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Mix & Match

Jan 1, 2010 12:00 AM

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Do your folder operators ever have to refold collated/stitched sets? Or perhaps refold a newsletter for tabbing or mailing? Time and production constraints typically are the culprits. Some creative operators are mixing and matching equipment to overcome these and related challenges.

Much faster than hand folding

Herbert Johnson of Davis Printing (Barberton, OH) was producing 8.5 × 11-inch collated sets with two to eight sheets per set and an upper left-hand corner stitch. Johnson's laser printer couldn't handle folding with the nameplate out. Friction feeding was a difficult proposition, especially with variable-data sets.

How did Johnson avoid hand folding this job? He ran a Streamfeeder ST1250 inline with the right angle of the folder. The feeder, designed to run a wide range of stocks, books and other heavy materials, provided much better feeding than an old friction-fed folder, enabling the job to run at higher continuous speeds and without sacrificing the sequence on variable-data jobs.

Paul Vadeboncoeur of the Spotsylvania Career & Technical Center (Spotsylvania, VA) hit upon a similar strategy for folding an 8.5 × 11-inch, 8-page newsletter (no stitching) to 5.5 × 8.5 inches for tabbing and mailing. Ideally, the job would be printed on the center's 29-inch press and then folded and trimmed to the final size on a folder equipped with a 16-page section. When the press or folder isn't available, the job is printed on two 11 × 17-inch sheets. The two sheets are collated and folded to 8.5 × 11 inches in one operation, leaving the last fold for a separate (and difficult) operation.

Vadeboncoeur tried using the folder's automatic feed on the prefolded newsletter, but register problems ensued. Also, folding without the score resulted in lots of dog ears.

Next, the operator tried hand feeding the job into the right angle where it was scored and forwarded to the 16-page section. This resolved the dog-ear problems, but registration issues remained.

Then, similar to Johnson's approach, Vadeboncoeur fed the folded newsletters into the right angle using the tabber's friction feeder. Feeding is consistent and continuous — it can be angled as needed for smooth register.

Rock the power box

If your right angle lacks a self-control power box, you'll have to leave it plugged into the main folder — no big deal if you are not using the folder. But if you want to run it independently of the folder, a self-power box is a great feature. Check with your folding machine manufacturer or mechanic to see what's available for your unit.

Technifold's Speedcreaser (formerly the TCM tabletop creasing machine) Auto Feed version has a two-stage friction feeder. It can be run inline with any right angle section. When it's not creasing, perfing or cutting, it can be used as a feeder, running it straight inline or perpendicular to the right angle section.

Andre Palko is president of Technifold USA (Lafayette, NJ). E-mail him at