How Much Does a Folding Machine Cost?
When it comes to folding letters and papers, a folding machine is more economical than the cost of your employees doing it by hand. Here’s what you can expect to pay for a paper folding machine.
It seems millennials love getting mail because direct mail marketing is making a big comeback.
In 2018, the direct mail response rate jumped up to 4.9% which is the highest it has been since 2003. Compare that to the 1% response rates received from email and social media. Now you can see the advantage of a direct mail marketing campaign.
The biggest problem with a direct mail campaign is the man-hours needed to fold and stuff the mailers. Who has the time to do all that?!
Not to worry. We have the solution you are looking for! Read on to learn everything you need to know before buying a new folding machine.
Types of Paper Folding Machines
When we talk type of folding machine, we mean what kind of feeding system the folder uses. There are three primary types to look for: Manual folders, Buckle or Friction folders, and Air fed or Suction folders.
Manual or Handfed Folders
The name of this type of paper folder is a bit misleading, so don’t worry. You won’t be doing all that time-consuming folding yourself.
A manual feed simply means that you have to load the paper in manually each time you need to make a fold.
Buckle or Friction Folders
Buckle folders are the most common type of folding machine. They use friction rollers, hence the nickname, to feed paper into the folder.
Unlike manual folders, you can put a whole ream of paper into the feeder and let it go. The machine will do the rest for you.
Air or Suction Folders
Air folders literally suck the paper into the machine. Like the friction folders, you only have to put a stack of paper into the machine and let it do its thing.
Because they don’t rely on friction, these are the best feeders for glossy paper. Rollers will often scuff the ink on glossy paper and leave streaks.
How Many Sheets Do You Need to Fold per Hour?
The number of sheets you need to fold per hour is one of the biggest things to consider when you choose a new folding machine. There are three levels of output: Low Capacity, Medium Capacity, and High Capacity.
It’s important to note that lower capacity machines, usually can’t do more than a few types of folds.
Low-Capacity or Desktop Letter Folders
Low capacity folders can fold between 1,500 and 2,200 sheets per hour or 36 letters per minute. They are almost always handfed folders and most can fold up to three sheets at a time when stapled.
The most common types of paper they accept are 16 to 24 pound, 8.5″ x 11″ sheets. They can’t fold glossy paper or most specialty stocks.
Martin Yale’s P6200 Desktop Letter Folder is a prime example of this type of folder. It runs for about $120. Similar folders range between $90 and $200.
Medium-Capacity Letter Folders
A medium-capacity folding machine folds between 3,000 and 6,000 letters per hour. These machines usually have a buckle feeder that holds an entire ream of paper. Most will fold up to 5 sheets together at the same time, but this number varies.
In most cases, medium-capacity machines can handle thicker paper stock than desktop letter folders. They are still not usually good for glossy pages unless they use a suction feeder.
Intelli-Zone’s DE-172AF Mid-Capacity Paper Folder fits the bill here. This machine costs about $1,300. Similar models run between $1,200 and $1,700 depending on the brand and features.
High-Capacity Letter Folders
These letter folders are the Mustangs of the folding industry. They are capable of folding 20,000 sheets of paper per hour and more. High Capacity machines usually use an air-feed system instead of a manual or buckle feed.
Because most high-capacity feeders use air-feed technology, they are the go-to machines for glossy stock. They are also usually the best choice for other non-standard types of papers.
The Standard PF-40L Auto Suction Feed Tabletop Folder is an ideal choice for high volumes. It goes for about $13,000. High-capacity folders have a huge price range because there are a ton of varieties. You can find them for as little as $3,000 or as much as $20,000.
Folding Machine Special Features
There are many special features you can get with a paper folding machine. The variety of features makes it easier to meet your company’s specific needs. Here is a list of some of the extra features you may want to look for in a paper folder.
A batch counter adds flexibility and automation to your letter folder. It allows you to set pre-defined amounts so you can sort projects in various ways. This prevents you from having to handle papers twice.
With the addition of a sheet inserter, your machine folds your paper and then stuffs it into an envelope for you. Talk about streamlined!
Conveyor and Output Stacker
Many folding machines have a simple catch tray where the folded paper exits the machine. This is great if you do not need your papers in a specific order.
But if you need to collate your projects, a conveyor and output stacker is a must-have. This system uses conveyor belts and stacker wheels to stack papers so they don’t come out in a disorganized mess.
Paper Perforators and Cutters
If you need to create perforations in your paper or to cut your letters down to size, having the tool built-in is ideal. With this add-on, your machine will cut or perforate your pages and then fold them to your exact specifications. All you have to do is program the machine for what you need.
To Buy or Not to Buy, That is the Question
If your business does a monthly mail campaign or sends tons of letters, then there isn’t any question here at all. You should absolutely buy a letter folder.
But, if your company only does one large yearly or quarterly campaign it might be best to rent a folding machine instead.
Either way, Letter Folding Machines can help. Get your free quote today!
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