Folders — The Possibilities Are Endless
Folding machines are advancing by leaps and bounds, as many companies will prove this month at DRUPA 2000, in Dusseldorf, Germany.
BY CHERYL A. ADAMS
"A new breed of folder . . . " dreams the printer who dozes off on his flight to DRUPA. "Smaller . . . Cheaper . . . Faster . . . Easy to set up . . . Easy to operate . . . Rugged enough to handle whatever jobs I throw at it . . ."
In his dream, the printer is en route across the DRUPA fairgrounds complex, pushing past crowds, catching quick glimpses of other (lots of other!) postpress equipment. His feet hurt. He'll visit those booths later. Right now, he's rushing to see the new MBO Model T 800/4 Perfection buckle folder demonstrated with the new BA 900 banding and bundling system.
The printer in the seat beside him is dozing off, as well. His dreams are full of on-demand possibilities with Stahlfolder's new TD 52, which can handle the higher volumes of digital printing, while still being used for "binding on-demand."
And the printer behind him is dreaming of still another new system. The fully automated Multimaster CAS folder: a cutting-edge technology that features such advancements as automated fold plate setup and automatic fold roller gap and alignment rail settings—which is making its DRUPA 2000 debut.
To fuel these dreams, Printing Impressions has gathered information on some of the folding technologies to be showcased at DRUPA, as well as a few other noteworthy members of this hardware category.
Folders for Targeted Mail
Recent changes in the communications and printing industries have given rise to a new breed of folder, contends Ben Polk, marketing director at Profold. In order to accommodate their clients, commercial printers—as well as direct mailers, ad agencies, etc.—are moving to targeted mailings, which require shorter print runs to specialized audiences.
"The traditional folder employed by binderies and printers was big, complicated to set up between jobs and expensive," Polk explains. "For many of the smaller, targeted print runs, these folders were inefficient and slowed down production."
Which is why Profold developed the Model 4040, he says, to serve the short-run, targeted mailing market niche. With its patented "No-Set-Gap-Set," he notes, just about anyone can set up the machine and fold jobs—without extensive training or knowledge of the "art" of folding.
"Our patented Fast Track grooved fold rollers, made from Prothane, provide long life and are almost maintenance-free. The grooved roller material has no affinity for ink or toner and allows air to escape under the paper, providing the tightest fold possible," Polk says. "The Model 4040 is rated at 40,000 sph and has a three-shift duty cycle. It is fast, efficient, and easy to set up and operate. Just what binderies and printers need."
"The future of folding, and [that of] the entire bindery, lies in the on-demand printing market," proclaims Rudi Gunther, director of marketing for Stahlfolder. "The printing industry is changing, and it's up to postpress to meet the new challenges.
"The bindery equipment currently used in the on-demand market was originally designed to operate in office environments," Gunther says. "Today, the demands on that equipment are much greater, so the variable data printers are beginning to find a need for industrial-quality equipment that still has the necessary electronic sensors and tracking abilities."
Those customers, he continues, are now demanding reliable finishing solutions for digital printing that can handle higher volumes, while still being used for "binding on-demand."
Stahlfolder's answer to this is its new TD 52, "a reliable and durable, technology-based piece of equipment," states Gunther, noting that the folder will help the bindery build a tunnel between the traditional, high volume, ink-on-paper printing model and the new, variable data processes.
Also new from Stahlfolder is the Ti 40 Proline, a small-format folder with a pile feeder that can be used in combination with a Ti 36 second station, miniature folding unit. The new Gatefold buckle plate takes the guesswork out of setting up a gatefold because it is set automatically by the folding catalog. The pneumatically controlled plate achieves up to 20,000 cph.
GBR Systems, a U.S. subsidiary of Mathias Bäuerle GmbH, is another folder manufacturer answering the demand for on-demand finishing. It's offering the new, computer-controlled Multimaster CAS folder, with features such as automated fold plate setup and automatic fold roller gap and alignment rail settings. These are said to make it ideal for on-demand finishing.
"There's an increased need for automation in folding technology because of the demand for short-run and quick turnaround jobs," says Jeff Brewer, vice president and general manager of GBR Systems. "We see an industry trend for folding systems to run in-line with digital printers and, typically, this requires the need to change the setup of jobs frequently. Our CAS folders fit right in with this need and have demonstrated that their [advanced] automation of setup and makeready enhances efficiency and increases productivity."
According to Brewer, the Multimaster CAS folder with automatic fold plate setup reduces makeready time by more than 50 percent. The CAS folder stores in memory 60 simple-to-complex folds; seven standard folds are preprogrammed. The fold is set up once and stored in memory with a fold changeover time of less than one minute.
Brewer says the modular design of the CAS folder allows it to be configured to handle a wide variety of standard and specialty applications, such as dynamic cross perforation, gluing, scoring, cross folding, accumulating and continuous forms handling.
Lower Mailing Rates
Baumfolder has recently introduced several new products and enhancements to its folder line, including the Baumfolder BF15 Bookletfolder, which was created to reduce the size of mailing pieces through folding and achieve lower postal mailing rates.
Mark Pellman, a sales engineer with the firm, says the folder can be adapted for use with various manufacturers' finishing equipment lines. It operates in-line and accepts stitched booklets for quarter-folding. Furthermore, to complete the adaptation to other manufacturers' equipment, Pellman says Baumfolder developed the new BT22 transfer table to handle height differences between the BF15 folder and the finishing equipment, when needed.
"This folder has an exclusive gear-plate design with specially gapped fold plates to handle the bulk of booklet folding and maintain positive drive," says Pellman.
The floor-model folder also offers various options designed to increase versatility, including the system's new, ergonomic pile height sensor; exit count sensor; exit batch kicker (that automatically kicks a sheet, marking that a batch is completed); and large display screen (for easy viewing from several feet away).
Highlighting Count Machinery's exhibit at DRUPA will be the Swiss-made Count Fold product line, which has been designed around a 14˝ and 18˝ mid-sized folder body. Completely modular in design, the Count Fold features a two-plate or four-plate configuration and has a trim-line body style designed to fit into small areas in the bindery.
Lydia Nastich, marketing and advertising director, says the Count Fold can function as a simple, standalone folder or be extended to create a complete folding line, capable of accommodating many requirements.
"An optional air-fed Z-feed pile feeder helps users breeze through long-run jobs, saving time and money," reports Nastich, who emphasizes that the Count Fold line is constantly being researched and updated, with customer-requested (and required!) improvements incorporated into the design.
In Action at PrintCity
MBO will be introducing several new folding machines, as well as participating in two CIP3 programs, which will feature live workflow presentations (from start to finish), at DRUPA's PrintCity.
An innovative (if not revolutionary!) new concept in trade show exhibitions, PrintCity will combine the efforts and equipment of more than 60 companies—all under one roof. This unique systems approach (rather than individual product demonstrations) will allow visitors to view specific machinery in action—along with all other systems in the workflow—from prepress to finishing.
New MBO products making their debut include:
Model T 700/46 Perfection buckle folder, which features a palletized feeder, noise dampening and safety device, Vivas vacuum sheet infeed and alignment system, combination buckle plates, microprocessor controls and Rapidset computerized makeready. The unit will operate in conjunction with an FA 46 ME pile delivery system with marking device.
Model T 800/4 Perfection buckle folder, featuring Dualfeed continuous feeder, Vivas vacuum sheet infeed and alignment system, combination plates, microprocessor controls and Rapidset computerized makeready. The unit will be demonstrated along with the new BA 900 banding and bundling delivery system.
Model T 530/6 "X" buckle folder, which features a continuous feeder, noise dampening and safety device, combination buckle plates, microprocessor controls, Rapidset computerized makeready, the new Mobile X knife folding unit and HHS gluing device.
Combi-folder K 530/6 Super-KTL, a pile-feed unit with features that include a Vacuspeed feeder head, noise dampening and safety device, combination buckle plates in a Super KTL configuration (i.e., slitter shafts after the buckle plates in the parallel section and the first knife), microprocessor controls and the Rapidset computerized makeready system. The unit will be shown with the P 46 pressing station and A 540 stream delivery.
Combi-folder K 800/Super KTLT, a palletized feeder with Vaculift feeder head, noise dampening and safety device, Vivas vacuum infeed and sheet alignment system, combination buckle plates in Super KTLT configuration (i.e., slitter shafts after the buckle plates in the parallel section and the first and second knife), microprocessor controls and Rapidset computerized makeready system. The unit will be shown with the ASP 66-2 ME pressing delivery and marking device.
Although not a folder, the following system is a noteworthy complement. "The Longford BR900 Bander—the world's first in-line banding system—meets the unique challenge of feeding, counting, verifying and banding all paper products—all in one package," says Oliver Matas, Longford's director of marketing.
"As it is no longer a two-step process, the BR900's continuous in-line production process results in significant cost and manpower savings, compared to the standard methods," he says. "Also, up to a 30-percent cost savings in transit packaging can be realized when using Longford's shrink film banding system over typical paper banding."
Features of the Longford BR900 Bander include one-person operation, production of up to 30 banded sets per minute, microprocessor controls and quick changeover from maximum to minimum sizes.
Thahwuuump!! The landing in Frankfort, Germany, awakens the printer passengers from their DRUPA dreams. Filled with anticipation, the sleepy-eyed businessmen exit the plane and look forward to seeing their visions of the latest in folding technology turned into reality. At the massive fairgrounds in Dusseldorf, DRUPA 2000 awaits.
Profold Model 4040
With its patented "No-Set-Gap-Set," the Profold Model 4040 offers easy setup and operation—without extensive training in folding operations. The patented Fast Track grooved fold rollers allow air to escape under the paper, providing the tightest of folds.
Stahlfolder Ti 40 Small-format Folder
The Ti 40 Proline is a small-format folder with a pile feeder that can be used in combination with a Ti 36 second station, miniature folding unit. The folding catalog automatically sets the pneumatically controlled gatefold buckle plate.
GBR Systems' Multimaster CAS Folder
When a fold job is recalled from memory, all of the settings (which include fold lengths, speed and sheet gap, shingling of sheets, suction length, batch counter, double sheet detection, paper travel control, alignment rails, roller gap and delivery rollers) will automatically move to their correct positions. There are no manual setup adjustments necessary. From parallel, to cross fold, pharmaceutical and other intricate fold types, all can be recalled instantly by push button with absolute precision.
Baumfolder BF15 Bookletfolder
The Baumfolder BF15 Bookletfolder, which was created for folding applications to reduce the size of mailing pieces for lower postal mailing rates, can be adapted for use with various manufacturers' finishing equipment lines. It operates in-line and accepts stitched booklets for quarter-folding.
Designed around a 14˝ and 18˝ mid-sized folder body, the Count Fold line is completely modular in design and can function as a simple, standalone folder or be extended to create a complete folding line. It features a two-plate or four-plate configuration and trim-line body style.
MBO's DRUPA lineup of folders will also feature the Rapidset automated makeready system, which motorizes up to eight buckle plates per folding unit. A microprocessor displays full setup instructions, such as fold roller settings, slitter shaft sidelays and more. Rapidset is preprogrammed with 65 common fold impositions.