Standard Horizon Blends Intelligence, Ergonomics and Speed in New Automated Folder

Standard Horizon AFC-746F automated folder.

Operating a folding machine—even an automated one—can be a pretty physical job. For example, removing heavy upper and lower tool shafts from a folder involves leaning, bending and lifting from uncomfortable angles, making it one of the most time-consuming, troublesome (and dangerous) changeover activities for an operator.

Horizon developed a simpler, safer and faster process with the innovative slitter-shaft removal system featured on its new AFC-746F automated folding machine. Here’s how it works: The operator releases the shaft using a quick-release lever. Then, an internal elevator lowers the shaft into a slide-out carriage, which presents the shaft on the operator side of the machine at an ergonomically comfortable and convenient height for removal. After all tools are fitted, the shaft is returned to the carriage tray, slid into the machine and automatically raised to the proper position for re-latching. It’s an ergonomically brilliant feature, and is currently exclusive to the AFC-746F.

The AFC-746F is Horizon’s entrée into larger format automated folding. “Horizon has set the pace in folder automation over the last decade and we now have a large, loyal customer base in the half-size press and digital print community,” states Mark Hunt, director of marketing for Standard Finishing Systems. “As larger presses are used for more short runs, those printers need folders that are quick and accurate to change over, so they can lower set-up labor costs and spoilage. It was a natural progression for Horizon to apply our advanced automation and folding expertise to the B1 format.”

As many of us know, most manual folders are well-suited to signature work, or other long-run applications, but are difficult and time consuming to changeover to different fold styles. But the new AFC-746F was built as an all-purpose, automated “workhorse” of a folder that can perform frequent changeovers per shift with little or no added labor cost or spoilage. You can break into a long run by saving all settings for the job in process, quickly changeover to the rush job settings, then instantly return to the previous settings and resume the long-run. This would be impossible or inefficient with a manual folder, where set-up time might take longer than job run-time itself.

Trish Witkowski is Chief Folding Fanatic at foldfactory.com, and president of Rock the Mailbox. An educator, author, speaker and award-winning designer, Trish has a specialized expertise in creative solutions for direct mail and marketing, and is the curator of the world's most exciting collection of folded print and direct mail samples. Trish is the creator of the FOLDRite folding template system, and has authored many resources, most recently Direct Mail Simplified, and Paper Folding Templates for Print Design. She also hosts a popular weekly e-video series "60-second Super-cool FOLD of the WEEK", and is an instructor at Lynda.com. Trish holds a MS in Printing and a BFA in Graphic Design from RIT.
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