The PL12A Pouch Laminator’s Replacement

August 27th, 2013

PL12A Pouch LaminatorPouch laminators are remarkable machines, making it possible for businesses, homes, schools and others to affordably laminate products. The PL12A (formerly made by Banner American & Laminators Specialties) used to be the pinnacle of pouch laminators. It was considered to be the best out there. Unfortunately the PL12A has been discontinued and it now looks like it will not be coming back. So what does this mean for those of you in the market for a pouch laminator or who need a replacement for a worn out PL12A? I have the perfect replacement for you.

Unfortunately the PL12A is not coming back. That’s right. Neither is the smaller PL4A. This is sad for me because I have been selling and promoting this laminator for well over a decade. It just worked really well. The company, Laminators Specialties, recently closed up shop. Another company is in the process of acquiring their roll laminators (thankfully), but it looks like the pouch laminators aren’t going to be part of that acquisition.

Akiles ProLam Plus 330 Pouch LaminatorLuckily there are a lot of good pouch laminators out there, many of which I have had the chance to personally use. One of the best replacements is the Akiles ProLam Plus 330 (found here). This laminator has also been around for a long time and it currently has all of the features many people came to love in the PL12A. This includes such features as:

  • 10 Mil Laminating Thickness – The thickest standard laminating pouch on the market is the 10 mil thickness. This laminator will easily handle it as well as smaller thicknesses.
  • Adjustable Temperature Control – Rather than having a basic high and low setting, this laminator has an adjustable dial that allows for several different temperature adjustments to accommodate a variety of types of film.
  • Independent Motor / Heat Control – This is a personal favorite. Many laminators require that the motor and the heat be on at the same time via a single switch. This laminator, along with the discontinued PL12A, allows you to leave the heat on without running the motor. This significantly saves on the lifespan of the motor.
  • Four Roller Design – A four-roller design allows for the appropriate amount of heat and pressure distribution during the lamination process. This helps improve clarity and removes artifacts such as waves, ripples, bubbles and cloudiness.

It also includes a few features the PL12A didn’t have such as:

  • Dual Heat System – This makes the ProLam Plus 330 more efficient by providing heated rollers and a heat plate. This more efficient distribution of heat allows for crystal clear results and allows lamination at lower temperatures.
  • Reverse Switch – One of my biggest complaints with the PL12A was the lack of a reverse witch. The ProLam Plus 330 has that, allowing you to back a pouch out if it is fed in crooked.
  • 13” Laminating Width – Having a little extra room to work with makes it easier to laminate 11” x 17” and 12” x 18” pouches.
  • Photo Ready – While the PL12A did a decent job of laminating photos, the use of heated rollers in the ProLam Plus 330 allows for even better results when laminating photos and ink-jet printouts.

We have been recommending the Akiles ProLam Plus 330 as THE alternative to the PL12A and our customers for several months now and they have been very happy with the switch. Having used both, I can comfortably say that you will be very happy with the results and will notice no difference in quality or in functionality over the now discontinued PL12A.

We offer a lot of great pouch laminators. You can find the Akiles ProLam Plus 330 here and our entire selection of pouch laminators here. If you have questions about the PL12A or its replacement, or if you simply need some additional information, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out.

How to Choose A Bill Counter

August 23rd, 2013

Cassida 5520 Bill CounterBill counters come in all shapes and sizes. They are commonly used by vending machine operators, casinos, banks, credit unions and more. The problem with buying a bill counter is that there are literally dozens of different styles and designs out there. I personally have over a decade of experience with bill counters (found here) and I would like to share some of my experience and advice. Hopefully this will help you make your own decision on choosing the right bill counter.

Before I get too far into this article, I would like to provide you with a basic description on what a bill counter is. A bill counter is a machine designed to take a stack of bills and count them. They will all provide you with a total quantity of bills counted, but they will not all provide you with a total value. These are the four main types of bill counters you will find on the market:

  1. Ribao P-1000 Battery-Powered Bill CounterBattery Powered Bill Counter – When you’re in a remote location, on site or in a place that doesn’t have a standard AC power supply, you need to use a battery powered bill counter. These bill counters usually run on standard batteries or rechargeable batteries. The ABC V-30 (found here) is a good example of a bill counter that runs on AA batteries and the Ribao P-100 (found here) is a good example of a bill counter that includes a 12 volt rechargeable battery. Most battery-powered bill counters also include some sort of AC adapter for use in a standard wall outlet.
  2. Standard Bill Counter – These bill counters make up about 98% of the bill counters out there. These bill counters sit on a desk or table, plug into a wall outlet and count anywhere from 150-300 (depending on the model) bills at a time. These types of bill counters provide you with a total quantity of bills. These counters are usually very fast and range in speed around 1,000 to 1,600 bills per minute.
  3. Ribao SBC-200 Suction-Feed Bill CounterAir Suction Bill Counters – These types of bill counters use air to quickly breeze through a stack of bills, operating differently than your standard bill counter that uses fingers to sift through bills. These models operate at a speed of 100 bills every four seconds and are designed to be used heavily on a daily basis. These can also be used to count banded or unbanded banknotes. The Ribao SBC-100 (found here) is a good example of a floor model and the SBC-200 (found here) is a good example of a tabletop model
  4. Mixed Bill Counter (aka Currency Discriminator) – These are some of the most sophisticated bill counters on the market. This is because they are not only able to provide you with a total quantity of bills counted, but they are also able to provide you with a total dollar value (including mixed bills). Some bill counters, like the Carnation CR3 (found here) are designed to provide you with a combined value, where others, like the Ribao DCJ-280 (found here), feature a two pocket design for sorting purposes as well.

Here is a video demonstration of a bill counter in use:

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Features Found In Most Bill Counters:

  • Batch Counting – This allows the operator to determine how many bills to be counted at a time. If you set it to 20, the bill counter will count 20 bills, stop and wait until the bills are removed before counting an additional 20 bills.
  • Adding Mode – This allows you to keep adding up bills even when feeding in multiple stacks, providing you with a total quantity.
  • Add+Batch – This feature lets you continually add while batch counting at the same time.
  • Double Note Detection – This feature lets you know when two bills have accidentally been run through the machine, alerting the operator to the error.
  • Half Note Detection – This feature lets you know when a torn or damaged banknote is run through.
  • Size Detection – When enabled, this will let you know when a bill (potentially counterfeit or otherwise) is found to be slightly larger or smaller than it should be.

Optional Features Found In Some Bill Counters

  • Polymer Bill Handling – Some countries now use polymer material, designed to hold up longer than cotton, paper or fabric-based bills. Canada is a prime example of a country that now uses polymer banknotes. We offer several Canadian bill counters designed to handle polymer bills.
  • Counterfeit Detection – If you are concerned about counterfeit bills, consider buying a bill counter with counterfeit detection. The most popular counterfeit methods used in machines today include UV (ultraviolet), MG (magnetic) and IR (infrared). These methods are extremely accurate and will notify the operator (audibly or visually) as to the potential fake bill.
  • Printer – If you need a printout of the counted results, some bill counters can be fitted with printers.

It should be noted that most US based bill counters will still handle currencies from other countries as long as they are made from similar materials and fit within the minimum and maximum specifications of the bill counter. It should also be noted that bill counters can be used to count things such as paper, coupons, tickets and other material. Feel free to send in samples to have them tested ahead of time if you would like to consider using a bill counter with your material. Just call us at 1-800-658-8788 to send something in.

Many people ask which brands are best. While I can’t say for sure which brand is better than another, I can say that we have had great luck with Ribao, Magner, Semacon, Cassida, Carnation and the ABC brand of bill counters.

We have many years experience with bill counters. I have personally handled dozens of different models. If you need additional advice, or have a few questions that need answering, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out. We also have a Service Department here that can help fix, provide parts or repair most bill counters on the market. You can find our entire selection of bill counters here.

Ribao P-100 Portable Battery-Powered Bill Counter Review

August 16th, 2013

Ribao P-100 Battery Powered Bill Counter with Counterfeit DetectionBill counters are handy machines, especially when you consider the alternative. Bill counters are extremely accurate, are generally easy to set up and use and are an excellent tool for any business that handles money on a regular basis. So what do you do when you need a bill counter, but no AC power is available? This is where battery-powered bill counters, like the Ribao P-100 (found here), come into play. We recently added this new battery-powered bill counter to our site and I would like to get you up to speed.

While most bill counters are fairly compact and easy to move around, over 99% of them have to be plugged into some sort of wall outlet. While there are some battery powered models out there, many of them are just a few steps above a toy. This is where the Ribao P-100 really finds its mark. It is both portable and effective. I would like to cover a few of its features.

To begin with, Ribao is a very well known manufacturer in the money handling industry. Their product lineup includes everything from coin counters and sorters to bill counters and counterfeit detectors. Their products have been around for literally years and are considered to be some of the best available, right up there with other brands like Cassida and Semacon.

The Riboa P-100 is completely battery powered. That means that it does not need an external AC power source. This allows the P-100 to be used on the go and makes it excellent for a variety of outdoor events, remote events and other limited power situations. The battery is a 12-volt rechargeable battery, which means no need to worry about constantly buying new batteries. If a wall outlet is nearby, an included AC adapter can be used for added convenience.

I would now like to cover some of the features themselves. First off, this bill counter really isn’t scaled down much at all from a standard bill counter. In fact, it is still able to count bills at a remarkable 1,000 per minute, which is close to what most handle. It also features a hopper that can hold 120 or 200 new bills and a stacker that handles the same amount. Again, this is very similar to what you would find in a standard bill counter. It is remarkably quiet.

One remarkable feature about this, especially considering the low price, is the fact that it includes counterfeit detection technology. This features UV (ultraviolet), MG (magnetic), MT (metal thread) and IR (Infrared) detection capabilities. Few AC bill counters include all these features.

The P-100 has a bright LED display with a 4-digit counter and features a batch preset display with 3 digits in green. It also starts automatically, automatically cleans itself and features half note, double not and chain not detection. Setting up batch counting is extremely easy to do using the control panel.

The bill counter itself is very compact and would easily fit in a drawer or cupboard. It only weighs in at four pounds shipped. It measures in at just 9”L x 7”W x 5”H.

Do you still have questions about this bill counter? Give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our knowledgeable experts. If this isn’t the model you need, we can help you find one that will work for your needs. You can find our entire selection of bill counters here.  Have you used this model yourself? Let us know what you think by posting a comment.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Best Types of Clam Shell Sealers

August 14th, 2013

Direct Heat Clam Shell SealerHave you ever purchased something at a store and it was sealed in a thick plastic shell? This is what’s known as clam shell packaging. It is packaging that opens and closes like a clam with three open sides. Scissors are often used to open this kind of packaging (or a little muscle). Years ago staplers were used to seal this type of packaging, but today most people use clam shell sealers (found here). So what is a clam shell sealer and what types are available? I’ll explain more in this article.

As mentioned earlier, years ago staples where commonly used to keep clam shell packaging closed. The downside to this is that the staples would eventually begin to rust and oxidize, making the packaging look awful. There was also the safety issue. Staples can puncture skin and potentially cause a minor injury. For this reason, most people have abandoned staples as a method for closing clam shell packaging.

Clam shell sealers, often called packaging spot welders, actually cause the top and bottom half of the clam shell packaging to melt together. This is usually done in a couple of spots on the opening side of the packaging. The sides are often left alone, although they can be sealed as well if the clam shell packaging is large. Clam shell sealers also don’t require any supplies, such as staples, to operate. Clam shell sealers range in size depending on the volume of packaging. Some are fairly automated where others are handheld.

There are two main types of technology used in clam shell sealers. The model you use will depend on several factors. Here are the types you have to choose from:

Direct Heat Clam Shell Sealer – These sealers are very popular and very common because they are so affordable. These sealers use constant heat to melt the plastic together. The concept is very simple and straightforward. They use clamping jaws and look much like a set of high-tech pliers. Some of these have a variable temperature dial where others simply have a high or low setting. Direct heat sealers are designed to work with most types of packaging including those made from OPS, PSP, PVC and EPS materials.

The KF-772DH (found here) is a great example of a direct heat clam shell sealer. It has two heated jaws that can be used to tight spot weld plastic in a 4mm x 10mm spot. This particular unit is a dual temperature model with the high temperature at 350 F and the low at 250 F. It looks a lot like a pair of pliers and it is extremely easy to maneuver. The handles are insulated, keeping them nice and cool during use.

Here’s a video demo of the KF-772DH in action:

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OnPak Ultrasonic Clam Shell SealerUltrasonic Clam Shell Sealer – If you’re concerned about safety, or you want to speed up packaging operations, you may want to consider an ultrasonic clam shell sealer. These sealers use ultrasonic vibration technology to melt and weld the plastic together rather than direct heat. As a result, there is no need to worry about being burned. These sealers are also extremely quick to use and operate. These sealers also remain remarkably clean and efficient with continued use. These sealers will work with PSP, OPS, HIPS, PPF, PP and A-PET. Some will even work with PVC clam shell packaging (verify this before purchasing a machine).

The OnPak Ultrasonic clam shell sealer (found here) is a great example of an ultrasonic unit that has PVC sealing capabilities. It works a lot like a small handheld stapler and produces a seal that measures in at 3mm x 6mm. Because it is ultrasonic, no warm up time is required.

Here’s a video demo of the OnPak in action:

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Using a handheld clam shell sealer is a great way for you to affordably package your own products. The process is very simple and very little training is required to operate one of these machines. This can allow you to package products from the convenience of your own home or a desk / table. Most of these machines weigh very little. In my experience, the direct heat sealers weigh a little more than the ultrasonic sealers.

We have decades of experience handling and dealing with packaging products and supplies. If you’re having trouble settling on a machine, or if you simply need some advice or a few answers, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of clam shell sealers here.

Duplo DB-280 Commercial Perfect Binding Machine Review

August 7th, 2013

Duplo DB-280 Perfect Binding MachineAre you familiar to what a paperback or softback book is? This is a book that consists of several pages that are glued to a cover, resulting in a bound book. While this description may sound simple, the process really isn’t that complicated. The process of binding paperback books is known as perfect binding. I would like to review one of the best semi-auto perfect binding machines on the market, the Duplo DB-280 (found here).

Perfect binding is extremely popular for binding paperback books, for padding paper and much more. You will find books, manuals, guides and even some magazines bound using perfect binding. The process usually involves some sort of hot glue that is rolled onto the flat edge of several sheets of paper after which the sheets are moved onto some sort of cover that is wrapped around the paper and crimped on. Once the glue is dry, the book is done.

The Duplo DB-280 is a perfect binding machine right down to its core. It is what I would consider to be a semi-automated machine. While it does apply glue and crimp the cover onto the booklet, you do have to manually insert the paper. The DB-280 is the first in a line of several heavy-duty perfect binding machines offered by Duplo. Other larger machines include the KB-4000 PUR, DPB-500 PUR and DPB-500.

The DB-280 is designed to be very easy to use and operate, taking just a few minutes to set the thickness of the glue and to make a few additional adjustments. It is rated at producing up to about 200 books per hour, making it a great machine for on-demand applications or for short-run use. It can be used to perfect bind books, but can also be used to simply apply glue to a stack of paper for padding purposes. It can also be used to apply tape to a spine for a unique look.

Here is a video of the Duplo DB-280 perfect binding machine in use:

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One of the biggest complaints of perfect binding machines is the odor. The DB-280 uses a unique glue formula that dramatically cuts down on smell, making it a great option for indoor use. This is a huge advantage over many cheaper machines out there that churn out loads of odor and smoke.

One thing I am impressed with about this machine is the quality. The DB-280 really does produce books that are completely professional and look equally as good as anything you’ll find on some of the larger floor machines. This machine does a great job of applying a smooth even layer of glue over the paper’s edge and you don’t need to worry about excess glue or mess squeezing or spilling out over the edges during the perfect binding process.

There are a few additional tools I recommend you consider using when perfect binding. The two additional tools I recommend include paper joggers and stack paper cutters. Here’s why I recommend using them:

  • Paper Joggers (found here) – When paper comes off a printing press or a copy machine, the paper is often off skews or jumbled around a bit. Paper joggers are used to square up the edges of paper by vibrating them together. Whenever we use a perfect binding machine out on our showroom floor, we almost always jog the paper prior to running them through the machine.
  • Stack Paper Cutters (found here) – If you’re worried about the edges of your book not being perfectly smooth (which is common), you may want to use a stack paper cutter. These cutters can handle hundreds of sheets of paper at a time and are commonly used to square up the three non-bound edges of the book.

The DB-280 is a robust machine and you may have additional questions prior to making a purchase. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. We accept credit cards, checks, purchase orders and you can even lease this machine. Our Service Department is able to provide additional parts, supplies and service as needed.

Roll Versus Pouch Laminators – Which to Use

August 5th, 2013

If you are looking for a reliable way to laminate material on a daily basis, you may be wondering which type of laminator to buy. While several different models exist today, thermal roll and pouch laminators (found here) continue to be the two most popular formats used. These laminators are used to laminate everything from business cards and signs to restaurant menus and banners. So which of these two laminator styles should you consider using?

There are two major things to consider when purchasing a pouch or roll laminator. You need to look at the volume of what you are laminating and the size of what you are laminating. Here is a brief description of how the two types of laminators work:

Pouch Laminators (found here) – Pouch laminators are tabletop units that use pouches of lamination film to laminate documents, literature and other material. These pouches open up much like a file folder, with one edge sealed shut. This can be the long or short side, but it is usually the short side. Once the pouch is opened, the item being laminated can be placed inside. This means there is a layer of lamination film on both the top and the bottom of the object.

Prior to being run through a laminator, the lamination pouch is typically placed in a protective carrier. This carrier is designed to take the lamination pouch through the machine. It provides added rigidity, preventing jams, and helps keep hot glue from squeezing out and getting on the rubber rollers inside the machine. Not all laminators require the laminating pouch to be put in a carrier prior to use. These laminators come in sizes typically ranging from 4” up to 13” wide.

Here is a video of a pouch laminator in use:

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Roll Laminators (found here) – Roll laminators don’t use laminating pouches, but rather lamination rolls. There is a top and a bottom roll, which work together to completely encapsulate the item being laminated. No carrier is required. Simply turn the laminator on, set the temperature, insert the item you are laminating and let the machine do the rest. The end results look great and are equally comparable to the results found in a pouch laminator. These types of laminators rang in sizes anywhere from 12” up to 65” in width.

Here is a video of a roll laminator in use:

Here are the biggest advantages between the two formats:

  • Pouch Laminators – These laminators are much more affordable than roll laminators, although the price of film (per square foot) is slightly higher. These laminators are also extremely portable and very easy to use.
  • Roll Laminators – These laminators are excellent for laminating larger items or several smaller items at the same time. Roll laminators are also extremely fast, making them ideal over pouch laminators for volume and speed.

Where are these laminators typically used? You will usually find pouch laminators in locations such as small businesses, homes, photography studios, schools and churches. You will find roll laminators in copy centers, print shops, schools and other locations where a lot of laminating is required on a daily basis.

So is one format better than the other? I would have to say no. It is really a situation where you really need the right tool for the job. Both formats have their place in business and both produce clean and clear professional results.

Both of these laminators share several features in common. They both use heat to melt glue found on the inside of the lamination film. Both also produce results that are very comparable with each other. These can both be used to laminate photos, cards, menus, business cards and much more.

Do you still have questions about pouch or roll laminators? Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help answer questions and have decades of experience to help point you in the right direction. You can find our entire selection of laminators here.

LWS-1 Roll Laminator Cart & Workstation Stand Review

July 31st, 2013

LWS-1 Roll Laminator Cart & Workstation StandI normally only write reviews on machines, but I felt the LWS-1 laminator cart (found here) warranted a review. It has been around for decades and is currently one of the top choices schools, businesses, copy shops and other organizations use for holding their laminator. This warrants the question, “Is the LWS-1 something that I really need in my office?” I would like to answer that question and more in this article.

Roll laminators (found here) are heavy machines. Even the smaller 25” and 27” models still weigh a hefty amount. This creates a couple of problems. First off, a heavy laminator is hard to move around. If you’re in a classroom / school setting, and you need to shuffle and move equipment around on a regular basis, this poses a very big problem.

The second problem is that not all tables and desks are able to support a lot of weight, especially considering many of these laminators weigh in excess of 50 or more pounds. Desks and tables are also large, awkward and can be difficult to maneuver around. A cart makes a laminator easy to access from most angles.

This is where a laminator cart comes into play. The LWS-1 is a laminator cart designed to be used with 27” wide or smaller laminators. It is sometimes called the Tamerica LWS-1 or the HOP LWS-1.  It can support a roll laminator up to 110 pounds and it sits on four casters, making it possible to move a laminator around a room. This card isn’t flimsy like many carts out there. You don’t need to worry about the cart tipping over or causing safety problems like you find with many cheaper laminators.

I have used the LWS-1 laminator cart. We have used it to hold the Ledco Educator and the Easy Lam 27” laminator. In both of these situations, it supported and held the laminator without a problem. The legs that support the table on the LWS-1 is really tough made from a durable metal frame.

The table that sits on top of the frame is also extremely tough. The base of the frame features four plastic guard bumpers that prevent the card from running into and causing damage with walls and office furniture. The cart measures in at 42”L x 26”D x 29 ½”W.

A feature I especially like is the roll film holder and finished product holder. The film holder can be used to hold rolls of lamination film up to 27” wide, making it easy to change out film in a moments notice. A flat slanted basket on the other side of the laminator can be used to hold finished lamination projects or additional supplies.

Overall I would have to say that this cart is the best out there for a laminator up to 27” wide and under 110 pounds. It is mobile, easy to work around and is much nicer to use versus a table or desk. To this day we still use one of these carts out on our own showroom floor.

If you have any questions about this roll laminator cart, just give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We are also able to provide you with roll lamination film (found here) and many other laminator cart and stands (found here). Do you have experience using the LWS-1? Post your experience in this article in the form of a comment. Thanks for reading!

Three Affordable Options for Packaging Your Own Cds or Dvds

July 29th, 2013

CD & DVD Shrink Wrap Packaging MachinesHave you ever thought about packaging your own CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays or video game cases, but never really knew where to start? It isn’t really that hard and most packaging processes take just a few seconds. There are many different options out there with some of them being affordable enough to do in your own home. This is primarily done using a process called shrink wrap (found here). Machine options range from entry-level units to high-end machines.

Shrink wrapping is actually a very simple process. A product is placed in some sort of film pocket or sleeve, the open ends are sealed shut and heat is run over the plastic. Shrink wrap film is made from a thermoplastic material, so when heat is run over it the film begins to contract. This process is what creates a clear stretched film over CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays that you buy in the store.

As mentioned earlier, machines for shrink wrapping media material come in a variety of sizes. Some are designed for packaging a few dozen to a few hundred a day, where some of the larger systems are designed to package thousands to tens of thousands a day. I would like to point out some of the most affordable machines in an effort to help you get the most for your money.

Sealer Sales SWK-8-04 Heat Sealer (found here) – These kits consist of thermoplastic shrink bags (500 total), a heat sealer (used for sealing the open ends) and a high-end heat gun that is used for shrinking down the film. These kits are available for less than $100 and can be used for home or small business packaging needs.

AIE I-Bar Sealers (found here) – These machines are very versatile and can be used for packaging CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and other stuff as well. These machines use what’s known in the packaging industry as centerfold film. Basically it is a long sheet of film that has been folded in half and rolled up. Because the film is folded in half, a pocket is formed. The width of the film is determined by the roll, but the length can be set by the operator.

Once the product is inserted into the centerfold film, the open ends are sealed shut using the I-bar. The film can then be quickly shrunk down using the included heat gun. This particular machine includes a 500-foot roll of centerfold film.

Here is a video of an AIE I-bar sealer in use:

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Truline TP-48ST Shrink Wrap System (found here) – If you need to increase your packaging speed, you may want to consider using a shrink wrap system. These machines are designed to package several hundred to thousand products a day. The TP-48ST is an L-bar sealer, which means it seals all open sides on a centerfold roll of film in a single pass. It also includes an integrated heat tunnel that seals and shrinks the film in a single pass. This model can be used with a standard wall outlet, which means no special power requirements are needed.

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

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These are three solid options that I recommend you consider when packaging CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays or video game cases. The seal is extremely durable, provides tamper proof packaging and is very professional. The results from any of these machines will look just as professional as anything you’ll see in your local retail store.

We have been selling shrink wrap machines and supplies since 1980, so we have a lot of experience behind us to help you find the right machine for the job. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here and shrink wrap supplies here.

How Does a Binding Machine Work?

July 23rd, 2013

Book Binding MachinesHave you ever toyed around with the idea of binding your own book? Have you ever wondered exactly how a book binding machine works? Having used binding machines (found here) for well over a decade, I can safely tell you that anyone can use one. I would like to cover exactly how a binding machine works and what all is involved in the binding process. Read on for more information.

Book binding machines come in all shapes and sizes, but when all is said and done, they all work on a very similar way. The three most commonly used binding formats are comb, wire and coil. Many people also like using VeloBind. Each of these binding formats are designed to hold multiple pieces of paper together using a binding element. The binding element is much like a staple, but one that goes along the entire edge of the paper to create a book.

Most binding machines operate in a matter of just 4 steps.

  • Step 1 – The first thing you’ll want to do is set up your machine. This usually adjusting the side margin control to ensure the holes are punching where they should. I personally like to take a single sheet of paper and punch it to ensure everything is set up and operating correctly. If the holes are off, I make further adjustments.
  • Step 2 – Once the machine is set up, you will begin to punch holes in the paper you wish to bind. The amount of paper a machine can bind can range anywhere from 5 to 40 or more sheets, depending on the machine. Binding your book may require multiple passes of the punch depending on how thick you want your book to be.
  • Step 3 – Once all of the holes are punched, you can begin inserting the binding element into the holes. With comb this involves using a comb opener to open the comb for insertion. With wire you will manually insert the twin loop through the holes. With coil you will spin the spring-like elements through the punched holes.
  • Step 4 – Once the element has been inserted through the hole, you will need to finalize the book. With comb this involves closing the comb. With wire this involves closing the wire. With coil this involves cutting off the excess coil and crimping the ends.

Here is a video of a comb binding machine being used:

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As you can see, the binding process is extremely easy. Most people can bind a ¼” thick book in a matter of a minute or two. Most machines can be used to bind a book anywhere from a few pages up to an inch or so.

Binding machines come in a variety of different configurations depending on the volume you intend to bind on a daily basis. Features that may speed up the process including things like an electric motor (versus manual) for punching the paper.

Here are a few additional features you may want to consider when buying a binding machine:

  • Disengageable Dies – If you have ever used a binding machine, you may have run into the issue of a half-punched hole at the edge of the paper. While this can often be fixed by adjusting the side margin guide, sometimes the size of the paper makes this very difficult. Machines that use disengageable dies (aka selectable punching pins) allow you to choose which holes punch or don’t punch. If you are running into half-punched holes, you can simply disable that die to prevent that from happening.
  • Adjustable Margin Depth – If you are punching books of varying thicknesses, you may want to consider using a machine with an adjustable margin depth. This allows you to select how far into the paper the holes are punched. People binding thicker books often need to punch a little farther into the paper to prevent the pages from accidentally tearing out.
  • Diameter Selector Tool – Matching the binding element with the size of the book you want to bind can be a tricky thing to do. Many binding machines now come with a diameter selector tool that makes it easy to determine the size of the supply you need based on the amount of pages you are binding.

At ABC Office we have decades of experience with binding machines. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any binding related questions. We can help you find the correct supplies for your machine, find the right machine for the job and we can help track down parts.

How Do Induction Cap Sealers Work?

July 22nd, 2013

Induction Cap Sealers / Foil Lid Sealing MachinesWe recently added a couple new induction cap sealers to our site (found here). While I was familiar with what they did, I didn’t really understand how the technology worked. These sealers are the machines that place the protective foil seal to the top of bottles. This includes such products as food, cosmetics and much more. After having thoroughly researched this, I would like to share with you exactly how these machines work.

Induction cap sealers are used with just about every consumable product you use. These sealers produce a tamper proof seal that helps preserve freshness, prevent leaks, provide tamper evidence, helps with pilferage protection and extend shelf life. You may have seen a sign on the top of these seals that says something to the effect, “Do not use if seal is broken”. The technology used to apply these seals is remarkably clever and efficient.

Induction Foil Bottle SealThe seal they apply to the opening of a glass or plastic container is usually made out of a foil barrier, although other materials can be used. The foil consists of a few layers of laminated products and uses a sealing resin or a polymer to produce the seal. This results in a very sturdy and durable seal that won’t break or fall off.

It’s amazing how much these seals are used in products we handle every day. Just this week I changed the oil on my car and the quart bottles each had a foil seal. The yogurt I ate this morning had a foil seal. I even opened up a new bottle of ketchup this week and it too had an induction sealed foil cap.

So how does this technology work? It is remarkably simple and there are no moving parts during any part of the sealing process. The first step involved is to insert a seal into the lid of the product being sealed. This can be manually done or automatic, depending on the packaging system being used. Once the lid is screwed on (manually or automatic), the bottle is run under an induction sealer.

The induction sealer uses electrical current run through induction coils to produce a strong electromagnetic field. This field causes the foil to heat up, which in turn causes the membrane (using sealing resin or polymer) to seal to the top of the bottle. The process is extremely fast, usually only taking a few seconds. Because an electrometric is used, you should only use this type of sealing process with plastic or glass containers. Do not use this with metal containers.

Example of Induction Foil Cap Seal on BottleInduction cap sealers range in size from tabletop units to full blown automatic production-level machines. At ABC Office we offer semi-automated. We currently offer two models, but expect this to increase. Here are the two models currently offered on our site:

  • AF-500W Induction Cap Sealer (found here) – This particular model is designed to be used with containers that have a diameter opening ranging from 15mm up to 120mm. The height of the sealer can be adjusted to accommodate the bottle being sealed. Simply place your bottle on the platform, press the foot pedal and in just a few seconds the process is complete.
  • CS-501 Induction Cap Sealer (found here) – This induction sealer is very similar to the AF-500W, but is more robust. Instead of a 500-watt power supply, this one has an 1100 watt power supply. It also includes the addition of a cap sealer, which will automatically screw on the cap and inductively seal the membrane to the container’s opening.

Our induction bottle cap sealers are designed to seal the foil membrane without any scorching and zero leaks. They can even apply a seal to the lid of small amounts of liquid or powder are on the rim of the bottle. These sealers are tough, designed to be used on a daily basis. They also have a small footprint and don’t require any special training to use.

If you still have questions about induction cap sealers, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out.

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