Archive for October, 2010

What To Look For In A DVD Display Rack

Monday, October 18th, 2010

DVD Display Racks & HoldersMany retail stores now sell DVDs. This includes both traditional DVDs, Blu-ray disks and even video games. So what is the best way to display them?

There are several options out there. The model you get will depend on several factors, including location, space, volume and more. Here are a few tips that may help you out in your search.

To begin with, you will want to answer some basic questions. Here are the most common questions I ask customers when they are looking for a DVD display rack or holder.

Question 1. How many disks do you need to display?

While many DVD racks feature multiple different pockets, this doesn’t necessarily mean it will hold all your DVDs.  Once you have determined how many pockets a DVD rack has, find out how many DVDs each pocket will hold. Once you know the total quantity of disks it can hold, you will have a better idea as to whether or not a DVD rack will work for you.

Countertop DVD Displays Racks and HoldersQuestion 2. Is space an issue?

How much space do you have? If you don’t have much floor space, you may want to consider using a wall-mounted or corner-mounted DVD rack. Another good space-saving option is using a countertop DVD rack. Assuming you have the floor space, a revolving (rotating) DVD rack may be one of the best space savers with many racks capable of holding hundreds of DVDs in a relatively small area of space.

Question 3. Where will you be displaying the DVDs?

Do you want to display your DVDs on a wall, countertop or floor? While space may determine what you use, there are many different methods to display DVDs. For retail stores, revolving DVD racks are extremely popular along with countertop DVD racks that can be used at checkout.

These are just a few questions you should ask yourself prior to making a purchase. If you have an answer to these three questions, you have more than likely dramatically narrowed down the list of racks from which to choose.

You can find our entire selection of DVD display racks and holders here. Good luck in your search for the right DVD rack!

Fellowes EXL 45-2 Pouch Laminator Review

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Fellowes EXL 45-2 Laminating Machine / Pouch LaminatorAre you looking for a compact and portable laminator that you can use at the office for occasional jobs or at home for laminating photos and other small documents? If this sounds like your situation, you may want to consider looking at the Fellowes EXL 45-2 pouch laminator (found here). This is my review.

To begin with, Fellowes has a knack for creating beautiful equipment. This includes their shredders, binding machines and laminating machines. While functionality is ultimately most important, it is nice to get a piece of office equipment that looks good. The EXL 45-2 is a very attractive laminator.

For those that complain they can’t find the power button on their machine, you’ll be happy to know that the power button on the EXL 45-2 is the most obvious thing on it. It is ridiculously large. In some strange way it reminds me of the power button on my Xbox 360. This laminator’s colors are platinum and charcoal.

Looks aren’t everything though. The real question is, “does the EXL 45-2 perform?” To start, the EXL 45-2 is a small laminator. The feed opening is only 4.5″ wide. If you need to laminate letter-size documents, this is not the laminator you want to use. If you only plan on laminating photos, business cards and other small material, this may be an good option.

It only takes about 5 minutes to fully warm up. This is especially nice if you need a laminator for occasional use that can be turned on and used quickly, as needed. The EXL 45-2 has a maximum laminating film thickness of 5 mils. This means you will be able to use both 3 and 5 mil pouches, but won’t be able to use 7 and 10. The good news is that 3 and 5 mil pouches are the most common used thicknesses.

While the EXL 45-2 is primarily designed for thermal laminating, it can be set up and used for cold laminating as well. While it says film can be run through it without a carrier, I personally still like using one. This is up to you. I personally think carriers help prolong the laminator’s life be preventing hot glue from squeezing out onto the rollers.

The Fellowes EXL 45-2 is only a two-roller laminator. This should come as no surprise as the laminator doesn’t cost very much. This isn’t the end of the world, but this also means that the EXL 45-2 is not designed for high-volume use. It is best used for light to occasional use.

Overall I think this is a great laminator for the price and what it’s meant to do. It is a great option for a small business or home.

You can find the Fellowes EXL 45-2 pouch laminator here and our Fellowes laminating pouches here. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here.

Intelli-Bind IC210 Coil Binding Machine Review

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Intelli-Bind IC210 Coil Binding Machine from Intelli-ZoneI had a chance today to play around with one of the newest additions to our coil binding lineup. This new machine is the Intelli-Bind IC210 coil binding machine (found here) from Intelli-Zone. After having played around with it for some time, I decided it was time to sit down and write a review. Enjoy!

I have since grabbed the Intelli-Bind IC210 and have it sitting here on my desk. To begin with, it is made out of metal components, but doesn’t have the heft of higher-end Akiles machines. It weighs in at 17 pounds shipped. This is light enough to be used on most desks and tables.

The IC210 is rated to be able to punch 10-15 sheets of paper at a time. I have personally tried the maximum 15 sheets and was able to do it, but it took some effort and I don’t consider it to be practical.

I would personally scale the punching capacity back to about 10 sheets at a time. This is the case with most binding machines. The maximum amount listed on a binding machine often requires more effort than the typical person would like to use.

The overall look of the machine is very nice. It features a black and grey color combination that blends in nicely with existing office equipment.  The grey color has a metallic reflective quality to it.

The IC210 does not have selectable disengaging punching pins, so it is most ideal for punching A4, A5 and 8 ½” x 11″ letter-size paper. Binding smaller custom-size booklets may result in half-punched holes. An adjustable margin depth makes it easy to adjust how far into the paper the holes are punched. This is especially nice for punching and binding books of varying thicknesses.

Having used this myself, I have to say that I would rate it for light-volume use. It isn’t designed to bind hundreds of books a day, but rather a few here and there. In all honestly, it is pretty good for the price.

You’ll have to pay several times more to get a machine that can be used for medium to high-volume use. The Intelli-Bind IC410 is a great example of a machine designed for medium to higher-volume binding. This is a great option if you need a little more binding capacity.

For the price, and considering it has an electric coil inserter, I consider the IC210 to be a great deal. If you plan on using it to bind the occasional report, presentation or booklet, you won’t be disappointed.

You can find the Intelli-Bind IC210 coil binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of coil binding machines here.

Pouch Laminators – Looks Aren’t Everything

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Banner American PL12A Pouch Laminating MachineHow often have you purchased something purely based on looks? I’m sure car shopping probably fits into this category, along with clothing, electronics and other “toys.”  Should you be factoring in looks when shopping for a pouch laminator? I would answer yes and no. Here’s why.

As far as laminating machines are concerned, I would definitely have to say that looks are not important. Some of the most beautifully designed and best looking laminators out there produce some of the poorest results. While some manufacturers get looks and function down right, this isn’t usually the case.

Great looking results, however, are very important. How professional and nice does the laminating film look as it leaves the machine? Is the finish clean, clear and flawless? You don’t need to worry about being “shallow” if these things concern you.

The Banner American PL12A is a good example of a laminator that doesn’t have all the looks, but produces great results. I’m not saying it’s ugly, but it does have an industrial look that hasn’t changed in 10+ years.

Here are a few laminators that ultimately have great “looking” results:

  1. Banner American PL12A Pouch Laminator
  2. Intelli-Lam IL400 Quality Pouch Laminator
  3. Tahsin TCC-330 Pouch Laminating Machine
  4. Akiles Pro-Lam 230 Pouch Laminator
  5. Intelli-Lam IL300 Commercial Pouch Laminator

This is just a small sampling of some of our best pouch laminators. We try our best to only carry products that our customers like. If a laminator fails the test, or has issues, we are quick to remove it from our lineup. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here.

Pressure Folder Sealers vs. Paper Folding & Inserting Machines

Friday, October 15th, 2010

If you are in need of a machine that can help you mail invoices, receipts, bills and other paperwork, you have a couple of options. One is to use a pressure folder sealer and the other is to use a folding & inserting machine. Both technologies get the job done, but which one should you use? Here are a few pros and cons.

Formax Paper Pressure Folder SealersPressure Folder Sealers – Folder sealers use pressure to fold and seal sheets of paper shut. Special pressure-activated paper has small pockets of glue along perforated edges. When pressure is applied to these pockets, they burst open and seal the sheet of paper shut. This pressure-activated paper can be used in laser printers, inkjet printers and copy machines.

  • Pros – Pressure folder sealers have fewer moving parts when compared to a folding & inserting machine. This ultimately means fewer potential servicing issues later down the road. Pressure sealers are extremely easy to setup and require few modifications to get up and running. Pressure sealers are also typically less expensive than paper folding & inserting machines.
  • Cons – Pressure sealers are usually limited to one sheet of paper. While ideal for invoices, bills and other material, pressure sealers are not the best option for mailing promotional material.

Formax Paper Folding & Inserting Machines / Envelope StuffersFolding & Inserting Machines (aka Automatic Envelope Stuffers) – These machines take paper, fold it, put it in an envelope and seal the envelope shut.

  • Pros – Folding and inserting machines are excellent for mailing out multiple sheets at a time, including return envelopes and inserts. The amount of sheets that can be folded and inserted depends on the machine being used. These machines are excellent for mailing out promotional literature, bills, invoices and other documents.
  • Cons – These machines can only be used with approved envelopes, meaning you need to be sure you are using the right envelopes or you may end up with a big mess. Folder inserters are also a little more complicated to set up, versus a pressure sealer. Once you know what you’re doing, it isn’t bad.

So there you have it. Two solid, tried and tested ways to streamline mailing operations. You can find our entire selection of pressure folder sealers here and our paper folding and inserting machines here. Feel free to contact one of our paper folding specialists by calling 1-800-658-8788. Have a great day!

Count Tablematic Plus Numbering Machine Review

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Count Tablematic Plus Numbering MachineAre you in the market for a stable, reliable and fast numbering machine option for your documents or carbonless forms? One model you may want to look at is the Count Tablematic Plus numbering machine (found here). This is my review.

To begin with, the Tablematic Plus is a manually operated numbering machine. This doesn’t mean everything is done by hand, but some manual involvement is required. The actual stamping is done by the machine by means of a motor-driven stamping head.

The work surface on the Tablematic Plus measures in at 11 ½” x 16″ and is designed to easily stamp just about anywhere on an 8 ½” x 11″ letter-size sheet. Registration and alignment are done by adjusting a magnetic backstop and side rails. Once registered, an experienced operator can create about 1,000 stamps per hour.

One thing I really like about this numbering machine is that it is has a convenient foot pedal. This means you can place paper on the work surface, stamp it with your foot, and then quickly add another document. This really speeds things up and is very convenient for the operator.

The stamping head can crash number carbonless forms up to 6 parts or it can stamp regular paper. It does operations quickly and effectively. The stamp head itself can stamp either horizontally or vertically. Simply rotate the head 90 degrees on the cross bar.

If the numbering head needs any cleaning or servicing, the head can be swung upwards for easy access. This also makes it very easy to change out the ink.

The ink itself comes in a cartridge with a felt base. This cartridge is extremely easy to change out and contains oil-based ink. The cartridge should last for about 35,000 impressions before running out of ink.

By default the Count Tablematic Plus has a six-digit numbering head. This can, however, be special ordered in a 7 or 8 digit numbering head. Call us at 1-800-658-8788 to ask about custom numbering heads.

For what it does, I consider the Count Tablematic Plus numbering machine to be a solid little product. It can be used on just about any table and weighs in at 19 pounds shipped. This is a great option for document control and document numbering.

You can find the Count Tablematic Plus numbering machine here. You can find our entire selection of numbering machines here.

How To Use A Coil Binding Machine To Bind Books

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Spiral & Coil Binding MachinesHave you lost your coil binding manual or do you simply want to learn more about how to use a coil binding machine? You’re in luck. This guide will teach you how to use a coil binding machine in 7 easy steps.

Coil binding ranks as one of the top three most popular binding formats used today. This is due to a lot of reasons. A few I can name off the top of my head include the durability of coils, the wide color selection, the price and the ability for the pages to turn a full 360 degrees.

As previously mentioned, I have created a guide that goes through step-by-step instructions on how to coil bind a book. Sure not all coil binding machines work the same, but most are based on similar concepts and functionality. Once you know how to use one coil binding machine, you will probably be able to easily use another.

Coil Bind A Book In 7 Easy Steps

Step 1. The first thing you’ll need to do is set up your machine. This may involve adjusting the edge guide, the margin depth or the selectable punching pins (if equipped).

Coil Binding Machine

Step 2. Gather all the pages you intend to bind. This includes the content, a back sheet and a cover sheet.

Coil Binding Step 2

Step 3. Grab the first few sheets to punch, keeping in mind the maximum punching capacity of your binding machine.

Coil Binding Step 3

Step 4. Now punch the paper and repeat this process until all the pages in your book have been punched.

Coil Binding Step 4

Step 5. Now take your punched paper and make sure the holes are all properly aligned.

Coil Binding Step 5

Step 6. At this point you will want to insert a coil through the first three to four holes. If you have an electric coil inserter, you can now insert the coil the rest of the way. If you don’t have an electric inserter, manually spin the coil the rest of the way through the holes.

Coil Binding Step 6

Step 7. Now take your coil crimping pliers and crimp / cut off the excess coil on both ends of the book. This will keep the coils from spinning back out. You are now done and ready to bind another book!

Coil Binding Step 7

Simple, right? You bet. Using a coil binding machine is quick, affordable and it looks great. You can find our entire selection of coil binding machines here and coil binding supplies here. Do you still have questions about coil binding machines? Contact one of our binding specialists at 1-800-658-8788 with all your questions.

Intelli-Bind IC310 Coil Binding Machine Review

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Intelli-Bind IC310 Coil Binding MachineCoil binding looks good, doesn’t it? Pages turn a full 360 degrees, there’s a wide variety of color choices and the binding coils hold up well. If you need a coil binding machine, you should first take a look at the Intelli-Bind IC310 coil binding machine (found here) from Intelli-Zone. This is my review.

Intelli-Bind is a fairly new line of binding machines, but the feedback from the first few months has been very positive. Who, after all, can complain about a machine that does exactly what other machines twice the price can do? The Intelli-Bind IC310 is a newcomer, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

My first impression with the IC310 is the features, and the almost over abundance of them. Many of these features are clearly available upon seeing the machine. A few of these obvious features includes the electric coil inserter and the fully disengaging dies.

The build quality on the IC310 is exceptional. The metal chassis and metal components really make this coil binding machine sturdy. While it isn’t too heavy to pick up for most people (31 pounds shipped), you definitely get a feel for the hefty build.

As previously mentioned, the IC310 has an electric coil inserter. This inserter really speeds up the coil binding process versus manually inserting the coils. The inserter is activated by turning on a switch. The entire process is quick and the inserter motor makes very little noise.

The selectable disengaging punching dies makes custom-size book binding very easy. Every single one of the 53 punching pins can be disengaged. Very few binding machines in this price range offer this capability. The IC310 also includes an adjustable margin depth selector dial.

The handle is leveraged in such a way that 18-sheet punching is fairly easy to do. The punching pins are sharp and get the job done very quickly. The IC310 punches holes in a 4:1 pitch (four holes per inch) pattern, which is the most common type used today. It can be used to bind up to about 1 ¼” of paper.

Overall I consider the Intelli-Bind IC310 to be an exceptional binding machine for low to medium-volume binding needs. It can easily be used all day long and the electric coil inserter is a huge plus. This is a great binding machine to have in a copy shop, a school, a church or other organization that needs to bind books, reports and other material.

You can find the Intelli-Bind IC310 coil binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of coil binding machines here and coil binding supplies here. Have a great day!

Best Vacuum Sealer Bags For Minipack Chamber & External Sealers

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Minipack Vacuum Food SealersI recently had a customer, who owned a Minipack Cyclone 30, ask me which vacuum sealer bags he should use. The previous day I received a similar question from someone who owned a Minipack MVS 31. There is a very simple answer this question.

While Minipack chamber and external vacuum food sealers can be used with many different brands of vacuum sealer bags, why not just use bags direct from the source? The best Minipack vacuum sealer bags, in my opinion, are bags made by Minipack.

All the external and chamber bags we offer are made by the very manufacturers that make the machines. This means the bags we sell WILL work with ALL Minipack vacuum sealers.

I have heard nothing but praise for our Minipack vacuum food sealer bags.

Do you still have questions about our vacuum food sealer bags or machines? Feel free to speak with one of our specialists at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of vacuum food sealers here.

Roll Laminator Maintenance – Cooked / Baked Film Cleaning Tips

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Roll Laminator Maintenance - Baked,  Burnt and Cooked Laminating FilmIf you own a roll laminator, you probably understand that proper maintenance and care are required to keep things running smoothly. No matter how hard you try, accidents may happen. One of the worst accidents that can occur with a roll laminator is overheating and baked laminating film.

Baked laminating film typically occurs when a roll laminator is left unattended for too long or the temperature is turned up too high. I can remember several years ago we used a Banner American Easy Lam II and someone turned the temperature up WAY too high. About 10-15 minutes later we all noticed a pungent, strong smell of burning plastic.

Upon entering the showroom, it looked like the laminator was on fire. It looked like an indoor laminator BBQ. There was literally smoke coming out the top of it. We quickly unplugged it and wheeled it outside the building. After an hour or so, we brought it back in. At that point the damage was clear. There was baked, charred and burnt laminating film all over the heating boots and rollers.

At first I thought the laminator was a complete loss. I figured there was nothing that could  done. Our talented Service Technician was able to breathe some life back into it and clean it up to a point that it was completely usable again. Here are some tips on cleaning up and fixing your fried roll laminator.

Removing Film – To begin with, do not use a knife or scissors to remove the burnt film. This WILL cause damage to the Teflon coated boots and the silicon rollers. If this happens rollers and boots will have to be physically removed and replaced.

One way to remove burnt film is to actually turn the laminator back on, but to a barely warm state. Basically turn the laminator on as low as it goes, or even let it be on for just a minute or two. This will help warm up glue and make it easier to peel off. Be careful when doing this though. You don’t want to burn yourself.

Cleaning Burnt Glue – Once the film has been removed, it is very important to remove the cooked glue. This must be done to renew proper operation. There are a few ways to do this.

Our Service Technician says she prefers to use Martin Yale’s roller cleaner and rejuvenator. This helps break down the glue and makes it easier to clean. This is her number one tip. You can find our roller cleaner rejuvenator here.

Laminator Cleaning KitsAnother tip is to use our laminator cleaning kit. These kits include Xenit foaming cleaner and other tools to help clean up rollers and Teflon boots. You can find our laminator cleaning kits here.

Try not to use rubbing alcohol to clean the silicon rollers. While rubbing alcohol can be used to break up glue and clean the Teflon boots, the alcohol can potentially cause the rubber rollers to dry out and crack, rendering them useless.

Once most of the glue has been cleaned, a non-abrasive cleaning pad, like a Scotch-Brite green pad, can be used to clean up excess glue and charred material. The pad needs to be non-abrasive though, or it can potentially damage the Teflon coating on the boots.

These are just a few tips. If you need a replacement laminator, you can find our entire selection of roll laminators here and roll laminating film here.

Good luck!

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