Archive for the ‘Tips & Advice’ Category

Why Should Your School Upgrade from 1.5 mil to 3 mil Roll Laminator Film?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

 

3 mil Roll Lamination Film

3 mil Roll Lamination Film

 

 

There are several different types of roll lamination film available today. Customers often ask, “What’s the best film for me?” We ask them about their application before recommending the optimum roll laminator film. When new customers call from a school ordering lamination film, we typically ask them about the film thickness they are currently using. If they tell us they are using 1.5 mil film, that’s when the conversation takes an interesting turn.

 

Not only is ABC Office roll laminating film affordable, it’s also made from high quality materials. Our roll laminating film makes posters, banners, signs, maps and other similar school projects look professional and highly presentable. Unfortunately, there are some 1.5 mil (this is a measurement in thousandths of an inch) lamination films out there that are actually not 1.5 mil in thickness. Some manufacturers will market school grade film as 1.5 mil thick when the actual thickness is closer to 1.2 mil. This film is a low-cost alternative that indeed saves the school money, but also sacrifices some of the rigidity and durability that most schoolteachers need in a lamination film. This is why ABC Office often upgrades its education clients from 1.5 to 3 mil film.

 

When schoolteachers and other employees visit our offices and have the opportunity to see the differences between 1.5 vs. 3 mil film, the contest is immediately over. They upgrade to 3 mil roll lamination film and never look back.

 

What is 3 mil Clear Lamination Film?

 

Three mil thick roll lamination film is basically an everyday film that will adhere to most printed documents, signs and posters. Clear film is popular with schools and copy shops because it works very well on a variety of substances. When properly laminated, clear 3mil film gives your document a professional, glass-like appearance. It comes in widths of nine, 12, 18, 25 and 27 inches.

 

Roll lamination film also comes in other mil thicknesses: five and ten mil. Some roll laminators, especially models purchases by most schools, are restricted to a narrow range of lamination film thicknesses … typically 1.5 to 3 mil. Be sure you are using laminate film that is compatible with your laminator.

 

At ABC Office we have the best selection and prices on roll laminating film available online. Our lineup also includes matt film, UV lamination film, pressure sensitive laminating film and more. We mostly sell clear glossy film, which means we are able to provide you with some of the lowest prices available online. We also offer roll lamination film core sizes and widths that accommodate most roll laminators available on the market. Some of the major manufacturers we represent include: Ledco, Sircle, GBC, Tamerica and more.

 

Contact ABC Office today at 1-800-658-8788 to ask about our selection of clear 3 mil lamination films.

 

Using a Heat Sealer? Don’t Forget to Congeal the Seal

Friday, July 29th, 2016
Add the congeal step to your heat sealing process.

Sealer Sales KF-520H / KF-525H 20″ Impulse Hand Sealer

 

If you use an impulse heat sealer, you may not have even considered the importance of the congealing, or cooling step. Sealer Sales, one of the leading manufacturers of heat sealers, recently reminded us of the importance of congealing a seal. What exactly does this mean? Congeal means to cool under pressure.

If you are using a hand or foot sealer, then your model is officially classified as a manual sealer. This basically means that you should add the congeal step (also sometimes referred to as a dwell step) to your sealing process. This will make certain a secure and proper seal.

So, how do you do this? You can simply hold the sealing jaw down for a couple of seconds after the timer light has gone off to set the seal. This added step guarantees a proper seal. This will also help your sealer cool down before the next seal begins. The benefit to you with this added step is extended longevity of the heat-sealing elements.

With auto sealers, the manufacturer recommends the congeal (cooling) setting to be lengthened to at least two times greater than the heat setting time. This will give the seal ample opportunity to set and cool under pressure. It will also allow the heating element to properly cool down as well. Again, allowing the sealer to cool down this way will add longevity to all of the heat-sealing parts.

Be sure to contact ABC Office with any of your heat sealer questions. We also sell replacement parts for most heat sealer models.

Office Machine Review: The Widmer E-3 Electronic Embossing Machine

Friday, June 10th, 2016

 

Widmer E-3 embossing machine

Widmer E-3 Embosser

 

Are you searching for an electronic document embosser that provides consistent reliability and toughness? The Widmer E-3 embossing machine is one of the most durable embossing machines available on the market today.

The E-3 embosser is intended for heavy-duty daily use. It may be operated consistently throughout the workday without any downtime. The end result of embossed text, logos or numbers looks highly professional.

This model from Widmer uses custom embossing plates. The plates may include logos, text or numbers. The E-3 is made from durable die-cast metal components and features some of the finest quality handcraftsmanship found in an embosser. The unit may be used to emboss carbon forms, diplomas, certificates, legal documents, checks, card stock, etc.

Is security a concern? The Widmer E-3 embosser has a convenient secure locking device that helps discourage unauthorized access to the stamping plate. You may manually adjust the stamping depth and pressure to accommodate positioning on a document with the Widmer E-3.

An automatic trigger comes standard. It provides helpful hands-free operation and ease of use. The Widmer model E-3 embosser is a popular model with justice of the peace divisions in several states, schools, various government branches and large offices. Most electric embossers available today simply do not get any better than this one.

 

  • Features rapid operation and consistent accuracy
  • Ideal for use with single sheet and two-part carbonized forms
  • You can emboss diplomas, legal papers, certificates, etc.
  • Imprints within three inches from the edge of the document

 

Have custom embossing artwork? Call us at 1-800-658-8788 for help. We also offer competitive discount pricing for orders with multiple embossing units. Be sure to call for more details!

What Makes a Good Comb Binding Machine?

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Comb Binding Machines - Features to ConsiderCustomers ask me all the time, “What features do I need in a comb binding machine?” It’s a good question and I would like to point out some “must-have” features and some “optional” features. While most comb binding machines share a lot in common, some have some very cool and unique tools you may want to consider for your business. Before I go much further into this article, you can find our entire selection of comb binding machines and supplies by visiting us here.

So what is comb binding? Comb binding is a method used to organize and bind multiple sheets of paper into booklet format. These machines punch a total of 19 holes along the 11” side of a sheet of paper. Once the holes are punched, a plastic 19-ring comb spine is inserted through the holes and closed shut. This plastic spine is what holds the paper together. These style of binding has been around for literally decades and is one of the most affordable ways to bind a book, presentation or report.

Advantages of Comb – Comb binding is affordable, plain and simply. The machines don’t run too much money and a box of 100 combs can usually be purchased for under $10 (often much less). Comb binding allows the spines to be re-opened to remove or add additional pages. The combs themselves are very resilient and are available in a variety of different colors.

Disadvantages of Comb – Comb binding elements can wear out over time and with excessive use, causing the spine to open a little resulting in pages falling out. While this is rare, it can happen. Comb binding also doesn’t allow pages to be wrapped around 360 degrees like coil binding does.

I would now like to cover common and not-so-common features you can find in a comb-binding machine.

  • Side Margin Control – This is the guide that allows you to adjust the positioning the paper left and right. Almost all comb binders have this feature.
  • Margin Depth Control – This is a feature that allows you to set how far into the paper the holes are punched. This is nice if you are binding a variety of book thicknesses. You may want to punch further into the paper when binding thicker books to prevent pages from tearing out. Only about have of the machines out there offer this feature.
  • Manual / Electric Punch – Comb binding machines are available with manual or electric punches, not both. You’ll have to choose. Most people go with manual punches unless they are binding a lot of books per day. I generally recommend electric for people who are binding dozens or more books per day. Electric really does cut down on fatigue.
  • Vertical / Horizontal Punch – Most comb binding machines have a vertical punch, where you lay the paper flat on the surface while punching the paper. Some manufacturers have designed machines with a vertical punch, where the paper stands on its end while being punched. The vertical punch can be nice because it keeps the edges of the paper lined up during the entire process using gravity.
  • Singe / Double Handle – Some comb binding machines use dual handles for punching and binding, where others use a single handle. Single-handle machines punch paper when the handle is pulled and open plastic combs (using the metal comb fingers) when the handle is pushed back. Dual handle units have one hand that punches and another that opens the combs.
  • Disengageable Dies – Have you ever punched paper only to end up with a half-punched hole on the edge? It can ruin the entire book. While side-to-side margin adjustments can fix some of this, it isn’t going to fix everything…especially when binding odd sizes of paper. Machines with desengageable dies allow you to disable specific punching dies. If you have a half-punched hole, simply disengage that die. You could, although I don’t know why you would want to, punch every other hole using a machine equipped with fully disengageable dies.
  • Plastic / Metal Build – Machines vary in build quality. While they all use metal punching pins, the gears, handle and body of the machine can vary in build quality. As you might imagine, lesser expensive machines typically utilize more plastic in the design where higher-end machines use more metal. Some manufactures, like Akiles, use a lot of metal in their machines.

I hope this helps. There is a lot of information there to assimilate. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out. Thanks again for reading!

Best Equipment for Retail Packaging

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Shrink Wrap Packaging EquipmentI speak with people every day who are looking for the best piece of equipment to use for packaging their product for retail sale purposes. While there are some tools out there that can be used for “general purpose” packaging, most packaging tools are designed for very specific projects. I would like to cover a few popular pieces of equipment that can be used for your own in-house packaging.

At ABC Office, we over over a dozen different types of machines that can be used for packaging. In fact, you can find our entire selection of packaging machines here. We carry gravity drop sealers, band sealers, carton sealers, sleeve wrappers and more. For the sake of time, and keep this article from going on over 20 pages, I am limiting this to the top four most popular categories.

Shrink Wrap (found here) – Shrink wrap is the most popular method of packaging products for retail sale purposes. Shrink wrap machines use special thermoplastic film that literally shrinks down when heat is applied. The process is pretty cool and the thin layer of plastic provides protection, makes items tamper proof and can be used for bundling. We offer three different types of shrink wrap machines:

  • I-Bar Sealers (found here) – Our I-Bar sealers are the most popular tool we offer. They are ideal for low to medium volume packaging needs and they are extremely affordable. The I-bar contains a single element that uses impulses of electricity to seal off the film. When used with centerfold shrink film, the I-bar has to be pulled down to seal all opened sides (usually involves two passes). Most I-bar sealers include a heat gun that is then manually used to shrink down the film.
  • L-Bar Sealers (found here) – These tools are similar to the I-bar but have an “L” shaped impulse sealing blade. This doubles the speed at which you can package products. L-bar sealers can be used with a heat gun or with a shrink tunnel, depending on the speed you need to package products.
  • Shrink Wrap Systems (found here) – These systems usually feature an L-bar sealing blade integrated with a heat tunnel dome. The result is a machine that can cut shrink film around a product and shrink the film down all at the same time. This improves efficiency and speed. This type of system is ideal for medium to high-volume packaging needs.


Bag Heat SealersHeat Sealers (found here)
– Heat sealers, often called bag sealers, are designed to seal the open end of a plastic bag. This includes a variety of plastic films including cellophane, mylar, poly film and much more. Depending on the sealer, they can be used with a variety of thicknesses of plastic. These sealers also come in different sealing lengths and widths. They are used for packaging food, tools, powders, liquids and more. Heat sealers are broken down into two categories:

  • Impulse – Impulse bag sealers are designed for speed and can be used with thinner plastic. They use a sealing element that only heats up when it is sealing a bag. It is quick to cool down and very safe to handle.
  • Direct Heat – These sealers, sometimes called constant heat sealers, use a heating element that needs to warm up and remains hot. They are typically a little less money than impulse sealers and they can be used with thicker plastic.

Vacuum SealersVacuum Sealers (found here) – Vacuum sealers are used to provide an air-tight seal, typically for packaging food or sterile medical instruments. Thanks to an airtight seal, vacuum sealers can be used to dramatically extend the life of food and are excellent for preventing contaminants. We offer two different types of vacuum sealers:

  • Chamber Vacuum Sealers (found here) – Chamber vacuum sealers are extremely popular for packaging food and they are ideal for industrial / commercial level packaging needs. You simply insert your item into the vacuum bag, insert it into the chamber and let the machine do the rest. The chamber sealer will remove all the air inside the chamber, seal the bag and return the atmosphere inside the chamber back to normal. The results are long lasting and professional.
  • External Vacuum Sealers (found here) – External sealers seal products outside the machine. Once an item is placed in the back, the open end is inserted into the machine. The external sealer will then remove the air inside the bag and then seal the bag shut. We offer several different types of external sealers including channel sealers (much like a Foodsaver) and industrial external sealers that use nozzles for removing air.

Clamshell SealersClamshell Sealers (found here) – Have you ever purchased a toy, tools or other items encased in a hard plastic shell? This packaging is referred to as clam shell packaging. In the past this clam shell was held shut by staples. Today clam shell sealers are used to keep this packaging closed. This prevents injuries, rust and is an affordable alternative to staples. The clam shell sealer uses heat (or ultrasonic waves) to melt the plastic together.

I hope this has helped answer a few of your packaging questions. Because this is such a huge topic, you may still have additional questions. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 or post your question as a comment. We have decades of experience with these machines and would love to help you out.

Christmas Gift Ideas 2013 from ABC Office

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas - Rotary Paper CuttersIf you’re looking for that unique gift for a special someone, consider one of our many unique office products. While many of our products are designed for use in an office, many are also excellent for use at home by a scrapbooker, a hobbyist m a parent, a friend and much more. I would like to bring up just a few of our most popular Christmas gift ideas.

One of our most popular product categories for gifts is our line of rotary paper cutters and trimmers. These are excellent for trimming down paper, cutting photos, sizing card stock and more. Here are four that I personally recommend:

  1. Carl RT-200 Rotary Paper Trimmer (found here) – This is by far one of the most popular trimmers we offer. It is a great multi-purpose trimmer and scrapbookers love the optional patterned blades. It comes with a standard slitting blade, but optional scoring, perforating and patterned blades are available. It is very accurate and affordable.
  2. Carl DC-300N (found here) – This is another popular scrapbooker / hobbyist rotary trimmer. It includes a convenient carrying handle, multiple guides / grids and has a nice clamp that is designed to make the item you’re cutting easier to see. It also has a compartment where you can store extra blades.
  3. Dahle 500 Series Rotary Trimmers (found here) – The 500 series Personal Rotary Cutters from Dahle are excellent gift items. They come in different sizes, have optional perforating / scoring blades available and are actually really well built. They hold up very well and maintain a sharp edge.
  4. Carl 210 Rotary Trimmer (found here) – If you need some added cutting length, but don’t want to spend a fortune, the Carl DC-250 is an excellent option. I have had customers tell me this is equal to the Dahle trimmers in quality and it has a long 25” cutting length and a decent 30 sheet cutting capacity.

Another very popular gift category is our line of binding machines. These are especially nice for that person that likes to bind their own books, cookbooks, photo albums or scrapbooks. Here are four models I personally recommend:

  1. Intelli-Bind IB200 Comb Binding MachineIntelli-Bind IB200 Comb Binding Machine (found here) – The IB200 is one of the most affordable comb binding machines we offer. While it isn’t designed for high volumes of binding, it is excellent for a few books a day. It uses 19-ring plastic binding combs and can bind a book up to 2” thick. It is a great book binder for the value.
  2. Intelli-Bind IB150 Comb Binding Machine (found here) – The Intelli-Bind IB150 is another value comb binding machine. The advantage to this machine is that it uses a “U” shaped handle that is easy to operate whether you are right or left handed. Like the IB200, it can be used to bind a book up to 2” thick. It can bind reports, books, presentations, photo albums and more.
  3. Intelli-Bind IC210 Coil Binding Machine (found here) – Coil binding machines are especially popular these days due to the durability of the PVC coil and the ability of the books to lay flat and pages to turn a full 360 degrees. The IC210 is very easy to operate and includes the added benefit of an electric coil inserter.
  4. Intelli-Bind IW250 Wire Binding Machine (found here) – Wire binding is considered to be one of the classiest binding formats out there. The IW250 will allow you to use 3:1 pitch wire to bind a variety of items. It includes the punch and the wire closer. It also comes with fully selectable punching pins, which is excellent when binding non-standard paper sizes.

Finally, I recommend you consider a paper shredder for a loved one who has a lot of material that they dispose of on a regular basis. A paper shredder provides the gift of peace of mind. Here are four models that should keep up with your home shredding needs:

  1. Fellowes P-35C Cross Cut ShredderFellows P-35C Cross Cut Shredder (found here) – This is a great deskside shredder that can be strategically placed to quickly destroy invoices, bills, sensitive documents, mail, applications and more.
  2. HSM Shredstar X5 Shredder (found here) – The HSM Shredstar X5 is by far one of the best small office paper shredders available. It is made by HSM, considered to be one of the best brands out there. It is easy to use, well built and cross cut shreds 6-7 sheets of paper at a time. If you need quality, this is the shredder to own.
  3. Fellowes DS-2 Cross Cut Shredder (found here) – The Fellowes DS-2 is one of the few paper shredders we offer that includes a garbage bypass slot. It can easily cross cut shred full sizes of paper and features a unique modern design. This is a great shredder for the home.
  4. Intimus 20CC3 Cross Cut Shredder (found here) – If you want to take your shredding up to the next level, consider the Intimus Pro 20CC3. This shredder is German built, features a continuous-duty motor and holds up to 5.28 gallons of paper. It is on the quieter side of cross cut shredders and includes a lifetime warranty on the cutting cylinders.

Hopefully these suggestions help you in your pursuit of a thoughtful Christmas gift. Keep in mind, we offer a lot more than just these machines. At ABC Office we offer literally thousands of products, so feel free to swing by our site and see everything we have to offer by visiting us here (www.abcoffice.com). You can reach us by calling 1-800-658-8788.

Folding Stapled Sheets of Paper

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Folding stapled sheets of paperDoes your business or organization need the ability to fold stapled sets of paper in a quick and professional manner? Doing this quickly and accurately can be difficult, especially if you are trying to do this by hand. Most people who need to fold hundreds or even thousands of sets of stapled paper per day need to use a special type of paper folding machine (found here). Not all folding machines can handle multiple sets of paper at a time. I would like to cover some machines that should work and answer some common questions.

Multi-sheet folding is the method of folding more than one sheet of paper at a time. Often times these sets of paper are stapled prior to folding. Unfortunately over the years I have found that many people purchase a folding machine thinking it can do multi-sheet folding. This is not the case. Only a small percentage of machines are capable of doing this. Let me explain why this is so difficult.

Most paper folding machine have a feed tray where the paper is loaded. The folding machine then takes a sheet of paper from the stack, runs it through the machine, bounces it off of some folding plates (which determine where the crease will be made) after which the paper comes out of the machine folded. Due to the fact that most paper folding machines only have one tray, and due to the way that the machines are designed, it is only physically possible to fold one sheet of paper at a time. Some manufactures have come up with a clever way to bypass this problem.

TABLETOP PAPER FOLDING MACHINES

Martin Yale 1611 AutoFolder Paper Folding MachineMany manufacturers use a multi-sheet bypass slot to fold multiple sets of paper (stapled or unstapled). A great example of a machine that can do this is the Martin Yale 1611 (found here) and the Martin Yale 1711 (found here). Mechanically both of these machines are almost identical except that the 1611 requires the folding plates to be manually set where the 1711 has plates that set themselves.

Both of the above mentioned Martin Yale folding machines have a bypass feed slot for multi-sheet folding. This isn’t quite as convenient as simply dropping a large stack of paper into a tray, but it is still significantly faster and much more accurate than manually folding multi-sheet documents or stapled sets of paper. Simply take your stack of papers (up to 5 20#bond documents) and feed them into the bypass slot. The folding machine detects the paper, pulls it in and folds them all together. The results are impressive.

Here is a picture that shows you where that bypass slot is located:

Multi-sheet bypass slot on a Martin Yale 1611

Here are some other machines that have a multi-sheet bypass:

Here’s a video of the Martin Yale 2051 folding 5 sheets of paper at once:

DESKTOP LETTER FOLDING MACHINES

Martin Yale P9400 Desktop Paper Folding MachineIf you are folding just a few dozen sets of paper per day, you may want to consider something basic like a tabletop letter folder. These machines require the paper to be manually fed in regardless of whether you are folding a single sheet or multiple sheets of paper. These machines are also still significantly faster than manually folding paper. The Martin Yale P6200 (found here) and Martin Yale P6400 (found here) are both examples of tabletop letter folding machines that can multi-sheet fold up to 3 sheets (letter fold) or 5 sheets (half fold). Both can handle stapled or unstapled documents.

ENVELOPE INSERTING MACHINES

If you need a more automated way of multi-sheet folding paper, you may want to consider using an envelope inserting machine (found here). These machines have multiple feed trays. While they are designed to fold paper and insert it into envelopes, the envelope inserting portion of the process can be disabled. The only downside to this method is you cannot use it with stapled sets of paper.

I hope this information helps you with your multi-sheet folding needs. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We have decades of experience with folding machines and multi-sheet folding. We would love to help you out. You can find our entire selection of paper folding machines here.

My Time, Date and Text Stamp Is Too Loud. Help!

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Document Stamping MachineIf you have ever heard a time, date or text stamp in use, you may have noticed that they can be a bit loud. There is a reason for this. These stamping machines use a great deal of force to slam that crash head against a ribbon (or using ink) to create a clear and precise stamp on a sheet of paper. These very stamps are often used to not only stamp, but impress information through carbon / carbonless multi-sheet forms. So is there anything that can be done to make these machines a little quieter? I would like to offer a few suggestions. You can find our document stamping machines here.

About a week ago we had a customer contact us regarding the Widmer T-3 time stamp (found here). They said that the stamp, while working perfectly, was producing a lot of noise. It was enough of a concern that they felt it was affecting operations of the employees by creating too much of a distraction. They wanted a few suggestions on quieting the stamp. Widmer was kind enough to provide us with some solid options.

At ABC Office we currently offer a lot of time, text, date and document stamping machines. Many of these machines use a crash head, which is the term used to describe the apparatus that actually makes contact with the paper, resulting in the stamped imprint. Most of our machines are made by manufacturers such as Widmer (very well known) and Acroprint (a leading manufacturer of time clocks). These stamping machines are well made and designed for constant use.

So here are a few things you may want t consider to help quiet your stamping machine:

  • Location – The design of a room, or the size, can dramatically affect the dissipation of sound. Quieting the machine may be as simple as moving it into a different part of the building or into a different room (if possible).
  • Surface – When used on a solid surface, the table or desk can reverberate the sound. Widmer recommends (if noise is an issue) to try using the stamp on a mouse pad. The pad can help absorb the vibrations and decrease the amount of noise generated.
  • Stamping Pressure – Many stamping machines allow you to adjust the amount of pressure the stamping head uses to amply the stamp. You may simply have the stamping pressure dialed up a little too high. Try scaling the pressure down a little and see if that helps decrease the sound without decreasing the quality of the stamp.
  • Machine Design – Rather than going with a crash head design, you could consider going with a model that uses a dot matrix print head. This is quieter, although it won’t go through multiple layers of paper if you are dealing with multi-sheet / multi-part forms. The Widmer T4U (found here) is an example of a dot matrix designed time stamp. It can be customized to show time, data and include text.

I hope these suggestions help you in your noise reduction efforts. For many people the noise these stamps generate isn’t a big deal, especially when the machines are only occasionally used. If it is a big deal, and you use it a lot, these suggestions may make a big difference. If you still have questions about time, date and text stamping machines, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We have decades of experience with these machines and would love to help you out.

Office Equipment Made in the USA

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Office Equipment Made in the USAThere is a growing trend in the United States right now of people looking for office equipment made in the USA. This is driven by a sense of national pride and a desire to help bolster the local economy. At ABC Office (found here) we actually offer a really nice selection of products that are made in the USA. Many of these products are actually some of the highest quality and best supported that we offer.

Before I go too much further into our American-made products at ABC Office, I would just like to say that we offer many fine pieces of equipment that aren’t made in the USA. To my friends outside the US, it should be known that my favorite paper cutters and shredders are made in Germany. The point of this article, however, is to help people in the US find American-made products for the sake of supporting American companies.

What I would like to do is list off some of our most popular manufacturers and their products that are made in the USA.

  • Formax (found here) – Formax manufactures a lot of their products in the United Sates. This includes their lines of pressure sealers, bursters, decollators, paper folding machines, mail tabbers and booklet makers. Few manufactures have this much of their product line made in America. Coincidentally, Formax products are some of the best made that we offer.
  • Lassco Corner Rounders (found here) – Lassco is one of the top manufactures of corner rounders in the United States. Most of their corner rounders, including the popular CR-20 and CR-50 are made in the USA. These corner roudners are some of the best built in the industry.
  • Widmer (found here) – Widmer manufactures a lot of their own date, time and number stamps. They are based out of New York and their products are very well known for their reliability.
  • Staplex (found here) – The bulk majority of the staplers made by Staplex are made in the USA. This excludes some of their cheaper models such as the S10P, SL and ST. Almost all of their higher-end electric and heavy-duty staplers are made in the USA.
  • Martin Yale (found here) – Martin Yale has been manufacturing office equipment for decades. Many of their products, including most of their paper folding machines (i.e. 1501x, 1611, 1217A, 1711), some of their shredders and all of their wood base paper cutters are made in the USA.
  • Traco (found here) – Traco I-bar sealers and L-bar shrink wrap machines are all manufactured in the United States. Traco is by far one of the most popular I-bar shrink wrap machines around.
  • Amerishred (found here) – As the name implies, these paper shredders are all made in the USA. The Amerishred line of shredders are designed for commercial and industrial shredding applications with many of their designs capable of shredding hundreds of sheets of paper at a time.

It’s nice to see that there is still a lot of high quality office equipment made in the USA still available. This list is up to date as of July 2013. As manufacturing changes and operations are sometimes moved, I recommend calling us at 1-800-658-8788 for an updated list. I will try to update this list as frequently as possible.

Can Any Laminator Be Used with Photos?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Akiles Pro-Lam Photo LaminatorI spoke with a customer a few days ago who wondered if any laminator could be used to laminate photos. They had apparently been doing research online and had come across a few photo forums where people were saying you simply couldn’t do it yourself and have the results come out right. It sounded to me like this person had come across a lot of vague and incorrect information. After speaking with the customer, I helped answer a few questions and pointed them in the right direction. I would like to help you, the reader, learn more about laminators (found here), photos and which models will get the job done right.

Laminating a photograph can be a stressful event. Regardless of whether the photo was created using a printer or produced in a lab, nobody wants to ruin the photo while laminating it. Some prints are one-of-a-kind items that can’t be reproduced. In order to understand why some laminators work and others don’t, I would like to cover the differences in laminators.

Speedy-Lam 330R-10 10 Roller LaminatorFirst off, the most popular laminator used with photos is the pouch laminator (found here). These laminators use pouches of film that open and close much like a file folder. You basically insert the item you need laminated inside the pouch, place it in a special carrier and run it through the laminator. While cold (pressure sensitive) pouch laminators do exist, thermal (aka hot) laminators are what the professionals use to laminate photos.

Pouch laminators are broken up into different categories, depending on the built-in features. The two most common categories you will find are mil thickness (how thick a film it can use) and the amount of rollers that are inside the machine. Let me start with the mil thickness.

The mil thickness is the actual thickness of the laminating pouch the laminator can handle. A mil is a thousandth of an inch, which is about 0.025mm. The higher the mil number, the thicker the pouch. Laminating pouches (found here) are broken up into 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. Most people use a 5 mil pouch when laminating documents and photos. The 7 and 10 are usually only used with a lot of rigidity and stability are needed, perhaps for a sign. The 3 mil thickness is usually only found with larger pouches, such as those used with restaurant menus.

The roller number is the amount of rubber rollers used in the machine’s design. The minimum number you can have is two, one on the top and one on the bottom. These rollers are what help adhere the hot glue to the item being laminated. These rollers are sometimes heated. The more rollers you have, the better the results. I personally recommend you stay away from two-roller laminators all together as they are generally cheap. Four roller laminators are excellent for laminating paper and documents.

When it comes to laminating photos, especially on a regular basis, I recommend going with 6 rollers or more. This will allow the laminator to produce high-quality results. You won’t end up with artifacts such as bubbles, cloudiness, ripples and other flaws. I have seen photo laminators out there with six, eight and even 10 rollers. These rollers help apply pressure, deliver heat and remove head (towards the end of the process). Can you laminate a photo with a four-roller laminator? Sure, and I have seen good results, but I can’t guarantee that you will always have good results.

Here are a few good photo laminators:

Film quality can also be a factor when laminating a photo. Truth be told, the older the lamination film is, the poorer the results will be. I recommend you use film (for photo laminating) no older than a year, perhaps two. Most film manufactured today, even the cheap stuff, usually produces pretty good results.

My recommendation is that you test the laminator and film with a regular piece of paper prier to sacrificing a photograph. If the paper turns out well, you can then move up to testing a photo.

Do you still have questions about laminating photos? Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our experts. We also have a full-time Service Department that can help you find replacement parts for your roll or pouch laminators. You can find our entire selection of laminators here.

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