The type of folding machine we’re talking about is seen in thousands of small quick printing shops and digital printing departments around the world. It has two fold plates along with either a friction or air feeder. Some of the more popular ones include Baum 714, Morgana UFO, MB CAS, Challenge Medalist, Martin Yale and many more. They handle the most common types of folds such as letter fold, accordion folds, double parallel, and single folds.
How many things can cause paper jams on your folding machine? We can probably come up with dozens of variables. Usually it’s caused by something minor and there are many parts on the folder that need to be in just the right position to keep the folder operating smoothly. Those little things become hugely important.
Tabletop folding machines are typically used for simple folding jobs yet most of them have trimming tools available. You can use these to trim a job after it’s folded or to trim flat, unfolded sheets. If you don’t do a lot of trimming on your small folder, here are a few things to look out for to avoid problems and ensure good results.
Quick copy and small commercial printers frequently ask us about the best way to avoid wrinkling, sometimes called “alligator skin,” when folding cover stocks. Copiers and digital presses can print on some fairly heavy papers. The problem arises because the types of tabletop folding machines found in these smaller operations or in-plant departments are usually designed for text papers. The smaller the fold roller diameter, the smaller the range of papers you can run. Curl also increases in severity as fold roller diameters decrease.
The folding machine operators I’ve met would never let a little cut on their fingers keep them sidelined. You’ll hear, “Ah…it’s just a flesh wound. A little duct tape will fix that.” After working with rotary cutting or perforating blades for many years you’d think an experienced folder operator would never get cut. Yet all it takes is a split second of carelessness, mishandling, or reaching into the folder too quickly to clear a paper jam and you’ve got a painful cut. Heck, we've had people at trade shows cut themselves while admiring our uniquely constructed durable blades! (Don't worry, we'll have gloves on hand at Graph Expo in Orlando, FL at Booth #2611.)
In a previous article about using crimp lock perforators we show you how to use that tool to effectively run certain difficult saddle stitching jobs with a little less hassle. Today we’re going to show you how to automatically do a letter fold with a loose insert tucked inside, as shown in the photo at right. Technically speaking, we are producing a 4-panel roll fold in two sections. Then we do some trimming to produce the desired result. You can see the full layout of the folding machine operation in photo 4 below.
One of the most useful questions we get is when someone asks us to settle a dispute about the right way to do something on a folding machine. A Bindery Success™ Blog reader recently asked us to settle a discussion in their shop about the correct way to lock a fold plate. This sounds easy to answer, but let’s take a look.
To paraphrase Confucius, the way a double gatefold plate works is really simple but our explanations make it sound complicated. Words just don’t cut it. Many processes in print finishing are easier to understand with a decent photo, video, diagram, or analogy. The action behind a double gate fold (also called a closed gatefold) running automatically on a buckle folding machine is one of those things.
The Baumfolder 714 in all its variations is without question one of the most popular folding machines of all time. That’s because it’s simple, reliable, and versatile. If you own one, I’m sure it does a lot of work for you.