Akiles DuoMac – Streamline Your Binding Machine

November 11th, 2009

Are you having a hard time settling on one format of binding machine? I can’t say that I blame you. Depending on what is being bound, different binding machines create completely different looks. Wire works great for a professional report, where coil is perfect for a cookbook.

Buying multiple machines for multiple binding formats can be costly and takes up often-valuable space. Luckily machines have been engineered and manufactured to bind multiple formats. These types of machines are typically referred to as multi-format or combination biding machines.

Initially these machines consisted of just comb and wire combinations. In the past few years, several machines are now available that can punch and bind coil and comb, or wire and coil. Some are manually operated while others feature electric punching dies.

The most popular manufacturer of multi-format binding equipment is Akiles. The most recent line of combination-style machines from Akiles is known as DuoMacs. The DuoMacs are available in several models in several different punching combinations.

Akiles is well known for manufacturing solid machines. If you ever get a chance to use one of the DuoMacs, WireMacs or CoilMacs, try lifting them. You will be surprised how heavy they are. This is because they are made from all-metal construction.

We are pretty excited to have the Akiles DuoMacs on our site. You can find all these Akiles DuoMac binding machines and more by going to our Akiles binding machine index here.

Paper Shredder Repair & Maintenance – Keep It Alive!

November 6th, 2009

Paper shredders can be tricky beasts and the quality ranges wildly from very low end toys to post-apocalyptic strength monsters that even Mad Max would be proud to use. Some paper shredders have plastic and nylon gears, where others have titanium-enhanced blades that can chew through staples, credit cards and CDs.

The shredder you use will depend entirely on what you need to use it for. As the Boy Scouts would say, “be prepared.” Don’t underestimate what your future needs may be and always get a shredder that can handle the job. If you purchase a cheap department store shredder, you may be cruisin’ for a bruisin’. In the shredder industry, you often get what you pay for.

Once you have purchased the “right” shredder, there are a few things you will want to do to keep it running correctly. The first thing you will want to do is purchase some shredder oil. Shredder oil keeps the moving blades from wearing out. Running a car without oil will eventually lead to a seized engine or a thrown rod. The same goes for shredders, especially those of the cross cut variety.

Change the bag when the shredder tells you to! Most modern shredders have a bag-full indicator. Luckily most shredders will turn off if the bag is too full. If your shredder does not have this capability, be sure you empty it before your shredder erupts like a confetti volcano. Too much paper in the bin will cause the blades to become constrained with packed paper particles. This isn’t good for the motor.

Much like you would with a high-end home theater system, I personally recommend putting your shredder on a surge protector. While most shredders feature built-in fuses, a surge protector will still help preserve electronics and extend its life. This isn’t terribly important for low-end kid’s meal shredders, but is ideal for higher-end office shredders.

Throw away those paper clips and don’t experiment with the shredder, it’s not a toy. Although many shredders claim they can handle paper clips and staples, it is still a very good idea to remove the paper clips. While staples don’t pose much of a threat, a thicker paper clip still has the potential of nicking and damaging the shredder blades. Don’t hold “what can it shred” contests either. You don’t want to get a sock or old 80’s mix tape jammed in the shredder.

If for any reason your shredder does break, you’re in luck. Here at ABC Office we have a fully trained and staffed service department. Not only can we service major brand shredders like Destroyit, Intimus, HSM, Kobra, Dahle, Formax and Fellowes, we can also service many brands we don’t have online. You can reach our service technician by calling 1-800-658-8788 or by filling out this form. May your shredder live long and prosper.

What should you look for in a good pouch laminator?

November 4th, 2009

Pouch laminators are still widely used because they provide an affordable and effective way to protect documents. Pouch lamination film can be used to coat business cards, menus, photographs, important documents and more. Although lamination film has remained relatively the same for 10+ years, the equipment has progressed significantly during that same period of time. Here are a few tips on what to look for in a pouch laminator.

Rollers – All pouch laminators have at least a minimum of 2 rollers, one on top and the other on the bottom. Higher-end laminators will often come with more rollers. Many medium and high-volume laminators have 4 rollers. Photograph laminators will sometimes feature 6 to 8 rollers. The more rollers present, the more evenly pressure and heat are distributed.

Variable Temperature – Different thicknesses of film require different temperatures. Having a variable temperature control allows the operator to select exactly what is needed for the film being used. Many laminators have a simple toggle switch (5m, 7m or 10m) that will cool down or heat up the laminator. Many higher end laminators use a dial for precise degree adjustments.

Thermometer – This feature is not a necessity for most users, but if an object being laminated is temperature sensitive, or if the film being used requires a specific temperature, a thermometer is ideal to have.

Reverse Button – A reverse button is especially nice to have if you are concerned about jams. When laminating a document with little clearance (left or right), a reverse switch gives the user peace of mind. I personally like to have a reverse button on my laminator.

Motor & Heat Controls – Many laminators have a single button to turn on the motor and heat. This is fine if you are laminating a few items, but if you are laminating a lot of documents you will probably want to get a laminator with a separate button for the motor and the heat. This allows you to keep the laminator warm without having the motor on 100 percent of the time. This helps save energy and prolongs the life of the laminator.

While these are all great things to keep in mind while looking for a laminator, you can learn even more by reading ABC Office’s laminator guide here. You can also find our entire selection of pouch laminators here.

What Is A Modular Binding Machine?

October 26th, 2009

Although the term modular binding machine isn’t commonly used, you may have seen it come up from time to time while researching binding equipment. These machines, often referred to as binding machine punches, have their place in the binding world and are very convenient to use. I will go into detail on exactly what a modular binding machine is and why you may need one in this article.

The most basic modular binding machine includes a base and a punch. The punching die itself is usually interchangeable. This means you can pull out the punching die and switch it for another. This allows you to punch holes for a variety of binding formats. This includes comb binding, wire binding, coil binding, VeloBinding and much more.

Swappable punching dies are not only convenient for binding in multiple formats, but also allow you to get a replacement punching die if one ever breaks or dulls. As a result, modular-binding machines can last for years, some of which have been known to last 10+ years. The punching mechanism is either manually or electrically operated.

As you may know, punching paper is only half the binding process. A comb opener, wire closer or coil inserter may be needed to finish the job. The finishing components, with regards to modular binding machines, can be attached to the punching base. This means you can comb bind books, swap the die and the attachment, and wire bind books.

Modular binding machines are ideal for people who need multiple binding formats. They are also great for people who need high-volume binding capabilities. Some of the high-end modular binding punches can punch up to 55 sheets of paper at a time. These binding punches are also ideal for high volume paper punching.

You can view our entire selection of modular binding machines here.

Spiral Binding Machines – An Overview

October 12th, 2009

Spiral binding is a very popular binding format and is growing in use year over year. Spiral binding and coil binding are just two different names for the same type of binding. Spiral binding has been around for some time, especially metal coil binding, but PVC plastic coils have since replaced the metal. This is because plastic coils are more durable and come in a variety of colors.

One reason the coil-binding format is so popular is because coil bound pages can turn a full 360 degrees. This means that pages can be turned completely around and that the books can lay flat. Spiral binding is not only popular for reports, but is also commonly used for scrapbooking, cookbooks and sheet music.

Spiral binding machines are very easy to use. Spiral binding machines come in two different hole patterns, these being 4:1 and 5:1. The first number is the amount of holes and the second, following the colon, is the measurement. This means that 4:1 equals a total of four holes per inch of paper.

The wider hole pattern (4:1) can bind a thicker book. The thinner hole patter (5:1) has a tighter look. The pitch you choose will depend entirely on the look you prefer and how many pages you need to bind. Supplies for the different hole patterns are not interchangeable. This means 4:1 supplies cannot be used with a 5:1 machine and visa-versa.

Types of spiral binding machines:

Manual Punch Coil Binders – Manual spiral binders are the least expensive type of coil binding machine. These machines require the paper to be punched manually. This is fine if you are binding up to a few dozen books a day. After the paper is punched, the coils can be manually inserted or be inserted with an electric coil inserter. Manual comb binding machines are available with and without an electric coil inserter.

Electric Punch Coil Binders – Electric spiral binders are ideal when binding 50-100+ books a day. These types of machines use an electric punch to punch the paper. Once the paper is punched, the spirals can be inserted manually or with an electric coil inserter. Electric coil inserters are faster to use. Most electric punch coil binders include an electric coil inserter.

We have huge selection of spiral binding machines. You can view our entire selection of coil binding machines here.

ID Card Printers – Mini Guide On Plastic Identification Cards

October 6th, 2009

Creating photo ID cards isn’t complicated. In fact, it only takes minutes to create a template and seconds to print a card. Modern day ID card printers create photo IDs that look better and last longer than ever before. This certainly beats the old days of printing out a card and laminating it. Learn more about photo ID in 2009 by reading this mini guide.

What are ID cards printed on? Photo ID card printers print on plastic PVC cards, typically CR-80 (credit card size). These cards are typically white, but don’t have to be. Card thicknesses are typically available in 30 mil and 10 mil. Thirty-mil cards are the thickness of a credit card. A mil is one thousandth of an inch. You can find our blank PVC cards here.

What kind of cartridges / ribbons do ID card printers use? Most ID card printers use a printing process called dye sublimation printing in which a thermal print head burns the image onto the card. This usually consists of a ribbon with several colored panels that are combined to create a full-color image. The ribbons consist of YMCK (Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Black) panels. The YMCKO ribbons contain an overlay panel, which prevents scratches and increases the life of the card. Monochrome ribbons are available for single-color printing. Some printers are only capable of monochrome printing. You can find our ribbons here.

Is software required? ID card software is necessary to create a template for printing. This could involve text, logos and photographs. There are many different types of ID software available and vary depending on the volume of cards being printed, if any type of encoding / bar code is required and if database management is needed for keeping track of and re-printing cards. Many ID card printers will now include a basic software package to get you up and going. You can find our ID card software here.

Can I encode magnetic stripes, smart cards and proximity cards? This all depends on the printer you are using and the software you are using. Many printers come with the ability to encode mag stripes, smart cards and proximity cards. This capability often has to be installed in the factory, so be sure to check prior to making a purchase.

Can all printers create double-sided printing? We sell single sided printers and double-sided printers. Single sided printers are primarily designed to only print one side of a card, where double-sided printers print both sides of a card in one pass. Double-sided printing can be done on a single-sided printer, but requires the card to be re-inserted the other way to print the other side. This is slower than a double-sided printer and there is a chance of the card being scratched as it is run through twice.

What are the major ID printer brands? The most common brands available today are Fargo, Eltron, Magicard, Evolis and Polaroid.

Regardless of the ID card route you plan to go with, you should stop by our site and view our entire selection of ID card printers, supplies and accessories here!

Top Seven Best Employee Time Clocks / Time Clock Reviews

October 2nd, 2009

Time clocks are a critical part of properly running any business. Keeping track of time worked on paper just doesn’t cut it anymore. Unfortunately not all employees are honest and cheating the system, if not properly monitored, can happen.

The honor system isn’t an option anymore and writing down hours on paper leaves too much room open for manipulation. Buddy punching can also be an issue for many businesses, where one employee punches in and out for another employee. Which time clocks are the best for cutting down on fraud and saving your business money?

While traditional punch-style time clocks are still an option, they are best used for small businesses. A more automated system is required for medium to large-size businesses. It isn’t a bad idea for small businesses to use automated systems either. Many automated and digital time clock systems can export data to payroll programs, such as Quickbooks, saving your business even more time and money.

We have compiled a list of the most secure, easy-to-use and popular time clocks being purchased by our customers today.

1. Pyramid PTI Time Trax EZ – This time clock system uses personalized encoded PVC cards to log in and out of work. Software keeps track of this time and creates reports. Data can also be exported for use with payroll software.
2. Pyramid PTI Time Trax Bio – This time clock lets the employee sign in and out of work with their finger. It is easy to set up, creates reports with included software and exports data for use with payroll software.
3. AcroPrint ATRx – The Acroprint ATRx runs on a computer, but utilizes a biometric finger scanner (plugged in a USB port) for signing in and out of work. This cuts out buddy punching and is very efficient.
4. Pyramid PTI Time Trax Pro – This time clock uses a magnetic strip PVC card to sign in and out of work. It includes easy-to-use software that makes keeping track of employee time easy. Data can be exported for use with payroll software. It can be used with up to 9,999 employees (upgraded).
5. Widmer Ceres iPC – Great for small to medium-size businesses, this system uses a key fob, which can be attached to a key ring, to punch in and out of work. This system is one of the easiest to set up and includes software for tracking employee time.
6. Acroprint Handpunch 1000 Biometric – This time clock allows employees to sign in and out of work by using their hand. This unique time clock system cuts down on fraud while keeping track of employee time worked.
7. Amano MTX-15 – This time clock allows employees to punch in and out of work with the swipe of a card. It includes software and can be used with payroll software such as ADP, Peachtree, Paychex, Powerpay, and Quickbooks. This all-in-one system is great for use with up to 100 employees.

You can see our entire selection of employee time clocks here. Check them out today!

New Fletcher Terry Substrate Cutters / FSC / Titan / Gemini Pro – Now Available!

October 1st, 2009

We have just added a new line of substrate cutters to our site from Fletcher Terry. These aren’t your standard run-of-the-mill paper cutters. These new cutters are known as substrate cutters. Many can cut a wide range of items such as corrugated plastic, foamboard, PVC, banners, vinyl, fabric and paper. Some models can even cut aluminum, acrylic, glass and more!

We have added in all a total of three new cutters from Fletcher Terry. These are the FSC Substrate Cutter, the Titan and the Gemini Pro. Each of these cutters are designed and optimized for specific tasks.

Learn more about each of these cutters below:

FSC Substrate Cutter – The FSC Substrate Cutter is a beast. It is extremely accurate and capable of cutting a wide range of materials. This includes corrugated plastic, aluminum, PVC, econolite, acrylic, foamboard, glass and more. It includes a laser sight line cutting guide for knife or wheel cutting operations, which projects a cut line on the substrate, eliminating guess work and costly errors in a post printing process. Check it out!

Titan – The Titan is designed to cut rigid materials such as corrugated plastic, foamboard and gatorboard, but can also cut flexible materials such as fabric, vinyl, banners and paper. It can cut rigid materials up to ½-inch thick. This is all thanks to a cutting head that switches from cutter to trimmer. Check it out!

Gemini Pro – The Gemini pro is a compact substrate cutter that can switch from cutter (with a blade) to trimmer (rotary blade). It can cut rigid materials up to ½-inch thick. Much like the Titan, the Gemini Pro can cut corrugated plastic, gatorboard, foamboad and flexible materials like paper, vinyl, fabric and more. The Gemini Pro can be used in conjunction with the Fletcher Terry Atlas Worktable for added stability. Check it out!

We are very excited about this new addition to our site and our new relationship with Fletcher Terry.

Akiles AlphaBind, EcoBind & FlexiPunch Binding Machines Now Online!

September 30th, 2009

Akiles makes some great binding machines and they have just released several new models. These models feature the same great quality and metal construction previous Akiles binding machines are known for. These new models total 5 new machines added to our site. The new models are as follows:

AlphaBind-CE – This is a compact “industrial quality” comb-binding machine. It features an electric punch along with selectable punching dies. Check it out!

AlphaBind-CM – This is the manual punch version of the AlphaBind-CE. It still features “industrial quality” design and capabilities, but requires the operator to pull a handle for punching. Check it out!

FlexiPunch-E – The FelxiPunch combines several machines into one. It has interchangeable dies, which means you can punch for comb, swap out the die and then punch for wire. It is very versatile. The “E” version has an electric punch. Check it out!

FlexiPunch-M – The “M” version of the FexiPunch is just like the “E,” but manually punches paper. The selectable dies, interchangeable dies and more make this a great “all purpose” binding machine. Check it out!

EcoBind-C – The EcoBind-C is the perfect comb-binding machine for the office. It looks good, it’s compact and has all the bells and whistles found in high end machines.

You can view our entire selection of Akiles binding machines here!

Destroyit Paper Shredders Reviewed

September 29th, 2009

Destroyit paper shredders are known as some of the best paper shredders available today. They are known for their durability, quality construction and hassle-free operation. Our Service Department likes the Destroyit shredders as well because they rarely have to deal with repairs on them.

Destroyit shredders are made by parent company MBM and sometimes go under the label Ideal. They are German in origin and feature the latest in shredder technology. Thermally protected motors are designed to be run for hours on end without overheating. Many of our customers, especially those in Government and business organizations, love the Destroyit line.

Here are a few models our customers like to purchase:

Destroyit 2602 SMC Shredder – This paper shredder is ideal for top secret and the shredding of highly sensitive material. It utilizes security level 6 standards, which are the highest used today. The SMC in the model stands for Super Micro Cut. The end result almost resembles dust.

Destroyit 4002 Heavy Duty – This shredder is perfect departmental shredding in an office. It is quiet and able to be used throughout the day. You can purchase this model in a strip cut or cross cut variation.

Destroyit 2501 Office Shredder – This model is great for us in a small office. It features a 10 ¼-inch mouth capable of accepting most sizes of paper. It is compact and can sit next to a desk. The motor can be used for continuous shredding.

These are just a few of our Destroyit paper shredders. You can find our entire selection of Destroyit paper shredders by going here.

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