″ shed width, an 18 sheet per minute speed and can handle 35-37 sheets of paper at a time. IT can also handle CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, floppy disks and credit cards. It is extremely quiet and features V-TEK hardened rollers.
  9. Formax FD 8650CC (found here) – This shredder can safely be categorized as a heavy-duty office shredder. It is designed for daily operation and can hold up to 53 gallons of paper! It includes an AutoOiler, which means you don’t need to remember to oil it. This shredder can handle most sizes of paper (up 16″ wide) and is blazing fast at 30 feet per minute.
  10. Destroyit 4005 CC (found here) – If you need power, combined with sold German engineering, the Destroyit 4005 is the shredder to have. This shredder is powerful, with a 16″ wide throat and a 59-gallon shred bin. It is available in a Level 3 or Level 4 cross cut pattern. This shredder will easily service an entire building and will keep up with your daily shredding needs.

So there you have it! These are 10 extremely tough cross cut paper shredders that are excellent options for an office. Unlike many cheap department store shredders, these are build to hold up and last for years.

If these shredders are out of your price range, but you would still like something that is tough, you may want to consider the Destroyit 2360 (found here). This shredder is still tough and is an excellent choice for use by a few people throughout the day. I also highly recommend most shredders from Dahle, HSM and Destroyit.

If you still have questions about a paper shredder for your office, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We have decades of experience with paper shredders and should be able to help you out. You will find our entire selection of paper shredders here.

Ten Things to Look for in a School Laminator

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

School Roll LaminatorIf you’re a K-12 school, chances are you laminate a lot of stuff. Most schools use laminators for protecting, enhancing and improving maps, posters, signs, banners, flash cards and educational material. If you’re looking to expand or upgrade your laminating capabilities, this guide is for you. I would like to answer a few questions and point out a few features you should have in your school laminator (found here).

Before I go too much further with this guide, I would like to point out that there are two primary types of laminators. These are pouch and roll. Here is the definition of each:

  • Pouch Laminators (found here) – This is a laminator that uses “pouches” to laminate material. These pouches open up like a file folder, allowing you to insert your photo, card, letter, sign or other material. These pouches range in size from just a few inches to 12″ x 18″ in size. These types of laminators are ideal for laminating smaller items and the laminators themselves usually fit on any table or desk.
  • Roll Laminators (found here) – These laminators are designed for either laminating larger material, such as maps and posters, or for laminating multiple smaller items at the same time. Simply put, these laminators are designed to laminate more than a pouch laminator. These types of laminators can be used on a desk or table, but are also often put on a laminator card or workstation.

Here are ten features I recommend considering when purchasing a school laminator:

  1. Laminator Width – Laminators come in all sizes and shapes. Be sure you buy a laminator that accommodates the largest item you need laminated. The most common sizes schools use are 25″ and 27″ wide roll laminators (found here). That’s because these laminators handle posters, maps, signs and banners.
  2. Film Thickness – Lamination film is available in different thicknesses, referred to as the mil (a thousandth of an inch). The thinnest available is 1.5 mil for roll laminators and 3 mil for pouch laminators. The thickest common film available for all laminators is 10-mil. The most common film for schools is 3 mil, although 1.5 and 5 are also very popular. You can find our laminating pouches here and our lamination rolls here.
  3. Mounting Capabilities – Some teachers like to laminate a poster or sign onto ¼” foam core board. In the laminating industry, this is referred to as mounting. Many roll laminators come with the ability to mount material while laminating. The thickness tolerance varies, so be sure you know what the laminator can handle if mounting is a required feature.
  4. Speed – If you need to laminate a lot of stuff in a short period of time, you may want to take the laminator’s speed into account. Laminators all have a set maximum speed. Some have a variable speed. The speed is usually rated in feet per minute.
  5. Options – A few options you may want to consider in a laminator includes things such as side margin trimmers or a built in slitter for cutting off film after it leaves the laminator. These are purely optional, and many require factory installation, but are definitely something to be aware of prior to making a purchase.
  6. Adjustable Temperature – Most laminators will allow some sort of temperature adjustment. How much control you have, however, varies from one machine to another. Some simply have you select the mil thickness and the temperature is adjusted accordingly. Others offer a dial that allow you to specifically select a temperature. I personally like to have the ability to select a wide range of temperature settings as different types of lamination film require different temperatures.
  7. Analog or Digital – Laminators are now available with analog and digital controls. This means a dial or switch, versus a button or even a touch-capable control. This is often more aesthetic than critical in a laminator. Some laminators with digital controls, however, offer even more control over the laminator’s functions than analog controls.
  8. Brand – Do I have specific brands I like and recommend? You bet! I highly recommend laminators from Laminators Specialties (formerly Banner American), Ledco, Intelli-Lam, Tamerica and Ledco all make top-notch products.
  9. Switches – I’m not a big fan of the “one switch does all” design. I like to have different switches (or buttons) for different functions. I highly recommend you buy a laminator with independent heat and motor switches. By allowing the laminator to warm up, without the motor running, will help extend the life of your laminator.
  10. Cooling Fans – This isn’t a critical feature to have for a school laminator. Cooling fans help quickly cool the lamination film as it leaves the machine, which helps cut down on curling, warping and other lamination artifacts and defects.

I hope this guide helps you out. We have been selling laminators since 1980 and are well versed when it comes to laminators. We have years of information we would love to share with you, so please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. Many schools also like to pay on terms using a Purchase Order. You’ll be happy to know that we accept school purchase orders. They can be faxed or e-mailed in to us.

You can find our entire selection of laminators here. Please feel free to post your comments and questions.

Preferred Pack TZ-888 Banding Machine Review

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Preferred Pack TZ-888 Banding MachineIf you have the need to bundle paper, business cards, brochures, money, paper towels and other products together, you should consider using a banding machine. Banding machines can use either plastic or paper bands to quickly bundle items together. This is excellent for storage, retail, shipping and other purposes. One of the most affordable and durable banding machines we currently offer is the Preferred Pack TZ-888 (found here). This particular banding machine is available in two different versions, depending on the size of the items you are trying to package. This is my review.

Many people get strapping machines and banding machines mixed up. They are actually two totally different machines. Strapping machines are use hard plastic strips to keep boxes closed during shipping. Banding machines use wide strips of paper or plastic to bundle multiple items together. While similar, they are two very different machines used for very different purposes.

I recently handled a product in the wild that had been bundled. Have you ever seen a stack of paper towels that need to be put into a dispenser? These towels are often bundled together using a banding machine. You have to tear the paper band off in order to use the paper towels. Other products that are bundled, as mentioned earlier, includes literature, business cards, pamphlets, brochures and much more. The size of banding machine you get depends entirely on what you are bundling together.

I highly recommend, when shopping for a banding machine, to be sure the machine can accommodate your biggest item and that it can handle your future banding needs as well. These machines are versatile and can be adjusted to accommodate a variety of items, but they all cap out at a maximum size. The TZ-888 can bundle packages from 0.25″ H x 1.5″ W up to 5.5″H x 9.5″W. The larger TZ-888A can bundle packages from 0.25″H x 1.5″W up to 6.7″H x 10.5″W. Both of these machines use tape rolls up to 500 feet white that are made from paper (white / brown) or plastic (clear).

Bands can be applied in a variety of positions, based on what you are bundling and where you need the most security. Here is a video of the TZ-888 in action:

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Both of these banding machines are compact and both can be used on just about any desk or surface. They both plug into any standard wall outlet. Both have an operational speed of about 20-25 bundles per minute. Speed is really limited by the experience of the operator and the size of the package being bundled.

So how do these machines work? It is very simple. There are three different ways to run it. You can switch it to automatic mode where it will bundle when something triggers the photo sensor. You can also press a button to bundle or press an included foot pedal. This machine will wrap the band around the product, tighten it, cut it and seal the open ends shut. The process is fast, accurate and remarkably secure.

The build quality on the TZ-888 and TZ-888A (with arches) is tough and excellent for daily use. If you need something even bigger, we also offer the TZ-889 and TZ-889A banding machines (found here).

Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. We would love to help you out. You can find our entire selection of banding machines here.

Cardmate 10-Up Manual Business Card Cutter Video Demo

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Cardmate 10-Up Business Card Cutter & SlitterIf you want to be able to create your own in-house business cards quickly and efficiently, I recommend you use a business card cutter (found here). These cutters are far faster than using a pair of scissors or a pair cutter and create straight and accurate lines every time. One of the most affordable ways to do this is by using the Cardmate business card cutter. We have just added a new video demo to our site (which I will include in this article) that shows exactly how it operates.

Before I continue to the video, I would like to cover exactly how the Cardmate works. To begin with, this is a 10-up business card cutter. That means that it will cut 10 total business cards from a standard 8 ½” x 11″ sheet of paper. Ten up and 12-up are the two most common cutting patterns. There are 10-up business card templates available online in the event you don’t already have one. We also offer a 10-up PDF template for the Cardmate that you can find here.

Most people simply use their own computer and laser / inkjet printer to create the business cards. Using a 10-up template, data is entered such as contact information, logo and other pertinent information. Once these have been printed out, the can be cut down on the Cardmate. Most people print their cards out on standard paper or light card stock. The Cardmate can cut cardstock, but I recommend not going too thick or using slick / glossy paper.

Using the Cardmate is extremely easy and anyone should be able to use it. It is manually operated, which means you don’t need any power source to use it. It weighs in at only 6 pounds and it sits nicely on most desk surfaces. Rather than using an electric motor, the Cardmate has a hand crank located on the side of the machine. This crank is actually turned in a clockwise motion to advance the paper through the machine.

Creating a business card on this machine takes two steps. First you load your paper vertically in the machine and turn the hand crank. Once the paper has made its way through, you can take the two cut columns (two columns of 5 cards each) and insert them horizontally into the machine. This is where the sheets are cut into individual cards. I have used this machine and it is remarkably easy to use and I personally feel that the results turned out very well.

Here is a video demo of the Cardmate business card cutter in action.

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As of the writing of this article, you can buy this business card easily for under $100. For this price, and considering what you would otherwise have to pay at a print shop, this handy device will quickly pay for itself. You also can’t overlook the convenience factor on this machine. You can make your own business cards on the fly. You won’t ever have to worry about running out. While people may say business cards are a thing of the past, the fact is that they are still commonly used and won’t be going away anytime soon.

Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 for with any questions you may have about this machine. A comparable machine to the Cardmate is the Akiles CardMac (found here). It also has a hand crank and is available in a bleed and no bleed version. You can find our entire selection of business card cutters here.

TP-48ST “All In One” Shrink Wrap Machine Review

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Truline All-in-One TP-48ST Shrink Wrap MachineIf you were a big fan of the Minipack Galaxy, the Minipack Mini or other compact Minipack shrink wrap machines, you may be finding it hard to find an affordable replacement. If you’re stuck in this boat, I would like to recommend that you consider the Truline TP-48ST (aka PP-48ST and 48-ST) found here. We have been offering this machine for a few years now and have found it to be an affordable and comparable replacement. Here are a few reasons why.

There are a lot of reasons why I really like this machine. Here are just a few:

  • Power Supply – Many people want a shrink wrap machine that they can simply plug into a wall and use. They don’t want to have to call in the electrician or have to deal with special power requirements. The TP-48ST can be plugged into a standard wall outlet. This means it can be used almost anywhere a wall outlet is available. This is a huge plus. As of this article, Minipack doesn’t offer any shrink wrap machines with a 110-120 volt power supply.
  • Chamber Size – The TP-48ST has a 12″L x 18.5.”W x 6″H sealing chamber. This is ample room for packaging small boxes, CDs, DVDs, chocolates and other products. This is a nice well-rounded size for most people. If you need a bigger chamber, you may want to consider the Truline TP-76ST (found here).
  • Heat Tunnel – I-bar sealers and many shrink wrap systems use an independent heat tunnel or heat gun. The TP-48ST uses an integrated heat tunnel. This helps save on space and is extremely convenient for single step operation. Simply place your product in the film, pull down the hood and the TP-48ST will seal the product and shrink the film down in a single pass. A clear hood lets you see what is going on during the packaging and sealing process. It also includes a magnetic lock that keeps the hood down during the sealing and shrinking process.
  • Controls – The controls are right in front of the machine and are pretty straightforward. They are located on the front of the machine and can be used to adjust the heat, tunnel time, sealing time and more. The results are very professional.
  • Film Compatibility – The TP-48ST can be used with both PVC and Polyolefin film. Polyolefin film, sometimes called poly film, can be used with food. Both types of film are very professional and can be used to package a wide range of products. The TP-48ST is designed to be used with centerfold shrink film and even includes a film dispenser, a film perforator and a film opener.

This machine is available from Truline as the TP-48ST and Excel Packaging as the PP-48ST. They are the same machine just with a different label slapped on them. This machine is also sometimes referred to simply as the 48-ST.

Here is a video demo of the TP-48ST in use:

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Besides the fact that this machine comes equipped with a lot of nice features, it is also really compact. For what it is and considering what it does, it really doesn’t take up a lot of space. It also sits on casters, making it really easy to move around. Two of the casters can be locked into place, keeping the machine stationary.

If you’re on a budget, and need something that produces reliable and professional results, this is definitely the machine to consider. You can find the TP-48ST here and our entire selection of shrink wrap systems here.

Best Cleanroom Vacuum Sealers w/ Gas Purge for Medical Packaging

Friday, May 10th, 2013

AmeriVacS CAVN Cleanroom Medical Vacuum SealerWhen it comes to packaging products such as medical tubing, tape and other medical supplies, it is helpful to use a vacuum sealer that is designed for use in a clean room. For many of these packaging applications, a gas purge system is required to keep things as sterile as possible. At ABC Office we recently added several new vacuum sealers (found here) that are cleanroom safe, many of which include a gas purge. I would like to explain how these work and point you to a few models.

When medical supplies, devices and accessories are being packaged, cleanliness is an absolute must. Tubing, tape and supplies have to be sterile for the safety of the patient. For this reason, there are many vacuum sealers designed to be used in a particle-free clean room. These sealers are clean, sterile, don’t produce particles, are electrostatic safe and comply with the strictest cleanroom requirements. They are also designed to work in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

I mentioned earlier that many people like to package medical devices, supplies and accessories with a gas purge system. So how does this work? A gas purge flushes the bag being sealed with an inert gas and removes life-giving oxygen, which can sustain the life of a lot of nasty bacteria and other things you don’t want on your medical instruments. The inert gas is almost always nitrogen.

AccVacs E 1500G Cleanroom Medical Vacuum SealerThe process of sealing a bag is extremely fast. Simply insert your supplies / items into the bag, insert the top of it into the sealer and activate it. Most cleanroom vacuum sealers include a foot pedal. The seal created is usually around ¼” thick, which is more than enough to maintain a solid seal. Most of these vacuum sealers allow you to adjust the seal time, volume removed / added and much more.

Before I list some of our new clearoom vacuum sealers, which include a gas purge, I would like to point out our entire selection of external bag sealers here.

I am going to sort these vacuum sealers by price:

  • AccVacs E 1000G (found here) – This sealer includes a gas purge system and a built-in compressor. It can handle bags up to 10″ wide. It is clean room compatible and includes an electronic footswitch. This is one of the most affordable options we offer.
  • AccVacs E 1500G (found here) – This machine is very similar to the above-mentioned machine, but has a 15″ wide sealing width. This is more than enough sealing length for most medical bag packaging needs. It produces a ¼” seal and is clean room compatible.
  • AccVacs E 2000G (found here) This clean room safe vacuum sealer has a 20″ sealing length and is available in a white unit and a stainless steel unit. As is the case with the above two mentioned models, this sealer has a retractable nozzle and digital smart controls.
  • Mighty Mutt MPV-18 (fond hear) – This clean room ready vacuum sealer has been around for years and is a time-tested classic. It has a 17.5″ sealing length and produces a 0.25″ seal. This sealer is tough.
  • AccVacs E 2500G (found here) – If the above mentioned vacuum sealers are just too small for your packaging needs, consider this model. It has an extremely wide 25″ sealing length while still providing a gas purge ability, ¼” seal and clean room compatibility. This sealer works great on a table.
  • AccVacs E 3000G (found here) – This massive 30″ vacuum sealer is excellent for packaging medical supplies, tools, devices and accessories in bulk. It can be used with huge bags and is still clean room compliant. It is fast, effective and still produces a nice ¼” seal along the entire width of the bag.
  • AmeriVacS AVN Series Sealers w/ Gas Purge (found here) – These AVN sealers are designed to be plugged into an existing compressor or compressed air outlet. These sealers are nice because they are very quiet and come in sealing widths ranging from 20″ all the way up to 50″!
  • AccVacs E 3500G (found here) – This sealer is available in a standard gas purge version and in a touch screen version with gas purge. This is the largest AccVacs brand sealer available that is clean room safe. This sealer is 35″ wide. If you need something bigger, you will need to go with the AmeriVacS AVN.
  • AmeriVacS CAVN Series Sealers w/ Gas Purge (found here) – These sealers are available in either a 20″ or a 30″ design and include built-in compressors and gas purge systems. These sealers are designed for commercial / industrial use on a daily basis and are some of the heaviest-duty clean room compliant vacuum sealers we offer.

I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with too many different machines, but these are all solid units and can all be used in a clean room. If you need more information, have some questions or simply need a quote, please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788. We have been selling these for years and have specialists that should be able to help you out.

Do you have one of these machines or do you have experience packaging medical supplies? Post your thoughts as a comment. I would love to hear from you.

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