You are being redirected to ABC Office. Why? has joined their sister company ABC Office to provide our customers with a greater product selection, while offering the same great prices and service you have come to love and expect!If you have questions or concerns during this transition please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788, or email us at sales@abcoffice.com.

You are being redirected to ABC Office. Why? has joined their sister company ABC Office to provide our customers with a greater product selection, while offering the same great prices and service you have come to love and expect!If you have questions or concerns during this transition please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788, or email us at sales@abcoffice.com.


Archive for the ‘Tips & Advice’ Category

Office Equipment Made in the USA

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Office Equipment Made in the USAThere is a growing trend in the United States right now of people looking for office equipment made in the USA. This is driven by a sense of national pride and a desire to help bolster the local economy. At ABC Office (found here) we actually offer a really nice selection of products that are made in the USA. Many of these products are actually some of the highest quality and best supported that we offer.

Before I go too much further into our American-made products at ABC Office, I would just like to say that we offer many fine pieces of equipment that aren’t made in the USA. To my friends outside the US, it should be known that my favorite paper cutters and shredders are made in Germany. The point of this article, however, is to help people in the US find American-made products for the sake of supporting American companies.

What I would like to do is list off some of our most popular manufacturers and their products that are made in the USA.

  • Formax (found here) – Formax manufactures a lot of their products in the United Sates. This includes their lines of pressure sealers, bursters, decollators, paper folding machines, mail tabbers and booklet makers. Few manufactures have this much of their product line made in America. Coincidentally, Formax products are some of the best made that we offer.
  • Lassco Corner Rounders (found here) – Lassco is one of the top manufactures of corner rounders in the United States. Most of their corner rounders, including the popular CR-20 and CR-50 are made in the USA. These corner roudners are some of the best built in the industry.
  • Widmer (found here) – Widmer manufactures a lot of their own date, time and number stamps. They are based out of New York and their products are very well known for their reliability.
  • Staplex (found here) – The bulk majority of the staplers made by Staplex are made in the USA. This excludes some of their cheaper models such as the S10P, SL and ST. Almost all of their higher-end electric and heavy-duty staplers are made in the USA.
  • Martin Yale (found here) – Martin Yale has been manufacturing office equipment for decades. Many of their products, including most of their paper folding machines (i.e. 1501x, 1611, 1217A, 1711), some of their shredders and all of their wood base paper cutters are made in the USA.
  • Traco (found here) – Traco I-bar sealers and L-bar shrink wrap machines are all manufactured in the United States. Traco is by far one of the most popular I-bar shrink wrap machines around.
  • Amerishred (found here) – As the name implies, these paper shredders are all made in the USA. The Amerishred line of shredders are designed for commercial and industrial shredding applications with many of their designs capable of shredding hundreds of sheets of paper at a time.

It’s nice to see that there is still a lot of high quality office equipment made in the USA still available. This list is up to date as of July 2013. As manufacturing changes and operations are sometimes moved, I recommend calling us at 1-800-658-8788 for an updated list. I will try to update this list as frequently as possible.

Can Any Laminator Be Used with Photos?

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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!

Best Reusable Binding Machines Formats

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Why waste when you can reuse, right? So, can you live up to this statement when it comes to bookbinding? Believe it or not, some binding machine formats can be reused, where others cannot. If you are interested in reusing your binding supplies, whether it be for financial or environmental reasons, I would like to introduce you to some of the most reusable binding formats amiable. Binding formats I will cover include comb, wire, coil, VeloBind, ProClick and thermal. You can find all of our binding machines here.

There are many reasons why people want a reusable binding format. For one, it is nice to be able to reuse binding supplies rather than simply throw old bound documents away. It is more affordable to do this and ultimately it means less waste, which in turn is more environmentally sound. Reusable binding supplies often also mean you can add or remove pages from an already bound document.

I am going to start by listing the most reusable binding formats to the least reusable.

  • Comb Binding MachinesComb Binding (found here) – Comb binding has literally been around for decades. I remember handling and using comb bound books when I was going to elementary school back in the 80s. This binding format uses a spring-loaded spine that can be opened and closed using a comb opener, typically found on the top of the machine. Comb binding continues to this day to be THE least expensive binding format around, which includes the machines and the supplies. These machines are affordable enough that they can be used for business, school or even home use. The supplies are available in a variety of sizes and colors and can be used to bind small reports or thick books.
  • ProClick Binding MachinesProClick (found here) – ProClick, from GBC, uses a proprietary binding element that uses a similar hole pattern to twin loop wire. The binding element opens and closes using a special tool. The end results look class. The supplies “zip” open and closed and can be reused multiple times over. This binding format has a loop like format. The only downside is that the machines and supplies are proprietary to GBC, which means they aren’t very common or easy to come by. Other binding formats also have better color selection.
  • Coil Binding MachinesCoil Binding (found here) – This is by far the most popular binding format used today. The supplies are extremely durable, the colors are vast and the size range is broad. Coil allows pages to turn 360 degrees, lie flat and can be used for binding small presentations or large manuals. This binding format is semi-reusable. You can clip the ends off of the coil and spin it back out, allowing it to be re-used. The only catch is that the element (now clipped shorter) cannot be used with the same size sheet of paper. It will have to be used with a smaller book. That is a pretty huge catch, which is why most people don’t reuse their coil supplies, but it can be done. The PVC coils can be recycled.
  • Wire Binding MachinesWire Binding (found here) – I have had many many people ask me lately if twin loop wire can be re-used. Simply put, it cannot. Wire binding is literally bent into place. The wire element itself is made from a single piece of wire. Removing the wire element results in the destruction of the wire. The good news is that the wire isn’t hard to remove and a new wire can be easily inserted and closed. Wire binding is a classy format, and it looks great, but the supplies cannot be reused.
  • Hot Knife VeloBind MachinesHot Knife VeloBind (found here) – Velobind is a fairly permanent bind. It uses heat to literally melt the prongs to the back strip. The VeloBind System 3, however, does have a debind feature that will use heat to soften the plastic prongs and strip, allowing it to be removed. The removed strip, however, cannot be reused. Having used this machine and the debind feature myself, I can safety say that the debind feature is quirky at best and the debound book often does not come out of the process looking good.
  • Thermal Binding MachinesThermal Binding (found here) – Thermal binding machines use glue to bind paper. The glue is thermally warmed up, causing the glue to liquefy. When the glue is soft, it sticks to the paper. As the glue cools it hardens and the binding process is complete. You cannot remove the glue…period. It is a permanent bind. The only way you could possible salvage a document and rebind it would be to cut the glue bound spine off of the book using a stack paper cutter (found here).

As you can see, comb binding (which happens to be one of the most affordable) is still the king of binding formats when it comes to reusability. ProClick and coil follow soon after. At ABC Office, we offer a huge selection of book binding machines that can be found here. If you still have a question about one of the above-mentioned binding styles, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788.

Thanks for reading. Please post any feedback as a comment.

Daily Mail Mode Rolls out on Formax Envelope Inserting Machines

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Daily Mail Mode Formax Envelope Inserting MachinesFolding and inserting machines (found here) are pretty remarkable pieces of equipment when you consider all that they do. These machines take paper, fold it, insert it into an envelope and seal the envelope shut. They do this at a high rate of speed and dramatically cut down on overhead by eliminating the need to do the same work manually. These machines come in a variety of configurations, depending on how many sheets you need inserted into an envelope. One feature that many of these machines now include is a daily mail. I would like to go into more detail what this does.

Envelope inserting machines are known by many names. Some include folder inserters, envelope stuffing machines and letter inserters. These machines are all made for mailing purposes. I have seen customers use these machines for mailing invoices, checks, letters, marketing material and more. Some even have the ability to insert a small insert or business reply envelope (BRE).  The precision and efficiency that these machines perform is truly and engineering feat.

The latest feature now included in most Formax envelope inserting machines is called Daily Mail. This is a feature that allows you to quickly fold and insert multiple sheets of paper into an envelope without having to set up any special project. This is sometimes called semi-auto mode and is excellent for occasional jobs that pop up here and there. This bypasses the normal feeding trays and requires you to pre-collate the sheets prior to folding and inserting. This may range from a couple of sheets up to several, depending on the machine.

Traditional envelope inserting machines do not have the ability to fold and insert stapled sets of paper. This is another example of where Daily Mail Mode is so cool. The semi-auto Daily Mail feed slot allows you to insert stapled documents for folding and inserting into an envelope. This gives you a lot of control and again, it is ideal for occasional jobs that may pop up out of nowhere.

Another thing you may not be aware of is that these folding and inserting machines can also be used for multi-sheet paper folding. This means folding multiple sheets of paper at a the same time (without the intent of mailing them). Most paper folding machines are not capable of multi-sheet folding, but Formax envelope inserting machines allow you to disable the envelope inserting part of the process for simple or multi-sheet folding.

Most of our envelope inserting machines are capable of creating a Z fold (aka accordion), C fold (aka letter fold), half fold (aka single fold) and a double parallel fold. These really are paper folding machines on steroids.

If you’re curious as to whether or not our machines will work for your project, feel free to send in samples. We would love to test them on our machines and send them back to you. Sometimes it helps, when selecting a machine, to see the end results in your hand. This will also help us determine the right machine for you and establish if your paper and envelopes will even work.

While envelope inserting machines do cost more than your typical paper folder, we do offer leasing options and accept purchase orders.

If you have additional questions about these machines, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of envelope inserting machines here.

Top 10 Best Office Paper Shredders of 2013

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Best Paper Shredders 2013Office paper shredders need to be able to put up with a lot of daily use. You don’t want an office shredder that’s going to require a cool down time, period. For an office, you need something that is tough, time tested and capable of holding up for years. At ABC Office, we offer a huge selection of office paper shredders (found here). Many of these shredders are excellent products, however, I would like to point out 10 that have truly proven themselves as “best shredders” for 2013.

I have come up with criteria of 5 features you need to have in a solid office paper shredder.

  • Bin Size – I recommend you get a paper shredder that has at least a 10 gallon capacity. The larger the bin, the less you are going to have to empty it. I would put 10 gallons as the minimum size for an office.
  • Throat Size – I generally recommend you go with a paper shredder that has a throat width that is at least 10″. The first model I am going to recommend is 9.5″, but the rest are 10″ or wider. A 10″ throat width easily accommodates letter-size paper and the added width helps prevent jams.
  • Security – I recommend you use a paper shredder that uses a cross cut shredding pattern. I have found that a Level 3 is more than adequate security for most businesses.
  • Sheet Capacity – When it comes to sheet capacity, I recommend you buy a shredder that handles at least 10 sheets of paper at a time if not more.
  • Continuous Duty – I never recommend a shredder with a cool down period. I find it a nuisance and often a sign of cheap construction. I recommend you buy a shredder with a continuous duty motor that is thermally protected. All of the shredders I am going to recommend have continuous duty motors.

Top 10 Best Office Paper Shredders of 2013 – These are listed in order of price.

  1. Dahle CleanTEC 41214 (found here) – This shredder is compact and perfect for use with a small department of people. It is extremely quiet, is energy efficient and helps cut down on dust. It is German built and is a solid piece of equipment.
  2. Destroyit 2604 CC (found here) – This is a very affordable paper shredder, especially when you consider what it does. It has a nice 26-gallon bin, is energy efficient, has a Level 3 cross cut pattern and is German made. This shredder sits nicely next to a wall and can be used by several different people throughout the day.
  3. HSM B34 Securio (found here) – This shredder is has capacity, speed and security. The German made Securio line of shredders from HSM are all solid pieces of equipment. This particular model features a Level 4 security and has a nice 26.4 gallon shred bin.
  4. Formax FD 8400 (found here) – This paper shredder has a nice 12.2″ wide opening and is remarkably affordable considering the cross cut version can handle up to 18 sheets of paper at a time. This shredder is also fast, operating at 30 feet per minute.
  5. Destroyit 3104 CC (found here) – This is a great small to medium-duty paper shredder. It has a 12″ opening and can be used to shred on a continuous basis. A 32 gallon bin holds a lot of paper and this shredder is rated as a Level 3.
  6. Destroyit 3804 CC (found here) – This is one of the most affordable Destroyit shredders that includes a wide 16″ shredding width. This German-made paper shredder is solid and features an extremely easy-to-use control interface. It is safe and powerful, making it an excellent choice for most offices.
  7. Destroyit 4002 CC (found here) – Destroyit paper shredders, by Ideal, are German build and feature hardened steel shredder blades. A huge 44 gallon shred bin and a 16″ wide throat means this shredder will handle just about any size of paper and won’t need to be changed very often. This is an excellent departmental paper shredder.
  8. HSM Securio P40C (found here) – This is one of HSM’s most well rounded heavy-duty office shredders. It has a 13″ shed width, an 18 sheet per minute speed and can handle 35-37 sheets of paper at a time. IT can also handle CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, floppy disks and credit cards. It is extremely quiet and features V-TEK hardened rollers.
  9. Formax FD 8650CC (found here) – This shredder can safely be categorized as a heavy-duty office shredder. It is designed for daily operation and can hold up to 53 gallons of paper! It includes an AutoOiler, which means you don’t need to remember to oil it. This shredder can handle most sizes of paper (up 16″ wide) and is blazing fast at 30 feet per minute.
  10. Destroyit 4005 CC (found here) – If you need power, combined with sold German engineering, the Destroyit 4005 is the shredder to have. This shredder is powerful, with a 16″ wide throat and a 59-gallon shred bin. It is available in a Level 3 or Level 4 cross cut pattern. This shredder will easily service an entire building and will keep up with your daily shredding needs.

So there you have it! These are 10 extremely tough cross cut paper shredders that are excellent options for an office. Unlike many cheap department store shredders, these are build to hold up and last for years.

If these shredders are out of your price range, but you would still like something that is tough, you may want to consider the Destroyit 2360 (found here). This shredder is still tough and is an excellent choice for use by a few people throughout the day. I also highly recommend most shredders from Dahle, HSM and Destroyit.

If you still have questions about a paper shredder for your office, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We have decades of experience with paper shredders and should be able to help you out. You will find our entire selection of paper shredders here.

Ten Things to Look for in a School Laminator

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

School Roll LaminatorIf you’re a K-12 school, chances are you laminate a lot of stuff. Most schools use laminators for protecting, enhancing and improving maps, posters, signs, banners, flash cards and educational material. If you’re looking to expand or upgrade your laminating capabilities, this guide is for you. I would like to answer a few questions and point out a few features you should have in your school laminator (found here).

Before I go too much further with this guide, I would like to point out that there are two primary types of laminators. These are pouch and roll. Here is the definition of each:

  • Pouch Laminators (found here) – This is a laminator that uses “pouches” to laminate material. These pouches open up like a file folder, allowing you to insert your photo, card, letter, sign or other material. These pouches range in size from just a few inches to 12″ x 18″ in size. These types of laminators are ideal for laminating smaller items and the laminators themselves usually fit on any table or desk.
  • Roll Laminators (found here) – These laminators are designed for either laminating larger material, such as maps and posters, or for laminating multiple smaller items at the same time. Simply put, these laminators are designed to laminate more than a pouch laminator. These types of laminators can be used on a desk or table, but are also often put on a laminator card or workstation.

Here are ten features I recommend considering when purchasing a school laminator:

  1. Laminator Width – Laminators come in all sizes and shapes. Be sure you buy a laminator that accommodates the largest item you need laminated. The most common sizes schools use are 25″ and 27″ wide roll laminators (found here). That’s because these laminators handle posters, maps, signs and banners.
  2. Film Thickness – Lamination film is available in different thicknesses, referred to as the mil (a thousandth of an inch). The thinnest available is 1.5 mil for roll laminators and 3 mil for pouch laminators. The thickest common film available for all laminators is 10-mil. The most common film for schools is 3 mil, although 1.5 and 5 are also very popular. You can find our laminating pouches here and our lamination rolls here.
  3. Mounting Capabilities – Some teachers like to laminate a poster or sign onto ¼” foam core board. In the laminating industry, this is referred to as mounting. Many roll laminators come with the ability to mount material while laminating. The thickness tolerance varies, so be sure you know what the laminator can handle if mounting is a required feature.
  4. Speed – If you need to laminate a lot of stuff in a short period of time, you may want to take the laminator’s speed into account. Laminators all have a set maximum speed. Some have a variable speed. The speed is usually rated in feet per minute.
  5. Options – A few options you may want to consider in a laminator includes things such as side margin trimmers or a built in slitter for cutting off film after it leaves the laminator. These are purely optional, and many require factory installation, but are definitely something to be aware of prior to making a purchase.
  6. Adjustable Temperature – Most laminators will allow some sort of temperature adjustment. How much control you have, however, varies from one machine to another. Some simply have you select the mil thickness and the temperature is adjusted accordingly. Others offer a dial that allow you to specifically select a temperature. I personally like to have the ability to select a wide range of temperature settings as different types of lamination film require different temperatures.
  7. Analog or Digital – Laminators are now available with analog and digital controls. This means a dial or switch, versus a button or even a touch-capable control. This is often more aesthetic than critical in a laminator. Some laminators with digital controls, however, offer even more control over the laminator’s functions than analog controls.
  8. Brand – Do I have specific brands I like and recommend? You bet! I highly recommend laminators from Laminators Specialties (formerly Banner American), Ledco, Intelli-Lam, Tamerica and Ledco all make top-notch products.
  9. Switches – I’m not a big fan of the “one switch does all” design. I like to have different switches (or buttons) for different functions. I highly recommend you buy a laminator with independent heat and motor switches. By allowing the laminator to warm up, without the motor running, will help extend the life of your laminator.
  10. Cooling Fans – This isn’t a critical feature to have for a school laminator. Cooling fans help quickly cool the lamination film as it leaves the machine, which helps cut down on curling, warping and other lamination artifacts and defects.

I hope this guide helps you out. We have been selling laminators since 1980 and are well versed when it comes to laminators. We have years of information we would love to share with you, so please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. Many schools also like to pay on terms using a Purchase Order. You’ll be happy to know that we accept school purchase orders. They can be faxed or e-mailed in to us.

You can find our entire selection of laminators here. Please feel free to post your comments and questions.

Best Way to Shrink Wrap Paper for Archival Storage

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Shrink Wrap Machines for Paper Archival PurposesDoes your business deal with stacks of papers, contracts, invoices or other paperwork and are looking for an effective way to package and archive this material? One of the most popular tools used to do just that is shrink wrap (found here). ABC Office has been selling shrink wrap machines for decades, with several models recommended for doing just this. I would like to answer a few common questions and offer a few machine recommendations.

Over time, businesses and organizations begin to accumulate paperwork such as invoices, contracts and other material. While it is a good idea to keep some of this paperwork accessible, eventually it becomes cumbersome and takes up too much space in a filing cabinet. Because most businesses don’t need paperwork going back more than a few years, many opt to archive older documents. Even here at ABC Office we eventually have to remove old invoices from our filing cabinets and archive them.

Shrink wrap has quickly become one of the most popular tools for archiving documents. This is because shrink wrap helps bundle and hold paperwork tightly together (thanks to the shrinking properties of the film). The plastic barrier created by shrink wrap also helps keep the paperwork protected, helping provide a barrier against insects, animals, moisture, dust and much more. We have customers that often use shrink wrap to bundle invoices and contracts alphabetically by year. They’ll take all of the invoices that are sorted by the letter “A” and shrink wrap those together. Customers will then take this paper and write on it with a marker or slap a label on it. These stacks of paper can then later be opened (if needed) and re-wrapped with shrink wrap film.

There are several factors to consider when buying a machine and film. I would like to answer a few common questions.

  • How much paperwork are you archiving? If you are only packaging a few hundred documents a day, a machine like an I-bar sealer (found here) may be adequate. If you are packaging a lot of paperwork per day, perhaps in the thousands of sheets per day, I recommend you use a shrink wrap system (found here) that includes an integrated heat tunnel. Keep in mind that an I-bar sealer uses a heat gun, which does require the operator to manually shrink all four sides. If you are dealing with a cumbersome stack of paper, you may need something more robust than just a heat gun (especially when shrinking the bottom of the stack).
  • How large are the documents you are packaging? The size of the stack of paper you are packaging will be one of the biggest determining factors in which machine you purchase. You need to take into account the length, width and height of the stack you need to package. I recommend once you have established the width in height, that you add a few inches on top of that to ensure there is ample room. When it comes to establishing the sealing width you need, I recommend you add the width of the stack plus the height of the stack and add four inches to that number (Width + Height + 4″).
  • What type of film should you use? I would say this also depends on the size of the paper (length & width) and the height of the stack. If you are only packaging letter-size paper no more than a ream thick, you are probably going to be fine using 75 gauge PVC film. If the stack is thick, or the size of the paper sheet is large, you may want to use polyolefin film. Poly film has more flexibility to it (much like stretch wrap) and won’t break or tear nearly as easily as PVC film. You can find both our PVC and our Polyolefin film here.

At ABC Office we use the Compack 5800 (found here) to package our old letter size invoices. It is ideal for medium to higher-volume use. Again, the machine you use will depend on the job you need to do. Just be sure to take into consideration how much your volume may increase over the years. Please feel free to contact us at 1-800-658-8788 with any shrink wrap or document archival questions.

Intelli-Fold IF300 vs. the Martin Yale P7200 Paper Folding Machine

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Intelli-Fold IF300 Paper FolderIf you’re a small business and are looking around for a cheap automatic feed paper folding machine, you have several options to choose from. Martin Yale and Intelli-Fold both make some very affordable machines that can be used for the tabletop folding of letters, invoices, brochures and more. Two of the most popular entry-level paper folding machines is the Intelli-Fold IF300 (found here) and the Martin Yale P7200 (found here). So which of these two machines should you use with your business?

At first glance, you may want to simply go with the Martin Yale simply due to the slightly lower price. There is a lot more than price, however, when it comes to a paper-folding machine. You might be surprised just how much more you can get for just a few more dollars.

So what do these two machines have in common?

  • Martin Yale P7200 Paper Folding MachineBoth the IF300 and the P7200 can be used to create a half fold (aka single fold), accordion fold (aka Z fold), letter fold (aka C fold) and a double parallel fold.
  • Folding speeds are very similar.
  • Both feature a compact tabletop design.
  • Both use manual setup folding plates.
  • Both can be used with 8 ½” x 11″ paper.

What do these two machines not have in common?

  • The IF300 can be used with thicker 50# index paper.
  • The IF300 has a digital display with a paper counter.
  • The IF300 has a variable speed motor.
  • The IF300 can be set up to fold a specific amount of sheets.
  • The IF300 has a feed tray that holds up to 100 sheets of paper, double the capacity of the P7200.
  • The IF300 feature stand and catch tray that allows it to be used anywhere on a desk.
  • The P7200 uses an overhanging catch tray requiring the machine to be used on the edge of a table or desk.
  • The P7200 has a multi-sheet bypass slot that allows for multi-sheet folding of up to 3 sheets of paper.

While both are great entry-level machines, my recommendations to customers is if you don’t need the multi-sheet folding capabilities of the Martin Yale folding machine, I recommend going with the Intelli-Fold IF300. It is a better overall machine and I think it is a better value for your money. If you have any questions about  the Intelli-Fold IF300, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire lineup of paper folding machines here.

Pages Keep Falling out of Comb Bound Books

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Comb Binding SuppliesI recently had a customer call and speak to me who was concerned that their comb binding supplies simply weren’t working. While she didn’t buy the supplies from us, I thought I would ask a few questions to see if I could determine if the combs were faulty or if there were perhaps other issues at hand. After a few minutes I think we discovered the problem.

You can find our high-quality comb supplies here.

You would be surprised how many people I have spoken with who complain about pages falling out of their comb-bound books. Comb binding itself is actually a really solid bind, but there are a few things that can lead to poor results later down the road. After speaking with the above-mentioned customer, we discovered that she was using comb supplies that were too small for the books she was binding.

Over capacity isn’t always the reason for pages falling out of a comb bound document. There are several possible issues. Here are a few of the most common issues I have found:

  • Overuse – Remember, comb binding supplies are made out of plastic. While they can be re-used and pages can be added and removed, the process of opening and closing combs will eventually where the comb fingers out. As is the case with anything made of plastic, bending it back and forth will weaken it. After you have used a comb several times, the plastic fingers will be more prone to slipping back open. If you are having problems with your re-used combs losing pages, you may want to consider disposing of the old comb and using a new one.
  • Over Capacity – Binding combs are rated to hold specific amounts of paper. Many people try to buy just one size and use it for everything. The only problem is that if you bind a book to “bulging” over capacity, the comb’s fingers simply can’t keep that amount of paper secure for long. If you are binding a book to capacity, try using a slightly larger diameter comb. I suspect you will be much happier as a result.
  • Poor Quality – Believe it or not, there are varying degrees of quality with comb supplies. At ABC Office we try to stock only the good stuff. We have, in the past, brought in supplies from different sources and found some of them to be sub par and chose to get rid of them. Poor quality combs are usually made from cheap plastics or from thing gauge plastic. If you’re combs are having problems from the get go, you may want to try a different brand (preferably ours).
  • Improper Use – While comb binding is a great binding method, it does have its limitations. Comb bound books do not wrap a full 360 degrees like a coil bound book. If you try opening a comb bound book to far, or try wrapping the page, it will cause the comb to open and pages will fall out. Most people can see theses limitations simply by handling a comb bound book or by knowing the limitations ahead of time.
  • Comb Binding Alternatives – If durability is what you are looking for, and comb simply does not seem to be working for you, I would recommend you consider coil binding (found here) or VeloBinding (found here). Both of these methods are extremely tough and ultimately hold up a little better than comb.

Please fee free to contact us at 1-800-658-8788 for answers to more comb binding questions. We have over 25 years of experience and are more than capable of help you find the correct machine for your application. I hope you have found this article helpful.

by Category