Paper Folding Machine Glossary

Friction-Feed Paper Folding MachineAre you shopping around for a paper-folding machine and are finding that a lot of the terms used to describe the machines are sounding like a foreign language? No worries. I have come up with a list of common paper folder terms and their definitions. Hopefully this helps you out on your quest to find a machine.

Paper Folding Machine Glossary

  • Air Feed – Air feed paper folding machines use an air compressor to pull paper into the machine for folding. This is ideal for use with glossy paper and coated paper as friction (non-air) machines tend to slip on this type of paper.
  • Automatic – Some higher-end machines feature automated functionality. This usually involves powered folding plates and the ability of a machine to adjust itself to accommodate the fold you need to create.
  • Batch Folding – Some machines allow the operator to determine a set number of folds. If you set the batch folding to 10, the machine will fold 10 sheets and stop (until you tell it to start back up).
  • Bottom Feed – A bottom feed paper folder pulls paper from the bottom of the feed tray.
  • Catch Tray – A catch tray is where folded paper is dispersed as it exits the machine.
  • Conveyor – Higher-end folding machines have a powered conveyor that helps to keep paper organized as it comes out of the machine.
  • Fanning – Some folding machines require that paper be fanned prior to placement in the machine. While most machines don’t require this, it was common in machines 10+ years ago.
  • Folding Plates – Folding plates are used to determine where a fold will occur in the paper during the folding process. Most folding machines use 2 folding plates.
  • Friction-Feed – A friction-feed paper-folding machine uses rubber or silicon wheels to pull paper into the machine for folding. This system is great with card stock and standard paper, but can slip on glossy paper (resulting in jams).
  • Guides – Most folding machines have guides in the feed tray that need to be adjusted to accommodate the paper size being folded. It is ideal to try and center the guides with the friction rollers that pull paper into the machine.
  • Manual – A manual folding machine requires the operator to manually adjust the folding plates.
  • Pneumatic – Pneumatic folding machines use air, rather than friction wheels, to pull paper into the machine for folding. These machines are ideal for use with glossy and coated paper.
  • Rollers – Paper-folding machines use a series of rollers to move and fold paper. These rollers require occasional cleaning.
  • Skew – Skew is used to define the alignment of paper. Many higher-end folding machines have a skew wheel that allows the operator to adjust the alignment of a fold.
  • Suction Feed – Suction feed is another term used to describe air feed or pneumatic feed. Suction feed folding machines use air to pull paper into a machine rather than friction wheels. This is ideal for glossy and coated paper.
  • Test Button – Many folding machines have a test button that allows 1-2 sheets to be folded. This is nice for making fine-tuned adjustments and ensuring that the folding plates are properly set.
  • Top Feed – A top feed paper-folding machine pulls paper from the top of the feed tray.
  • Weight – Most folding machines have minimum and maximum capabilities when it comes to the paper being folded. The thickness of the paper is typically refereed to as the paperweight.

Hopefully this glossary has helped you familiarize yourself with paper folding machine terminology. If you still have questions about folding machine lingo, feel free to speak with one of our folding machine specialists at 1-800-658-8788.

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

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