Check Signers – What You Should Know

June 19th, 2013

Check SignersIf you’re manually signing a lot of checks, or any documents for that matter, you are probably in serious need of an upgrade. There are machines out there that are designed to quickly sign documents and checks clearly, professionally and quickly. These machines are what’s known as check signers (found here). These machines have been around for years and there are several different types, styles and brands to choose from. I would like to cover exactly how a check signer works and browse through a few recommended models.

Check signers work much like any paper handling machine. The document goes in one end and comes out the other. While that may seem simple, most check signers have a feed tray where documents can be placed, a motor pulls them through, a signature plate stamps the signature and it comes out the other end completed. The process takes hardly any time and an entire stack of checks can be signed in seconds.

There are three different types of check signers. These are manual, continuous forms and cut sheet. This is how they all work:

  • Widmer Check SignerManual Check Signers – This is essentially an electric stamping machine with a signature plate. You take your check, or document, insert it into the machine and activate a switch to engage the stamp head. This system is one of the most affordable and is ideal for low to medium-volume stamping. The Widmer S-3 (found here) is an example of a manual check signer.
  • Continuous Forms Check SignersContinuous Forms Check Signers – These check signers are designed to work with continuous forms paper. This is the paper that has the perforated edges with holes and each sheet is connected to the next with a perforation and often sit in an accordion-like fashion in a stack. Continuous forms check signers are often integrated with a burster to help tear or “burst” apart the forms. These are one of the most common types of check signers used today. The Duplo V-130 (found here) is an excellent example of a continuous form check signer.
  • Cut Sheet Check SignersCut Sheet Check Signers – These check signers are designed to be used with standard 8 ½” x 11″ or single sheet documents. These machines have a feed tray where the checks can be placed and a friction wheel pulls in each document one by one and signs it. These are increasingly more popular because they will work with checks printed on a standard office laser printer. The Formax FD 150 (found here) is a good example of a cut sheet design.

Most check signers are built to be secure, only providing authorized access to a person who is allowed to use it. This may be via a key or by typing in a code on a keypad. You don’t want unauthorized people signing checks or important documents.

All of these check signers use some sort of signature plate. The shape of the plate depends on the machine using it. Some machines only support a single signature, but many can support two, three or more. In order to get a signature plate made, a form must be filled out and the originators of the signature must sign their name in a box several times in order for the factory to make the signature properly. It usually takes a few weeks for the signature to be made.

If you have questions about check signers and which models you should use, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out. You can find our entire selection of check signers here.

Intelli-Fold DE-112AF Paper Folder Review

June 18th, 2013

Intelli-Fold DE-112AF Paper Folding MachineIf you are considering buying a Dynafold paper folding machine, or any machine for that matter, you should seriously consider the Intelli-Fold DE-112AF (found here). This paper-folding machine has been around for several years now and has proven that it has what it takes to keep up with the competition, and in many situations, surpass it. I have years of hands-on experience with this machine and I would like to share some of my thoughts and feelings on this machine with you.

To start off with, this machine is comparable to a Dynafold DE-102AF on steroids. It has several built-in improvements that make it a huge value over the DE-102AF and other similar machines. I will go into more details over the specifications, but I would like to say that this machine is currently one of our best sellers. One reason I like selling this particular machine is that when it leaves our building, our customers don’t have any trouble with it. It is very straightforward to set up and doesn’t have the finicky problems you find with other paper folding machines.

Who would be best off using this machine? The DE-112AF is the perfect letter-size paper folding machine. It can quickly fold invoices, letters and other literature up to 8 ½” x 14″ in size or as small as 3.5″ x 5″. With that paper size range, it is very versatile. It can handle paper ranging in thickness from 16# bond up to 50# index. These specifications allow the DE-112AF to keep up with most office paper folding operations.

While this machine does have manually adjusted folding plates, it is actually really easy to set up. A quick setup guide is printed on the folding plate, letting you know exactly where each of the two folding plates need to be set up. Simply loosen the thumb screws on the folding plate and slide it towards or away from the machine. Both plates must be adjusted. One thing I really like about this machine is that both of the folding plates are found on the same side of the machine. I have always found that his makes setup easier and seems to make better use of often-limited desktop space.

The DE-112AF will create most common folds you need. This includes folds such as the letter fold (also known as the C fold), the accordion fold (also known as the Z fold), the half fold, double parallel fold, gate fold and more. Because the folding plates are manually adjusted, custom folds are very easy to do as well.

Once the folding plates are set, the paper can be set in the tray. The feed tray on this machine holds up to 500 sheets of paper at a time. The machine will fold all of the paper in the  tray until it is empty, after which the machine will automatically stop. The DE-112AF uses three friction rollers to pull in paper, unlike many machines that have just one. The three friction rollers ensure even and aligned paper feeding. This results in an excellent skew and perfectly aligned folds.

There several things this machine has that you simply won’t find in the DE-102AF. To begin with, this machine has sensors that won’t allow this machine to run without the folding plates being properly inserted. The DE-102AF doesn’t have this, which can result in some significant paper jams. The DE-112AF also has paper stacking wheels and a powered exit conveyors. The stacking wheel slows paper down after it is folded and keeps paper neatly aligned as it leaves the machine. This is ideal if you need to keep your folded literature organized as it leaves the machine. The DE-102AF only has a catch tray, which can potentially lead to some jumbled paper.

Here is a video of the DE-112AF paper folding machine in action:

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I have used this machine a lot. I can safely say that it is one of the finest machines we offer in this price range. The internals are well put together, servicing is readily available and it is just a great overall machine. You can find the DE-112AF paper folding machine here and our entire selection of paper folding machines here.

Please feel free to contact us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions .We would love to help you out. We can even test samples prior to purchase if you would like to see how your material would look folded on a DE-112AF. Do you already own one? Post your experiences here as a comment. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

To Stack or Not to Stack – Paper Folding Machine Options

June 17th, 2013

Intelli-Fold DE-112AF Paper Folding Machine w/ Metal Stacking Wheels and ConveyorIf you are a business and plan on folding hundreds to thousands of sheets of paper today, you may want to consider using a paper folding machine equipped with an exit conveyor and stacking wheel. There are many reasons why you might want to consider using one. At ABC Office we offer a great selection of paper folding machines (found here) equipped with this technology. I would like to explain exactly what it does.

Paper folding machines have been around for decades. What do these engineering marvels do? They take a stack of paper and quickly fold it into various patterns. The most common fold used today is the letter fold, also known as the C fold. Other common folds include the single fold (aka V fold), accordion fold (aka Z fold) and the double parallel fold. Paper folding machines fold paper into these various patterns at a speed of hundreds to often thousands of sheets of paper per hour.

One of the biggest complaints associated with paper folding machines is the disorganization often involved. Because paper is pulled into them machine at a fast rate of speed, it also leaves the machine at a high rate of speed. Many machines simply have a catch tray where the folded paper is essentially tossed. I have seen machines that do a good job with catching paper, and others that leave the folded documents in complete disarray. This can especially be a problem if you need to keep the paper in order.

If you need organization to your paper folding, what you need is a stacking wheel and conveyor. This combination of stacking wheel and conveyor helps to slow down paper as it leaves the machine, acting kind of like a brake. As the paper is slowed down by the stacking wheel, sheets of paper are nicely fed under each other as a powered conveyor carries the folded documents the rest of the way out of the machine. The order of the documents is typically reversed for a top feed machine and the same for a bottom-feed machine.

Here is a picture of what a stacking wheel / conveyor combination look like:

Paper Folding Machine w/ Stacking Wheel and Conveyor

Stacking wheels usually come in pairs and rest on a metal or plastic support. These wheels are adjusted to accommodate the side of the paper. Manual paper folding machines have these wheels manually adjusted where fully automated machines will sometimes adjust these wheels for you.

The powered exit conveyor usually consists of two or three bands that run in sync with the motor. The speed of the conveyor is usually automatically synced with the motor to keep the folded documents properly spaced. Once the documents have been carried along the conveyor, they usually come to rest at a catch where they can be easily removed from the machine.

Some paper folding machines, like those made by Formax, feature telescoping conveyors, designed to hold several hundred sheets of paper. This helps increase throughput and decreases the amount of times the machine needs to be stopped.
I personally like stacking wheels and a powered conveyor on my paper folding machine. It really makes the machine feel 100% complete.

Here are a couple of very affordable models under $1,000 we offer that include stacking wheels and a conveyor:

We offer a huge selection of other paper folding machines found here. Many of these machines include stacking wheels and conveyors. If you still have questions, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788.

Using a Bill Counter as a Check Counting Machine

June 14th, 2013

Bill Counters as Check CountersI recently had a customer call up and ask me what we recommended he use for counting checks. He apparently ran a business and was in a situation where he needed to count the total number of checks at the end of the day. He didn’t need anything too robust and was only dealing with a few hundred checks a day. Luckily the solution to his problem was actually pretty simple. I recommended he use a bill counter (found here). Here’s why.

Bill counters are far simpler than the name implies. These devices are designed to quickly count up the total number of bills. They don’t provide a total denominational value, making these perfect for counting non-currency items as well. In fact, we have many customers that use a standard bill counter to count paper, checks, coupons and other paper-based materials. There are a few things to keep in mind, however, before simply going out and buying a machine.

In this customer’s situation, he didn’t need counterfeit detection or any special whistles and bells with a device. He simply needed the total number. This ended up saving him money because I was able to set him up with a basic but high quality system. He ended up going with the ABC1150 bill counter (found here).

So are these machines accurate? You bet. They are 100 percent accurate and most have safeguards in place in case multiple pieces are pulled through or if a jam occurs. I have personally tested many of our bill counters by running the same stack through multiple times. I have never had a bill counter register a different amount during a repeated counting. These are accurate and you won’t have a problem with a misread.

There are a few things you need to keep your eye open for when dealing with bill counters counting non-money items. The first thing you need to be aware of is that these bill counters have a maximum and minimum bill size. Be sure your check, paper or whatever items you are counting fall within those minimum and maximum dimensions. In the case of the ABC1150, it can handle bills as small as 2″ x 4″ or as large as 4″ x 7 1/3″.

Also be aware that our bill counters use friction to pull the paper in and count it. That means if the paper you need to count is glossy or slick, there may be a problem. This is because the friction rollers may slip on the glossy surface, resulting in a jam. This is the case with most office machinery that uses friction-based rubber rollers.

So is there a particular brand you should stick with if you are counting checks? I have always had excellent luck with Semacon, Cassida, Carnation and the ABC line of bill counters.

We have a lot of these bill counters out on our showroom floor. If you’re not sure if a bill counter will work for your check, paper, coupon or other counting project, feel free to send in some samples and we can have them tested to ensure proper operation prior to a purchase. We also have an experienced team that is very knowledgeable with our bill counters. Feel free to call and talk with them by calling 1-800-658-8788.

Continuous Band Sealers – Everything You Need to Know

June 14th, 2013

Continuous Band SealersIf you are sealing bags on a daily basis and your volume is going up into the hundreds or even thousands per day, you may want to upgrade from your hand sealer and consider using a continuous band sealer (found here). These machines are designed to quickly seal a variety of thermoplastic bags shut at a high rate of speed. Many can seal anywhere from 20-30 bags per minute. These machines are used for packaging such products as liquids, powders, food, medical devices, parts and much more. This article will cover the different types of continuous band sealers available.

Continuous band sealers could almost be called automated bag sealers, because that is what they do. They take a bag and seal it with very little manual involvement. The operator of the machine takes the bag and inserts it into the machine where it then takes it and seals the bag shut. The bag is carried along a rubber conveyor until the process is done. Many of these sealers will seal up to 40 feet of bag per minute, which is extremely fast.

So what do these machines do? They seal the top of an open plastic bag shut for storage, packaging and retail purposes. This is done by using direct heat to melt the bag shut in a straight linear pattern. The width of the seal varies, depending on the machine. Most of the band sealers we offer produce an 8mm thick seal, however, some go as high as 15mm thick. The thicker the seal, the stronger the hold. You have probably seen examples of packaging sealed with a band sealer in the grocery store. Pretty much any bagged product you use has been sealed this way.

Most of the bags used with these machines are made using thermoplastic material that reacts with heat. This includes PP, PE, Laminates, stand up pouches, gusseted bags, moisture barrier bags and more. Continuous band sealers are available in several configurations, depending on the size of the bag you need to seal, the weight of the material being packaged, what you are packaging and much more. Here are a few things you may want to know when shopping around for a machine:

Horizontal or Vertical – Band sealers typically come in a horizontal or vertical configuration. This means they can seal a bag laying down or standing up. The design you get depends a lot on what you are sealing. Most people go with a horizontal design unless they are packaging something that could spill. If the bag contains powders, liquids, small pieces and other spillable items, you will want a vertical sealer.

Here is an example of a horizontal band sealer in action:

Here is an example of a vertical band sealer in action:

Tilting Head – Some of the vertical band sealers we offer have a tilting head to help assist with packaging liquids. Some of these sealers have a head that will tilt up to 30 degrees to assist with the sealing process.

Conveyor – Many band sealers offer the option of adjusting the height and depth of the conveyor. This is designed to accommodate the bag size. If the adjustments aren’t correct, it can make bag sealing more complicated.

Printing – Several band sealers offer the option of printing text and numbers along the seal. This may include the date, serial numbers and much more. There are several different methods of printing, depending on the machine. Here are the four most common:

  • Dry Ink Coding: This method prints black text or numbers along the band.
  • Color Ribbon Printing: Color ribbon printing provides a stronger adhesion print than dry ink coding and works best for humid environments.
  • Embossing Attachment: This method allows text to be embossed with heat along the band. This method does not use any ink.
  • Hot Ink Coding: Uses a hot ink method to print text and numbers along the sealing band.

This is a video of dry ink coding in action:

 

Most of the continuous band sealers we offer are made using stainless steel for food packaging purposes. Designs range from tabletop to floor models that include a stand and casters. Typically the larger the machine, the more throughput it allows.

Most of these sealers allow the operator to adjust the temperature, speed, fan control and much more. The control panels on these machines keep the settings all in a single location and the bulk majority of them are incredibly easy to set up and don’t require any special training to use.

You can find our entire selection of continuous band sealers here. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. We would love to help you out.

Solingen Steel vs. High Speed Steel Cutting Blades

June 13th, 2013

Triumph Stack Paper CutterWe recently had a customer ask us a very good question about some of the cutting blades available for our Triumph stack paper cutters (found here). Many of our Triumph stack cutters are available with either a standard replacement blade or a premium replacement blade. The customer wanted to know the difference. It ends up the standard blade is made from Solingen steel and the premium blade is made from high-speed steel. So what is the difference between these two types of steel and why would you want one over another?

  • Solingen Steel – Solingen steel is a term attributed to steel made in Solingen Germany. It is generally considered to be high quality steel and has an excellent reputation behind it. The blend used to make this steel can vary. There isn’t any specific set of specifications that define a certain type of steel as Solingen. Again, it simply means it is from Solingen Germany. That said, Solingen steel is considered to be some of the best in the world. In the case of Triumph paper cutters, it is a hardened steel that does a very  good job of cutting paper.
  • High-Speed Steel – This is considered to be some of the highest quality steel out there and is sometimes simply referred to as HSS or HS steel. This is the kind of steel you find in tool components such as drill bits and saw blades. It is superior to high-carbon steel. It is capable of withstanding high temperatures that cause other types of steel to lose its temper (aka hardness). HSS typically has a hardness rated above HRC60. Tungsten and vanadium are alloys often used in the production of high-speed steel.

So in a situation where you have the option between a standard blade (Solingen), or a premium blade (HSS), there are a few factors to consider. First off, the premium blades are about 30-40% more money. That said, the premium blades will last longer and hold their edges longer than the standard blades. It seems pretty straight forward, but we wanted a little more information, so we ended up contacting MBM to see what they had to say about the matter. This is what they said:

“A high speed blade has an inlay that makes the blade stiffer than the Solingen steel blade. It is mostly used on hydraulic cutters due to the pressure from the hydraulics.”

Most of our customers, when it comes to standard manual and electric cutters, opt for the standard Solingen steel blade. These blades are steel extremely tough, last a long time and can be re-sharpened 2-3 times. The cutters ship with the standard blade by default. My recommendation would be to use the standard blade unless you are cutting paper on a commercial level or you notice your standard blades wearing out faster than you would like.

If you still have questions about the standard Solingen blades or the HSS premium blades, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help. Also keep in mind that we are able to provide replacement blades, cutting sticks and other parts for all Triumph, Dahle, Tamerica, Standard, Intelli-Cut and Duplo stack cutters. You can find our entire selection of stack paper cutters here. Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Do Biometric Time Clocks Really Work?

June 11th, 2013

Biometric Time ClocksWhen it comes to time clocks, the industry has really moved over the last decade from a traditional punch card to a variety of digital options. Some of the most popular digital time clocks include those with biometric finger scanners, proximity card readers and PIN keypads. The technology you use really depends on the business and preferences. The fastest growing segment is definitely biometrics (found here). One question I get a lot from customers is, “Do biometric time clocks really work?” I would like to answer this question.

Biometric time clocks come in a variety of designs. Initially Acroprint came out with some models that used your hand to log in and out of work. It used the size of your hand, not necessarily the print, to log you in and out of work. An example of this is the Acroprint Handpunch 1000 (found here). I’ve never really heard any complaints about that time clock, but the technology has moved towards more simplicity.

I would say about 90% of the biometric time clocks out there are finger readers, much like those produced by David-Link (found here), who is currently our most popular biometric time clock manufacturer. These time clocks use just one finger to log an employee in and out of work. Because our fingerprint is completely unique to an individual, this method is extremely popular. You can’t buddy punch (punch in on behalf of another person) with a biometric finger reader and fraud is dramatically cut down.

uAttend MN2000 Facial Recognition Time ClockThe latest development in biometric time clocks is facial recognition technology. As of this article we currently only offer one model with facial recognition technology. This is the uAttend MN2000 (found here). All you have to do with this clock is hold your face in front of the MN2000’s cameras and it will punch you in and out. I see this technology growing a lot over the next few years and it will probably overcome even fingerprint reader timeclocks. It is pretty impressive and the technology will only get better over the coming years.

At ABC Office we use a fingerprint reader, specifically the now discontinued PTI Time Trax Bio. This time clock has actually worked really well for us over the years. The downside is that it uses a swipe technology that requires you to slide your finger over a reader. While this usually works, it does sometimes require you to slide your finger a couple of times before it finally reads the finger. This is one of the biggest annoyances of fingerprint readers and biometric time clock readers in general.

Since the first “swipe” technology biometric readers came out, the technology has really grown and matured. Modern fingerprint readers now require that you simply touch the reader rather than swipe your finger. This has significantly improved the accuracy and misreads are now extremely uncommon. The older swipe style biometric readers were also affected by humidity and other environmental factors. These issues are also now fixed with the touch technology.

David-Link W-988PB Biometric Time ClockAs mentioned earlier, our David-Link models (found here) are our most popular biometric time clocks. These time clocks are just as affordable as our punch, proximity and PIN style time clocks. The David-Link time clocks include software that can be installed on a Windows OS computer where reports and data can be viewed. They also include a USB drive that can be used to take data off of the time clock where it can then be transferred to a computer. They also include the ability to be plugged into a computer network via an Ethernet cable directly to a computer via a USB cable. Data gathered from these time clocks can be exported into an Excel spreadsheet format that can then be imported into payroll software programs such as Quickbooks.

In conclusion, I would have to say that biometric time clocks in fact do work, and work quite well. If you don’t mind dealing with technology, I would recommend you consider using a biometric time clock hands down over anything else out there.

We have years of experience with time clocks, so please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. We would love to help you out.

Formax FD 8500CC Office Paper Shredder Review

June 6th, 2013

Formax FD 8500CC Cross Cut Paper ShredderPaper is abundant in the office. Regardless of the size of the office, all dispose of various documents on a daily basis. One of the best ways to destroy a document is by shredding it with something like the Formax FD 8500CC cross cut paper shredder (found here). This shredder is a workhorse and is designed for use in the office by multiple people throughout the day. So is this the shredder for your office? Read on and find out more.

Formax currently makes about 18 different models of shredders, which many of those featuring a strip and cross cut variation. These shredders range in size and capability depending on how many people need to use it per day, the security level desired and the material being shredded. As far as quality goes, Formax shredders are right up there with the German brands such as Destroyit, HSM and Intimus.

The Formax FD 8500 is a mid-level shredder. That means it is ideal for use in a small or medium size business. It can even be used in a larger business on a departmental level. This isn’t some deskside paper shredder. It is large and it means business, keeping up with most shredding needs. Here are just a few reasons why you may want to consider using it in your office:

  • Security Level – The FD 8500CC has a Level 3 cross cut pattern. This is considered to be the most ideal pattern for standard use in an office. The particle size measures in at 5/32” x 1-1/5”. This ends up being over 600 particles of paper per single 8 ½” x 11″ sheet of paper. This pretty much renders material unreadable.
  • Sheet Capacity – This shredder can handle about 16-18 sheets of paper at a time, which is an excellent amount for standard office use. A load indicator on the control panel will let you know if the motor is being over exerted, which means you don’t have to count out sheets prior to shredding the paper. If for any reason too much paper is fed in, the shredder will stop and reverse the stack back out.
  • Throat Size – The throat size is the maximum width of paper the shredder can handle. This can also be one of the most annoying bottlenecks on a shredder. In the case of the FD 8500CC, it has a 16″ wide opening. Luckily this is more than enough room to handle most shredder jobs. With a 16″ throat, this shredder can handle even large sheets of paper without a problem.
  • Motor Capabilities – Have you ever used a shredder that required to you wait for it to cool down after 20 or 30 minutes of use? This is not a problem you’ll have to deal with. The FD 8500CC has an AC geared thermally protected motor designed for continuous use and operation. This shredder is not a toy; it means business.
  • Control Panel – The control panel on this shredder is very informative, yet takes up little space. It has indicator lights that let you know when the shredder is in auto or manual mode, running in reverse, stopped, full or if the bin door is open. Below the lights is a start, stop and reverse button. To the right is a load indicator that lets you know how much stress the motor is under.
  • Bin Size – The bin size is another weak point on a lot of shredders. Many shredders have excellent features, but a bin so small that it has to be emptied every hour. The FD 8500CC has been built with a 26-gallon bin, which holds a lot of cross cut particles of paper. This means fewer bag changes on your part. This shredder will let you know when the bin needs to be changed.
  • Build – This shredder is built using an all-metal cabinet that is set on casters for mobility. It is build using high-end electronics and the motor is mated with heavy-duty steel gears. This has al been put together in a way that the shredder produces minimal noise, again making it an excellent choice for the office.

Do you still have questions about this shredder? Feel free to speak with one of our Paper Shredder Experts by calling 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out. We also have a full-time Service Department that can help repair, service or provide parts for your shredder.

You can find our entire selection of Formax paper shredders here and all of our paper shredders here.

Can Any Laminator Be Used with Photos?

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

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!

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