Archive for July, 2010

Formax FD 450 Automatic Electric Letter Opener Review

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Formax FD 450 Automatic Electric Letter / Envelope OpenerOpening letters and envelopes can be messy and a hassle. One machine that can really speed things up is an automatic letter opener. If you are in the process of looking for one, a model you should seriously consider is the Formax FD 450 automatic electric envelope opener (found here). This is my review.

To begin with, Formax has been making high-end office equipment for years. They are best known for their paper folder inserters, but they also make a wide range of joggers, bursters, paper shredders and letter openers. The build quality with Formax is excellent. Most Formax products are made in the U.S.A. and the FD 450 is one of them.

The Formax FD 450 is designed for high speed and high volume letter opening. This is all done automatically. You place the letters in the hopper on one end, the FD 450 opens them and they come out the other end opened up. The concept is simple, but there are subtle differences between letter opening machines that you will want to be aware of.

To begin with, the Formax FD 450 uses a slitter to open up mail. This means there are no letter ends cut off or waste paper strips lying around. The FD 450 cuts the mail open, without damaging the contents. The process is quick and best of all it’s very clean. Many other competitors cut off the top of the envelope, leaving waste paper strips behind, which is messy and can potentially damage contents.

The FD 450 is also pretty fast. It operates at a speed of up to 300 envelopes per minute. This is blazing fast. Not only is it fast at opening envelopes, it can open various mixed sizes of envelopes without jamming or causing issues. Envelope sizes can range from 3.5 x 11-inches up to 5.5 x 15.6-inches. This is a nice range and should cover most envelopes sizes used today.

The machine itself only weighs 20 pounds, so it can be used on pretty much any table, workbench or desk. Moving the letter opener should also be fairly easy to do. Overall setup and use is extremely easy and does not require any special training.

You can get the Formax FD 450 with the optional 402 series paper jogger. This will jog envelopes as they leave the machine and keep everything neat and organized.

I consider the Formax FD 450 to be once of the highest quality automatic letter openers available on the market. You will find the FD 450 in mailrooms, schools, churches and businesses. The “American-Made” quality is some of the best I have seen.

You can find the Formax FD 450 automatic letter opener here. You can find our entire selection of automatic letter openers here.

GBC HeatSeal Ultima 35 EZLoad 12-Inch Roll Laminator Review

Friday, July 30th, 2010

GBC HeatSeal Ultima 35 EZLoad Roll LaminatorAre you looking for a laminator that is hassle free and affordable? One model you may want to consider using is the GBC HeatSeal Ultima 35 EZLoad roll laminator (found here). We have one of these laminators in our showroom and I have had a chance to use it. This is my review.

To begin with, GBC (General Binding Company) has been making laminators for years. One of their most popular lines is the HeatSeal series. This consists of both pouch and roll laminators. One of their newest, and most popular lines, is the EZLoad line of roll laminators.

The biggest selling point for the GBC HeatSeal Ultima 35 EZLoad (try saying that three times fast) is the lamination film. It uses 1.7 to 10 mil Nap-Lam® II roll film that comes in a cartridge.

Unlike other laminators, where you have to load the film onto a mandrel and fish it through the machine, the EZLoad system is as easy as changing out a cartridge on a printer. Simply pop out the old roll of film and put another one in. This also helps cut down on burns. If you’ve used a traditional roll laminator, you know what I mean.

The HeatSeal Ultima 35 EZLoad is designed to laminate documents up to12-inches wide. It runs at a speed of 36-inches a minute. That’s not blazing fast, but it isn’t bad compared to other roll laminators in its class. The Ultima 35 EZLoad is designed for daily use in schools, churches and businesses.

The main focus of this laminator is ease-of use, and easy it is. After about one minute your up and running, which is pretty fast. It even includes a built in trimmer that can be used to cut off material as it exits the laminator.

If the laminator isn’t being used, it will automatically shut off. Not only is this a nice safety feature, but it saves energy as well.

The control interface on the HeatSeal Ultima 35 EZLoad is very simple and easy to use. There is a button to turn the laminator on, another with forward / reverse functions and a dial for temperature control.

The only downside I can think of is that the film is proprietary. You can’t order normal rolls of laminating film. You have to use the GBC EZLoad film cartridges, which cost more than normal one-inch core film. This is a sacrifice many people are willing to make fore easy operation.

The HeatSeal Ultima 35 EZLoad is available in a larger model called the GBC Pinnacle 27 EZLoad found here.

Overall I am impressed with this compact roll laminator. The build quality is great and it should easily last several years.

You can find our GBC HeatSeal Ultima 35 EZLoad roll laminator here. You can find our entire selection of thermal roll laminators here.

Martin Yale 930A Continuous Form Check Signer Review

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Martin Yale 930A Continuous Form Check SignerDoes your business or organization need an effective solution for document and check signing operations? If so, one model you may want to consider using is the Martin Yale 930A continuous form check signer (found here). I have used this check signer and this is my review.

Check and document signers make life much easier, especially when it comes to signing thousands of documents, checks and other material. Check signers are easy to set up and can be run throughout the day without any issues.

The Martin Yale 930A continuous form check signer can be used to sign a variety of material, as long as it falls within a 5 ½-inches to 16 ½-inches wide or 3 ½-inches or 7-inches long range. The motor runs at a speed of 240 documents per hour. This means the Martin Yale 930A is both fast and versatile.

As previously mentioned, the 930A is a continuous form document signer. This means it can only be used with continuous form paper. Continuous form paper has perforated side margins with tiny 1/8-inch (approx) holes. These side holes help printers feed the paper and also help this check signer feed paper. This type of paper is still widely used by many businesses and government agencies.

The 930A check signer uses signature plates to sign the documents. These signature plates are rounded, allowing them to be mounted to a motor-powered cylinder. This cylinder spins, allowing the plates to be inked and sign the document. The entire process is an engineering feet and works very well.

The signature plates are very easy to remove and change out. Don’t worry about unauthorized access. The signature plates are inaccessible and can only be retrieved by opening the cover with a key. You can use single and double signature plates with the 930A.

The 930A includes a black ink roller and can be used with an optional tri-ink roller. These ink rollers are very easy to access and change. These signature plates can sign paper anywhere from 14# to 125# thick.

The Martin Yale 930A has been around for over a decade and is a time tested machine. It is considered by many to be one of the best continuous form check signers available today. I have used this check signer and can vouch for the build quality and the ease-of-use.

If you need a document signer, but don’t need a continuous form check signer, we also carry a wide selection of cut sheet check signers. Cut sheet paper is “free” paper like you use in a copy machine or printer.

Do you still have questions about check and document signing? Feel free to call one of our specialists at 1-800-658-8788. They love to answer questions and will not pressure you to buy anything. You can also post questions here in a comment.

You can find the Martin Yale 930A continuous form check signer here. You can find our entire selection of continuous form and cut sheet check and document signers here.

Top 5 Best Pamphlet Display Racks and Holders

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Pamphlet Display Racks and HoldersSo you have a pamphlet and need a good way to display it? You may be asking yourself what kind of display rack or holder should you use. There are several options out there. You will first need to ask yourself a few questions.

How many types and how much material will you be displaying? It is typically a good idea to use a separate display pocket or holder for each type of pamphlet you are displaying. If you have 12 different pamphlets covering different topics, you will probably want a rack with 12 pockets. You also want to make sure you have ample room for now and the future. Don’t limit yourself.

Where will you be displaying your material? The type of pamphlet rack you get will depend on where you will be displaying the material. Pamphlet holders are available in plastic, wood and wire formats. You will want to make sure you get a rack that fits in with the environment.

Here’s a list of the top 5 best pamphlet racks and holders we offer (according to our customers):

  1. Wall Mounted Plastic Pamphlet Racks and Holders (found here) – Plastic wall mounted plastic racks hold up well and can be easily cleaned. These are ideal for use in high traffic and high impact environments. This may be a hallway or a lobby. These types of pamphlet holders also make material easy to view.
  2. Wall Mounted Wooden Pamphlet Racks and Holders (found here) – Wooden wall mounted pamphlet racks look nice and are classy. They fit in well with existing wood furniture. You will find these racks in libraries and waiting rooms. These are often available with a variety of wood and trim options.
  3. Table and Desk Pamphlet Racks and Holders (found here) – Table and desktop pamphlet racks and holders are very easy to use and can be used pretty much anywhere.
  4. Revolving Pamphlet Racks and Holders – These types of pamphlet racks usually sit on a desk and spin around. Sometimes called rotating pamphlet racks, these handy displays look great and are easy to use.
  5. Freestanding Pamphlet Holders / Displays (found here) – These types of pamphlet racks are free standing and are set up on the floor. They can be used next to a desk or in a lobby. These racks are very portable and are easy to set up.

Good luck displaying those pamphlets! Still undecided? Call us at 1-800-658-8788 and speak with one of our specialists. You can also post your question in a comment.

You can find our entire selection of display racks and holders here.

Minipack Mailbag Digit Magazine, Catalog and Mail Bagging System Review

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Minipack Mailbag Digit Magazine, Catalog and Mail Bagging SystemHave you ever received a magazine or a catalog that was wrapped in plastic in your mailbox? This type of packaging is called mail bagging. If you’re in the marketing for a mail bagger, one model you may want to consider is the Minipack Mailbag Digit mail bagging system (found here). This is my review.

Mail bagging is done to provide protection to magazines, newsletters, publications, catalogs and mail. It can also be used to bundle multiple magazines, fliers and other material.

Minipack is known for making high quality machines. Their line of mail bagging systems is designed and manufactured in Italy. Minipack makes a wide variety of shrink wrap machines, mail bagging systems and vacuum sealers.

The Minipack Mailbag Digit is not only designed to protect and bundle material, but also saves money by packaging material in plastic film (polyethylene) instead of paper envelopes. One nice thing about packaging mail in plastic is that contained products are visible to the recipient. The entire mail bagging process is very simple and very efficient.

This is how the Mailbag Digit works:

  1. Make sure the Mailbag Digit is loaded with film. The Mailbag digit uses a roll of film that is mounted roller inside the machine. The gauge and width of the film will depend on what you are bagging.
  2. Place your magazine, newsletter or catalog into the open slot on the front of the machine.
  3. The machine then places the material in a polyethylene bag and seals it shut.
  4. The material comes out the other end of the machine completely packaged and sealed.
  5. A conveyor system keeps bagged material organized and in order.

The Mailbag Digit operates at a speed of about 20 wraps per minute.  For higher-volume jobs, you may want to consider using the Minipack Continua (found here). The Continua is completely automated and runs at a speed of about 50 pieces per minute.

Overall I consider the Mailbag Digit to be a very solid machine. The build quality is excellent and is should be able to provide years of hassle-free service. The Mailbag Digit sits on casters, making it portable.

You can find the Minipack Mailbag Digit mail bagging system here.

Multi-Sheet Paper Folding Machine Q&A

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Multi-Sheet Paper Folding MachineI have a few customers a day ask me if there are any paper folding machines that are able to fold multiple sheets of paper at a time. The answer is kind of a mixed bag. There are solutions to multi-sheet paper folding. Here are a few options you may want to consider.

First of all, a standard paper folding machine cannot automatically fold multiple sheets of paper at a time. They are all designed to pull one sheet off the stack and fold it. In order for a paper folding machine to fold multiple sheets, it would need to have multiple feed trays. There are machines that can do this, which I will discuss a few paragraphs down.

Many standard paper folding machines have a bypass opening, which looks like a slot, located on the top of the machine (kind of like a paper shredder). Folding machine equipped with a bypass slot can often fold up to three sheets of paper at a time, but require the paper to be manually fed. An example of this type of folding machine is the MBM 87M folding machine found here.

Paper Folder Inserters / Inserting MachinesManually feeding three sheets of paper through the bypass slot is still much faster than folding paper by hand, but it is still not automated. For automated multi-sheet folding, you will need to use a paper folder inserter.

Paper folder inserters, designed to fold multiple sheets and insert them into an envelope, can be used for multi sheet folding. Simply turn off the inserting portion of the operation so it only folds paper.

At this time there aren’t any other options. You must use the bypass slot (if so equipment) on a standard folding machine or use a paper folder inserter equipped with multiple feed trays.

You can find our entire selection of paper folding machines here. You can find our entire selection of paper folder inserters here.

SircleBind CW-4500 Electric Comb and Wire Binding Machine Review

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

SircleBind CW-4500 Electric Comb and Wire Binding MachineAre you looking for a combination comb and wire binding machine, but aren’t sure which model to go with? One model you may want to consider is the SircleBind CW-4500 electric comb and wire binding machine (found here). This is my review.

The SircleBind line of binding machines, made by Sircle, has only been around for a few years, but they have sent ripples through the binding industry. This is because Sircle binding machines are some of the most affordable today. Not only that, they aren’t half bad looking machines either.

The SircleBind CW-4500 features an electric punch and a manual comb opener and wire closer. The fact that the CW-4500 can bind both comb and wire is pretty cool. I love both formats. This way you don’t have to buy two separate machines.

The machine itself weighs in at 45 pounds, which is pretty hefty. It is, however, still light enough to be used on most desks, work benches and counters. Overall the build quality seems to be pretty nice. It does have a plastic case, but the internal components are metal.

The electric punch on the CW-4500 can punch up to 25 sheets of paper using a 19-ring comb punch and up to 20 sheets of wire in a 3:1 pitch (three holes per inch). Because the CW-4500 has a wire closer and a comb punch, it can also be used to bind books using 19-ring wire, sometimes called wire comb or Spiral-O. The electric punch is very useful and really speeds up the punching process.

Paper punching on the CW-4500 is done vertically, where most binding machines punch paper horizontally. I really like the vertical style punch. This means the edges are almost always squared up and properly aligned, thanks to gravity.

The SircleBind CW-4500 is primarily designed to punch and bind books that are letter size. The CW-4500 includes an adjustable margin depth, which is ideal for binding books of varying thicknesses.

While the CW-4500 isn’t designed for high-volume use, it can be used for low to medium-volume use without any issues. It is great for use in an office or copy shop and the design is easy on the eyes.

I highly recommend the SircleBind CW-4500. The price is right and it is a well-rounded machine.

You can find the SircleBInd CW-4500 electric comb and wire binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of comb, wire and combination binding machines here.

SircleBind WR-200 Wire Binding Machine Review

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

SircleBind WR-200 Wire Binding MachineWire binding looks great. It’s easy to do, can be used to bind a variety of documents and can be done by just about anyone. So what machine should you use? You may want to consider the SircleBind WR-200 wire binding machine (found here). Here are a few reasons why.

To begin with, Sircle’s line of SircleBind binding machines are some of the most affordable available online. They are packed with rich features typically found in more expensive machines. The SircleBind WR-200 is no exception.

The SircleBind WR-200 is a multi-pitch wire binding machine. This means it can punch paper with a 2:1 pitch (two holes per inch) or a 3:1 pitch (three holes per inch) hole pattern. This is because it has two separate punching dies. This is especially nice for those of you who have a tough time settling on one “look.”

Not only does the SircleBind WR-200 punch paper with two separate dies, but it also includes a wire closer. This means you can use the WR-200 from start to finish to complete the wire binding process.

The WR-200 features a sleek design. It looks really nice. The handle can fold down, making it a fairly compact machine. It is heavy enough to be rugged, but light enough that you can use it on pretty much any desk or table. It weighs in at 38 pounds. That’s about as much as a bag of water softener salt pellets (just loaded some up in my car during lunch today).

Two of my favorite features are the handle and the vertical load paper punch. I really like the handle because it can be accessed from the left or right side of the machine thanks to the “U” design. It is really easy to use and doesn’t discriminate against the lefties.

The WR-200 is able to punch up to 20 sheets of standard 20# paper. It can also be used to punch card stock, clear covers and more. These is a pretty good amount of paper for a manually operated wire binder.

The vertical load punch is nice because gravity keeps the paper aligned during the punching process. This means that the edge of the paper and the holes should all be squared up. This makes bound books like nicer and more professional.

Overall I am impressed with this little machine. It certainly isn’t designed for high-volume use, but it will be fine for light to medium-volume use.

You can find the SircleBind WR-200 wire binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of wire binding machines here.

Which Is Best? 5:1 or 4:1 Pitch Spiral Coils

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Intelli-Bind IC310 Spiral / Coil Binding MachineI spoke to a customer today who wanted to buy a spiral binding machine, but had no idea which hole pattern to go with. He asked me, “Should I go with 5:1 or 4:1 spirals?” I went over a few of the pros and cons with him. Here is a summary of my response.

First of all, once you choose a hole pattern, you have to stick with it. A 4:1 pitch machine cannot use 5:1 pitch coils and vice versa. There are machines out there that can punch both types of holes, made by Akiles, but this is the exception, not the norm.

I personally think both types of spiral binding look great, but here is what you will want to consider prior to making a purchase:

4:1 Pitch Spiral Coil Hole Pattern4:1 Spirals / Coils – The 4:1 pitch hole pattern is currently the most common and popular hole pattern used today. This equals four holes punched per inch of paper.  A 4:1 pitch spiral binding machine can typically bind up to 1 ¼-inches of paper, which is pretty significant. These types of spirals are available in a wide variety of colors and are used to bind reports, booklets, presentations and more.

5:1 Pitch Spiral Coil Hole Pattern5:1 Spirals / Coils – The 5:1 pitch hole pattern is less common. Some people like this. I have had many customers tell me that they prefer the “tighter” look of a 5:1 pitch. This hole pattern equals five holes per inch of paper. A 5:1 pitch spiral pattern can bind up to 13/16-inch of paper. Because the holes are closer together, the 5:1 cannot bind as many sheets as the 4:1 pitch hole pattern.

While more machines are made in a 4:1 pitch hole pattern, you can still easily find 5:1 pitch machines. You can find our entire selection of spiral / coil binding machines here. You can find our entire selection of spiral coil supplies here.

Top 6 Best Types Of Counterfeit Money Detection

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Ultraviolet (UV) Counterfeit DetectorCounterfeit bill and money detectors use a variety of different methods and technologies to determine the validity of a bill. Some counterfeit detectors will use one single type of detection, where others incorporate several technologies. So which type of counterfeit detection is best to use?

It’s tough to say which type of counterfeit detection is best, because different technologies have their strengths and weaknesses. A lot of it depends on the type of bill being counterfeited and the counterfeiting method used. Region can even play a roll.

Here are the best types of counterfeit detection according to our customers.

Top 6 Best Types Of Counterfeit Money Detection

  1. Ink Verification – This type of detection is typically done using a pen. The pen includes an iodine-based ink that reacts to the starches found in wood. Since legitimate U.S. currency uses cotton-based fiber, there is no reaction. If there is a reaction (dark mark), the currency may be fake. The problem with this is many people now bleach bills of a lower value and re-print them with a higher amount. Pens will not catch this.
  2. Security Threads Found In U.S. CurrencyUV Detection – Legitimate bills have features in them that react to UV light. This is usually manifested by a brightly lit line in the bill. You can see where these lines are located based on the denomination by going here. This is a fairly effective way to combat counterfeit banknotes.
  3. Magnetic Ink Detectors – Legitimate currency has magnetic properties in the ink located in certain areas on the bill. Magnetic ink detectors can be used to scan for this.
  4. Watermark Detection – Most modern currencies have watermarks built into them. In the U.S. this is represented by a person. When lit from behind, this type of watermark is very easy to see.
  5. Security Threads – Most legitimate U.S. currency has a security thread running vertically through it. This thread usually specifies the value in text.
  6. Magnifying Glass – A magnifying glass can be used to visually identify characteristics unique to legitimate money. This often involves micro printing that cannot be easily duplicated by counterfeiters.

My personal favorite type of detector is one that incorporates both ultraviolet (UV) and magnetic (MG) detection in one machine. You can read a lot more about counterfeit detection, including pictures, by reading our counterfeit detection guide found here.

You can find our entire selection of counterfeit detectors here.

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