Using a Bill Counter as a Check Counting Machine

June 14th, 2013

Bill Counters as Check CountersI recently had a customer call up and ask me what we recommended he use for counting checks. He apparently ran a business and was in a situation where he needed to count the total number of checks at the end of the day. He didn’t need anything too robust and was only dealing with a few hundred checks a day. Luckily the solution to his problem was actually pretty simple. I recommended he use a bill counter (found here). Here’s why.

Bill counters are far simpler than the name implies. These devices are designed to quickly count up the total number of bills. They don’t provide a total denominational value, making these perfect for counting non-currency items as well. In fact, we have many customers that use a standard bill counter to count paper, checks, coupons and other paper-based materials. There are a few things to keep in mind, however, before simply going out and buying a machine.

In this customer’s situation, he didn’t need counterfeit detection or any special whistles and bells with a device. He simply needed the total number. This ended up saving him money because I was able to set him up with a basic but high quality system. He ended up going with the ABC1150 bill counter (found here).

So are these machines accurate? You bet. They are 100 percent accurate and most have safeguards in place in case multiple pieces are pulled through or if a jam occurs. I have personally tested many of our bill counters by running the same stack through multiple times. I have never had a bill counter register a different amount during a repeated counting. These are accurate and you won’t have a problem with a misread.

There are a few things you need to keep your eye open for when dealing with bill counters counting non-money items. The first thing you need to be aware of is that these bill counters have a maximum and minimum bill size. Be sure your check, paper or whatever items you are counting fall within those minimum and maximum dimensions. In the case of the ABC1150, it can handle bills as small as 2″ x 4″ or as large as 4″ x 7 1/3″.

Also be aware that our bill counters use friction to pull the paper in and count it. That means if the paper you need to count is glossy or slick, there may be a problem. This is because the friction rollers may slip on the glossy surface, resulting in a jam. This is the case with most office machinery that uses friction-based rubber rollers.

So is there a particular brand you should stick with if you are counting checks? I have always had excellent luck with Semacon, Cassida, Carnation and the ABC line of bill counters.

We have a lot of these bill counters out on our showroom floor. If you’re not sure if a bill counter will work for your check, paper, coupon or other counting project, feel free to send in some samples and we can have them tested to ensure proper operation prior to a purchase. We also have an experienced team that is very knowledgeable with our bill counters. Feel free to call and talk with them by calling 1-800-658-8788.

Continuous Band Sealers – Everything You Need to Know

June 14th, 2013

Continuous Band SealersIf you are sealing bags on a daily basis and your volume is going up into the hundreds or even thousands per day, you may want to upgrade from your hand sealer and consider using a continuous band sealer (found here). These machines are designed to quickly seal a variety of thermoplastic bags shut at a high rate of speed. Many can seal anywhere from 20-30 bags per minute. These machines are used for packaging such products as liquids, powders, food, medical devices, parts and much more. This article will cover the different types of continuous band sealers available.

Continuous band sealers could almost be called automated bag sealers, because that is what they do. They take a bag and seal it with very little manual involvement. The operator of the machine takes the bag and inserts it into the machine where it then takes it and seals the bag shut. The bag is carried along a rubber conveyor until the process is done. Many of these sealers will seal up to 40 feet of bag per minute, which is extremely fast.

So what do these machines do? They seal the top of an open plastic bag shut for storage, packaging and retail purposes. This is done by using direct heat to melt the bag shut in a straight linear pattern. The width of the seal varies, depending on the machine. Most of the band sealers we offer produce an 8mm thick seal, however, some go as high as 15mm thick. The thicker the seal, the stronger the hold. You have probably seen examples of packaging sealed with a band sealer in the grocery store. Pretty much any bagged product you use has been sealed this way.

Most of the bags used with these machines are made using thermoplastic material that reacts with heat. This includes PP, PE, Laminates, stand up pouches, gusseted bags, moisture barrier bags and more. Continuous band sealers are available in several configurations, depending on the size of the bag you need to seal, the weight of the material being packaged, what you are packaging and much more. Here are a few things you may want to know when shopping around for a machine:

Horizontal or Vertical – Band sealers typically come in a horizontal or vertical configuration. This means they can seal a bag laying down or standing up. The design you get depends a lot on what you are sealing. Most people go with a horizontal design unless they are packaging something that could spill. If the bag contains powders, liquids, small pieces and other spillable items, you will want a vertical sealer.

Here is an example of a horizontal band sealer in action:

Here is an example of a vertical band sealer in action:

Tilting Head – Some of the vertical band sealers we offer have a tilting head to help assist with packaging liquids. Some of these sealers have a head that will tilt up to 30 degrees to assist with the sealing process.

Conveyor – Many band sealers offer the option of adjusting the height and depth of the conveyor. This is designed to accommodate the bag size. If the adjustments aren’t correct, it can make bag sealing more complicated.

Printing – Several band sealers offer the option of printing text and numbers along the seal. This may include the date, serial numbers and much more. There are several different methods of printing, depending on the machine. Here are the four most common:

  • Dry Ink Coding: This method prints black text or numbers along the band.
  • Color Ribbon Printing: Color ribbon printing provides a stronger adhesion print than dry ink coding and works best for humid environments.
  • Embossing Attachment: This method allows text to be embossed with heat along the band. This method does not use any ink.
  • Hot Ink Coding: Uses a hot ink method to print text and numbers along the sealing band.

This is a video of dry ink coding in action:

 

Most of the continuous band sealers we offer are made using stainless steel for food packaging purposes. Designs range from tabletop to floor models that include a stand and casters. Typically the larger the machine, the more throughput it allows.

Most of these sealers allow the operator to adjust the temperature, speed, fan control and much more. The control panels on these machines keep the settings all in a single location and the bulk majority of them are incredibly easy to set up and don’t require any special training to use.

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

Solingen Steel vs. High Speed Steel Cutting Blades

June 13th, 2013

Triumph Stack Paper CutterWe recently had a customer ask us a very good question about some of the cutting blades available for our Triumph stack paper cutters (found here). Many of our Triumph stack cutters are available with either a standard replacement blade or a premium replacement blade. The customer wanted to know the difference. It ends up the standard blade is made from Solingen steel and the premium blade is made from high-speed steel. So what is the difference between these two types of steel and why would you want one over another?

  • Solingen Steel – Solingen steel is a term attributed to steel made in Solingen Germany. It is generally considered to be high quality steel and has an excellent reputation behind it. The blend used to make this steel can vary. There isn’t any specific set of specifications that define a certain type of steel as Solingen. Again, it simply means it is from Solingen Germany. That said, Solingen steel is considered to be some of the best in the world. In the case of Triumph paper cutters, it is a hardened steel that does a very  good job of cutting paper.
  • High-Speed Steel – This is considered to be some of the highest quality steel out there and is sometimes simply referred to as HSS or HS steel. This is the kind of steel you find in tool components such as drill bits and saw blades. It is superior to high-carbon steel. It is capable of withstanding high temperatures that cause other types of steel to lose its temper (aka hardness). HSS typically has a hardness rated above HRC60. Tungsten and vanadium are alloys often used in the production of high-speed steel.

So in a situation where you have the option between a standard blade (Solingen), or a premium blade (HSS), there are a few factors to consider. First off, the premium blades are about 30-40% more money. That said, the premium blades will last longer and hold their edges longer than the standard blades. It seems pretty straight forward, but we wanted a little more information, so we ended up contacting MBM to see what they had to say about the matter. This is what they said:

“A high speed blade has an inlay that makes the blade stiffer than the Solingen steel blade. It is mostly used on hydraulic cutters due to the pressure from the hydraulics.”

Most of our customers, when it comes to standard manual and electric cutters, opt for the standard Solingen steel blade. These blades are steel extremely tough, last a long time and can be re-sharpened 2-3 times. The cutters ship with the standard blade by default. My recommendation would be to use the standard blade unless you are cutting paper on a commercial level or you notice your standard blades wearing out faster than you would like.

If you still have questions about the standard Solingen blades or the HSS premium blades, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help. Also keep in mind that we are able to provide replacement blades, cutting sticks and other parts for all Triumph, Dahle, Tamerica, Standard, Intelli-Cut and Duplo stack cutters. You can find our entire selection of stack paper cutters here. Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Do Biometric Time Clocks Really Work?

June 11th, 2013

Biometric Time ClocksWhen it comes to time clocks, the industry has really moved over the last decade from a traditional punch card to a variety of digital options. Some of the most popular digital time clocks include those with biometric finger scanners, proximity card readers and PIN keypads. The technology you use really depends on the business and preferences. The fastest growing segment is definitely biometrics (found here). One question I get a lot from customers is, “Do biometric time clocks really work?” I would like to answer this question.

Biometric time clocks come in a variety of designs. Initially Acroprint came out with some models that used your hand to log in and out of work. It used the size of your hand, not necessarily the print, to log you in and out of work. An example of this is the Acroprint Handpunch 1000 (found here). I’ve never really heard any complaints about that time clock, but the technology has moved towards more simplicity.

I would say about 90% of the biometric time clocks out there are finger readers, much like those produced by David-Link (found here), who is currently our most popular biometric time clock manufacturer. These time clocks use just one finger to log an employee in and out of work. Because our fingerprint is completely unique to an individual, this method is extremely popular. You can’t buddy punch (punch in on behalf of another person) with a biometric finger reader and fraud is dramatically cut down.

uAttend MN2000 Facial Recognition Time ClockThe latest development in biometric time clocks is facial recognition technology. As of this article we currently only offer one model with facial recognition technology. This is the uAttend MN2000 (found here). All you have to do with this clock is hold your face in front of the MN2000’s cameras and it will punch you in and out. I see this technology growing a lot over the next few years and it will probably overcome even fingerprint reader timeclocks. It is pretty impressive and the technology will only get better over the coming years.

At ABC Office we use a fingerprint reader, specifically the now discontinued PTI Time Trax Bio. This time clock has actually worked really well for us over the years. The downside is that it uses a swipe technology that requires you to slide your finger over a reader. While this usually works, it does sometimes require you to slide your finger a couple of times before it finally reads the finger. This is one of the biggest annoyances of fingerprint readers and biometric time clock readers in general.

Since the first “swipe” technology biometric readers came out, the technology has really grown and matured. Modern fingerprint readers now require that you simply touch the reader rather than swipe your finger. This has significantly improved the accuracy and misreads are now extremely uncommon. The older swipe style biometric readers were also affected by humidity and other environmental factors. These issues are also now fixed with the touch technology.

David-Link W-988PB Biometric Time ClockAs mentioned earlier, our David-Link models (found here) are our most popular biometric time clocks. These time clocks are just as affordable as our punch, proximity and PIN style time clocks. The David-Link time clocks include software that can be installed on a Windows OS computer where reports and data can be viewed. They also include a USB drive that can be used to take data off of the time clock where it can then be transferred to a computer. They also include the ability to be plugged into a computer network via an Ethernet cable directly to a computer via a USB cable. Data gathered from these time clocks can be exported into an Excel spreadsheet format that can then be imported into payroll software programs such as Quickbooks.

In conclusion, I would have to say that biometric time clocks in fact do work, and work quite well. If you don’t mind dealing with technology, I would recommend you consider using a biometric time clock hands down over anything else out there.

We have years of experience with time clocks, so please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. We would love to help you out.

Formax FD 8500CC Office Paper Shredder Review

June 6th, 2013

Formax FD 8500CC Cross Cut Paper ShredderPaper is abundant in the office. Regardless of the size of the office, all dispose of various documents on a daily basis. One of the best ways to destroy a document is by shredding it with something like the Formax FD 8500CC cross cut paper shredder (found here). This shredder is a workhorse and is designed for use in the office by multiple people throughout the day. So is this the shredder for your office? Read on and find out more.

Formax currently makes about 18 different models of shredders, which many of those featuring a strip and cross cut variation. These shredders range in size and capability depending on how many people need to use it per day, the security level desired and the material being shredded. As far as quality goes, Formax shredders are right up there with the German brands such as Destroyit, HSM and Intimus.

The Formax FD 8500 is a mid-level shredder. That means it is ideal for use in a small or medium size business. It can even be used in a larger business on a departmental level. This isn’t some deskside paper shredder. It is large and it means business, keeping up with most shredding needs. Here are just a few reasons why you may want to consider using it in your office:

  • Security Level – The FD 8500CC has a Level 3 cross cut pattern. This is considered to be the most ideal pattern for standard use in an office. The particle size measures in at 5/32” x 1-1/5”. This ends up being over 600 particles of paper per single 8 ½” x 11″ sheet of paper. This pretty much renders material unreadable.
  • Sheet Capacity – This shredder can handle about 16-18 sheets of paper at a time, which is an excellent amount for standard office use. A load indicator on the control panel will let you know if the motor is being over exerted, which means you don’t have to count out sheets prior to shredding the paper. If for any reason too much paper is fed in, the shredder will stop and reverse the stack back out.
  • Throat Size – The throat size is the maximum width of paper the shredder can handle. This can also be one of the most annoying bottlenecks on a shredder. In the case of the FD 8500CC, it has a 16″ wide opening. Luckily this is more than enough room to handle most shredder jobs. With a 16″ throat, this shredder can handle even large sheets of paper without a problem.
  • Motor Capabilities – Have you ever used a shredder that required to you wait for it to cool down after 20 or 30 minutes of use? This is not a problem you’ll have to deal with. The FD 8500CC has an AC geared thermally protected motor designed for continuous use and operation. This shredder is not a toy; it means business.
  • Control Panel – The control panel on this shredder is very informative, yet takes up little space. It has indicator lights that let you know when the shredder is in auto or manual mode, running in reverse, stopped, full or if the bin door is open. Below the lights is a start, stop and reverse button. To the right is a load indicator that lets you know how much stress the motor is under.
  • Bin Size – The bin size is another weak point on a lot of shredders. Many shredders have excellent features, but a bin so small that it has to be emptied every hour. The FD 8500CC has been built with a 26-gallon bin, which holds a lot of cross cut particles of paper. This means fewer bag changes on your part. This shredder will let you know when the bin needs to be changed.
  • Build – This shredder is built using an all-metal cabinet that is set on casters for mobility. It is build using high-end electronics and the motor is mated with heavy-duty steel gears. This has al been put together in a way that the shredder produces minimal noise, again making it an excellent choice for the office.

Do you still have questions about this shredder? Feel free to speak with one of our Paper Shredder Experts by calling 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out. We also have a full-time Service Department that can help repair, service or provide parts for your shredder.

You can find our entire selection of Formax paper shredders here and all of our paper shredders here.

Can Any Laminator Be Used with Photos?

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.

Soft Air “Pillow Pack” Option for Minipack Chamber Vacuum Sealers

June 4th, 2013

Minipack MVS 45X Chamber Vacuum SealerWe recently had a customer approach us who was interested in packaging his own pizzas for long term storage using a vacuum sealer. He appreciated the preservation nature of vacuum sealing, but didn’t want his pizzas to be totally crushed by having 99.9% of the air removed. He was in need of a solution to this problem. Luckily Minipack has had these types of inquiries before. They are able to equip their chamber vacuum sealers (found here) with a soft air option via an inert gas kit. Let me explain.

One of the reasons vacuum sealers are able to increase the lifespan of food is because the life giving oxygen air that feeds bacteria is removed. Oxygen makes up about 20% of the air that we breath. Minipack chamber sealers are capable of removing 99.9% of all air in the packaging. This also protects against freezer burn and other elements.

The inert gas kit allows for soft air packaging. Soft air packaging basically involves injecting nitrogen into the package after the oxygen has been removed. This method prevents the vacuum packaging from being drawn down tight around the product. This packaging method is commonly used for packaging potato chips and other delicate food products that would otherwise be destroyed. One reason this is referred to as a pillow pack is because of the pillow-like nature of these bags (such as potato chips).

Minipack chamber sealers can be outfitted with an inert gas flush kit. This is done in the factory, so be sure you order this feature up front when buying a machine for pillow pack purposes. The kit essentially consists of a gas flush nozzle that is set near where the sealing bar is located. This nozzle is inserted in the open end of the pouch where oxygen is removed and nitrogen is inserted.

Minipack chamber vacuum sealers can be built with a manual soft air option along with the gas flush kit. The soft air option helps prevent sharp objects from puncturing the pouch. It is adjustable to accommodate a variety of products and allows for softer bag placement around the product. As mentioned earlier in the article, this is especially nice for a “special look” for retail sales or for delicate product packaging.

There are a few things you will need for the inert gas kit that will not come with the Minipack vacuum sealer. This includes:

  • The Nitrogen Tank
  • The Regulator
  • Necessary Hosing
  • Proper Connections & Fittings

In order to get the nitrogen tank fitted to your vacuum sealer, you will probably want to contact a gas tank company or welding company in your local area. They should be able to help get your vacuum sealer properly set up. If you are unable to locate someone in your local area, we are certainly more than happy to help. Contact us at 1-800-658-8788 for help finding a company that can outfit you with a nitrogen tank and necessary fittings.

We recently helped a customer with their purchase of an MVS 45X (found here) that was outfitted with an inert gas kit and manual soft air option. The nitrogen tank, regulator, hosing and fittings ended up costing less than $300 with labor (including a 5 foot tank), so it really isn’t too bad for commercial packaging purposes. This was through a company called National Welders out of South Carolina.

We have a lot of experience with chamber sealers, including those made by Minipack, so please feel free to contact us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. We have experts here who can help and also have a full-time Service Department that can provide you with parts, setup, training and additional help.

You can find our entire selection of Minipack chamber vacuum sealers here. If you already own a similar setup, please feel free to post your experience and advice here as a comment. Thanks for reading!

What Makes the Triumph 4305 Paper Cutter so Good?

June 3rd, 2013

Triumph 4305 Stack CutterWhen it comes to manual stack paper cutters, very few even come close to holding a candle next to the MBM Triumph 4305 stack cutter (found here). This cutter is a third generation manual stack cutter, with its roots coming from the Triumph 3905 and Triumph 4205. There are many reasons why this cutter is considered to be one of the best and I would like to cover those features in this article.

First off, I would like to go on record saying that I have personally used this cutter. I have used it to cut stacks of standard 20# copy paper (hundreds at a time) to create notepads and business cards here in the office. While this is a manual paper cutter, I would argue that you can cut paper just as fast using this machine than an electric powered machine.

When you remove the top cover to this cutter, and compare the internal workings to other knockoffs, you really see the quality difference. There is a refinement, quality and build in this German paper cutter that you simply don’t find in other cutters. Other cutters appear to have been slapped together and grease slopped in during assembly. I have even seen circlips missing on knockoff cutters. The Triumph cutters are well put together and clearly high-end quality control measures are in place. For whatever reason, German paper cutters are the best…bar none.

What I find most remarkable about the Triumph 4305 is just how easy and how little manual effort you have to put into using this cutter. I have used other cutters where you almost had to hang on the handle and use all of your weight to cut through a stack. The triumph 4305 can cut through 1 ½” of paper in a single pass. This cutter is so beautifully geared that I can cut a stack of paper using a single finger, literally. Trust me, I’ve tried it. Don’t feel intimidated by this cutter.

The manual clamp on this cutter holds paper in place nicely. If you are cutting slick, glossy or coated paper, you may need to go with the Triumph 4705 (found here) as the slick paper may shift a little if the clamp isn’t securely in place. The spinning “hatch” style clamp on the 4705 is pretty much fool proof. That said, I think the Triumph 4305’s clamp is more than adequate for most jobs.

The backstop is very fine, although it is analog. The front hand crank is turned clockwise to bring the backstop forward and counterclockwise (anticlockwise) to take it back. A ruler on the side with an arrow lets you know exactly where the backstop is located. If this isn’t enough refinement for you, it also includes an optical cutting line (laser tool) that shines across the paper to let you know exactly where the blade will come down. Unless you need micrometer level measurements, I really thing this cutter is more than adequate for measuring in a cut. The backstop handcrank can be pulled forward and be disabled to prevent accidental backstop adjustments.

The cutting blade on this cutter is made from heavy duty forged Solingen steel. You can read more about Solingen steel by going here. The blade holds its edge like a razor and can be re-sharpened anywhere from 2-3 times (depending on wear and tear). The blade rests into a cutting stick. With the older models, such as the 3905, you had to fish the cutting stick out. With the new design, the cutting stick conveniently pulls out of the side.

As of this article, the MBM Triumph 4305 (by Ideal) includes the cutting stand. This option comes and goes, but is certainly something to keep your eye open for. In conclusion, I have to say that this is a great cutter. Does it cost more than many other cutters? Yes, but it will outlast those other cutters by years (literally).

Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 with any stack cutter questions. You can find the Triumph 4305 here  and our entire selection of stack cutters here.

Formax FD 8400 Office Paper Shredder Review

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

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.

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