Letter Folders

It's late. Your fingers are numb. Everyone's gone home, except you. You're at your desk, struggling to stay awake, with only a pile of unfolded letters for company. Is there a better way?

There is, and it's called a letter folder. By automating the folding of your letters, these savvy devices help you keep staff and admin costs to a minimum; saving you money, maintaining your sanity, and freeing up your time for what matters – growing your business!

Let's take a closer look at what a letter folder can do for you.

Which letter folder is right for my office?

Letter folders range from manual to automatic, and from basic desktop machines to mail-room capacity. Manual letter folders are the machine of choice for periodic batches of small/medium amounts of letters: the paper needs to be hand fed, so this would not be cost effective for busy offices where the volume of post is significantly high.

Automatic letter folders are capable of handling larger amounts of regular work and need only be fed with paper intermittently. These models are particularly useful in organisations where the level of day to day mail is voluminous.

There are various types of letter folder available depending on the amount of work that needs to be done. The smallest, low volume machines are not designed to work constantly, however. For the larger business that needs a continuous service, higher volume machines are available.

Letter folders can fit unobtrusively into even the smallest office and there are models which are small enough to be set up on a desk whilst the worker is using it. Some letter folding machines are much larger and require desk space of their own.

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How do letter folders work?

The letter folder works by a series of metal plates. These plates determine the type of fold. The paper is fed through – and bounces off – the plates. This determines where the roller will crease, then fold, the paper.

Letter folders feed sheets using either friction or suction and due to this property different types of letter folding machine are suited to different types of paper. If your business uses glossy paper, a friction machine will not be suitable as the friction rollers will slip on glossy paper and cause it to tear.

A more suitable machine would be a pneumatic machine (air-powered). If you are unsure which type of machine will be more suited to your business, most suppliers will allow you to send in samples of your paper to test on their machines.

Some models have the ability to fold three or four sheets of paper at the same time. However, the downside to this is that the paper needs to be fed into the machine manually which will inevitably slow down production.

Additional letter folder features

If your business has a high volume of correspondence, mailings, newsletters or invoices to send out, you should consider the benefits of a paper folding machine that includes a pressure sealer or automatic envelope inserter. These can cost more at the outset, but their labour saving benefits will soon cover these costs and increase your productivity. You could also add a paper inserter which removes the need for manual feed.

If you decide to add any additional features to your machine, ensure you know how to operate them. Bear in mind that the more additional features you add, the more things there will be that can go wrong. A problem with one of your added features could leave your entire machine out of action, which could ultimately reduce your output and delay your post.

Considerations when choosing a letter folder

When choosing a letter folding machine, take account of the recommended number of folds per day. This is also referred to as its ‘Duty Cycle'.

It is not advisable to use your machine continually, as this will reduce efficiency and life of the machine. It will also result in parts starting to wear out faster. You must take care to always use your machine sensibly and make sure it's serviced regularly to ensure that it's performing at it's fully capacity.

Prices vary considerably across the range of machines available which can start at the most basic of manual folding machines costing around £90 anywhere up to £1000 for a high-end automatic letter folder. Ensure you select a machine that can cope with the needs of your business, but do not spend too much money. You should also ensure your machine is serviced regularly as this will help prolong the life of your machine and ensure your investment works efficiently for you.

Many companies also provide the option for businesses to rent letter folding machines on a month by month basis. Depending on the size of your business and the type of machine you require to meet your demand for folding this can be a much more cost effective means of enjoying the many benefits of having this piece of invaluable office equipment in your business.

Always familiarise yourself with the operator's instructions for your folder. This will enable you to get the most out of its features. Most paper folders have four standard folds and several customised folds. Don't automatically dismiss the customised folds. Learn how to use them to the benefit of your business.

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.