Understanding the Different Parts of your Paper Folding Machine

Jeff McRitchie asked:

If you have a paper folding machine or are considering buying one, it is extremely helpful to have an understanding of how a paper folder works and the parts that are involved. By understanding the different parts used in the folding process it is easier to troubleshoot problems and properly set up your paper folding machine. This article will provide a quick overview of five components that are common to almost all paper folders and will explain their role in the paper folding process.

1. Input Tray: The first part that you will use in the paper folding process is the input tray. This is where you stack the sheets that you are going to need to fold. Depending on your folder the input tray may hold a few sheets or may hold a few hundred sheets. Almost all paper folder input trays have a skew adjustment to help you make sure that you are feeding your sheets squarely into the document. If your folded documents are not coming out square this is one possible place to make an adjustment.

2. Pickup Roller: The first part of the paper folding machine to touch your documents is the pickup feed roller or rollers. This set of rollers is often larger than the other rollers used in your paper folder. These rubber rollers are used to pick up the sheets of paper from the input tray and feed them into the folder. Almost all desktop folding equipment uses friction feed rollers. However, some more expensive commercial grade paper folders will use either air feed or suction feed to assist in feeding thicker stocks.

3. Fold Rollers: After the document is picked up by the pickup roller it is passed along to the fold rollers inside the paper folding machine. These rollers help to keep the documents moving in a straight path inside the machine. These rubber rollers are usually smaller than the pickup roller and can wear out over time. These rollers can also become less effective over time with the buildup of paper dust. A simple solution of gentile soap and water can do wonders to renew these rollers if they become covered in dust.

4. Fold Plates: Every paper folder will have one, two or more fold plates depending on the types of folds that the folding machine is capable of producing. The paper will be fed into these fold plates and it will hit a stop at the end of the plate that will turn the paper around and cause the paper to fold. Cheaper folding machines require you to manually adjust the stop at the end of these fold plates. If you have a folder with this type of configuration it is essential to get the plate absolutely square for your fold to be straight. If you have a more expensive folding machine the movement of the paper stops might be automated or controlled by a simple knob. This makes the setup of the paper folding machine much easier.

5. Output Tray: After the document has traveled through the folder and through all of the fold plates the folded document will be spit out of your folding machine into the output tray. Depending on the model of folding machine you have, the output tray may act like a conveyor belt or a bin. Conveyor belt style folders tend to take up more room but are easier to use. Bin style paper folding machines take up less room but on larger jobs your documents can end up pushed inside of each other which can take time to correct.

Hopefully after reading this article you have a better understanding of how your paper folder works and the parts that go into folding your documents. Next time you go to use your paper folder or your folder has problems hopefully you will be better equipped to understand what is happening and what part of the folder might need to be adjusted.

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