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Floor-Model Folders -- Getting into the Fold

October 2004
by chris bauer

Managing Editor

Once overlooked in a printing world that focused heavily on digital technology, bindery equipment, including floor-model folding machines, can now be part of the conversation. Modern machines offer all of the automation that today's users desire.

According to Josef Niehueser, product manager for Stahlfolder (distributed by Heidelberg), automation and integration are the features that folding machine users want to incorporate. The bindery is the only production department left that still involves a degree of manual labor, he points out, and printers want to take as much labor out of the finishing process as possible.

"Integration is the next step and reaches from prepress right into postpress," Niehueser asserts. "Software applications such as Prinance and Signa Station, in conjunction with Compucut, Compufold and Compustitch, utilize a set of data that only needs to be created once and then utilized numerous times to set up folders, stitchers or cutters.

Heidelberg showed the next generation of postpress technology in the new line of Stahlfolders at Graph Expo & Converting Expo this month. The Stahlfolder TH 66 is a buckle plate folder suited to small- and mid-size print shops and finishing specialists. This folder offers shorter makeready times and high levels of automation.

"To be competitive in today's market, a folder must be able to perform specialty services that add value to the end product and increase profits for the customer," advises Mark Pellman, marketing manager, Baumfolder Corp.

Pellman notes that special applications include many creative gluing applications both on the infeed of the folder and on the fold plates. Added benefits can also be achieved using faster gatefold attachments and microperf accessories, he says. The addition of ink-jet units to the folder add value and personalization to the folded product process.

To further simplify the setup process through automation, Baumfolder has introduced the BAUM Flexifold and the new Flexifeed modules that cover several market segments. The addition of the Flexifeed to the Flexifold provides automation with a deep pile feeder at an affordable price, Pellman says. The manufacturer has also released the new BAUM 26 and BAUM 30 floor-model folders to meet the needs of the larger sheet size market segment.

Got to Pay to Play

Although the trend is towards automation, technology advances come at a price. Jeff Brewer, vice president of GBR Systems, has experienced that some customers still do not want to pay for automation in the folding area. 
 

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