A paper folder is a welcome addition to any office. While buying a paper folding machine
may seem frivolous (after all, can't your employees fold your correspondence and invoices?), it can actually be a wise business decision. Having a machine do your office's busy work can free up your employees so they can do more productive things, thus saving you money in the long run. But buying a paper folder is a big decision and there are a few things you need to know before shelling out the dough. Here are three questions to ask yourself before buying a paper folder.
'What am I going to be folding?' The first thing to think about is what you will be folding and how pieces you will need to fold. We are not talking about whether you will be folding invoices instead of brochures. What we mean is what kind of paper will you be working with? All paper folders can handle the standard 20 lb. paper most businesses use every day. However, if you are working with thinner or thicker paper, such as cardstock, you will want to make sure the machine can handle it. You will also need to consider the paper's finish. Is it matte or glossy? Just about any folder will work well with matte paper, but really glossy stocks may need to be folded with a pneumatic (air-powered) folder. Also, you need to consider the size of the paper, as well as how many sheets you will be folding. Many of the medium- to high-volume paper folders can not only handle a lot of sheets, they can accommodate paper larger than the typical 8.5 x 11' size. Finally, when it comes to speed, consider the machine's sheets-per-minute rating. This will give you an idea of how fast the machine can fold.
'What type of fold do I want?' If you're familiar with the Japanese art of origami, you probably already know that there are many, many ways to fold a simple sheet of paper. While paper folding machines don't usually crank out paper cranes, they're capable of doing both simple folds and more complex ones. The most common folds are the C-fold (also known as a letter fold) and Z-fold (the accordion fold). These are the folds most often use for business correspondence, so you'll definitely want a machine that can perform these folds. (Luckily, almost all machines can do these folds.) If you want fancier folds, a higher-end machine will be necessary. You might want to consider getting a folder that offers digital plate fold adjustment if this is the case. It will make adjusting the folder and changing folding styles a whole lot easier.
'How much should I spend?' Finally, price is important. You'll want to get the best machine you can for the money. Paper-folding is an arduous, time-consuming task, especially when performed by humans. Think of your future paper folder as a new employee: you want the best performance for the most reasonable price - not necessarily the lowest. Buying a lower-end machine may lead to frustration and lost productivity due to jams and misfeeds. Be sure to shop wisely and remember that you get what you pay for.
These are the three questions you should ask yourself before buying a paper folder. Once you know the answers, you'll be well-equipped to choose a paper folder that's ideal for both your company and your budget.
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