I often receive calls from customers asking me to help them decide which comb binding machine would best suit their needs. With dozens of combbind machines available from manufacturers such as GBC / Ibico, Akiles, Tamerica, Renz and Rhin-O-Tuff, it can be hard to discern which binding machine will be the best fit for your binding needs. However, it is much easier to understand what machine might must be best once you decide which features might be important to you. Here is a quick rundown of some of the features that you might want to consider when looking for a comb binding machine:
1. Machine construction: One of the most important features to consider involves the construction of the machine. Many of the lower end binding machines are made of plastic. These machines are adequate for lower volume applications but may not hold up as well under heavy use. A Comb-Binding machine made of metal is always a good bet.
2. Electric vs. Manual: When deciding on a comb binding machine it is also important to make a decision between a manual punch vs. an electric punch. This decision will have a huge impact on the price range of the binding machines that you are looking at. However, most electric machines are better suited for higher volume applications and can save a significant amount of time over their manual binding machine counterparts. It is important to note that some smaller electric machines are available that are designed to make the punching process easier and do not increase production speed (the GBC C110e is an example of a lower volume electric punch).
3. Punching Capacity: Another third important feature to consider when choosing a comb binding machine is punching capacity. Some of the smaller comb binders have punching capacities as low as 6 sheets of 20lb bond paper. However, some modular electric binding punches can punch up to 50 sheets of 20lb bond per lift. Depending on the size of your books and the number of books you intend to bind, punching capacity can be very important. However, it is important to note that for the longevity of your machine, it is best not punch the full capacity listed in the manual. Furthermore, we find users are typically faster when punching a consistent number of sheets per punch, usually 15 to 20 sheets for our highest volume users.
4. Disengageable Dies: A fourth factor that is important to consider when choosing a comb machine is whether it includes disengageable dies. Comb binding machines with disengageable dies allow their user to disengage any one of the punching dies on the machine. By disengaging a die, it becomes possible to use your machine to bind documents that are smaller than 11″ in length. If you ever plan on binding documents that are shorter or longer than 11 inches, a machine with disegageable dies is essential.
5. Brand: When choosing a comb binding machine it is also really important to consider the manufacturer. GBC / Ibico is the largest name in the binding machine industry and make excellent binding machines. However, binding machines from Akiles, Tamerica, Renz and Rhin-O-Tuff are also excellent. Although other brands may also warrant consideration, these names are some of the best in the industry and their quality is exceptional.
6. Warranty: The final factor that is important for consideration when choosing a comb binding machine is its warranty. Warranties on binding equipment vary widely. However, if there is a problem with your binding machine it is important to have warranty protection. This is especially true for lower end manual comb machines which are most often more expensive to repair than to replace.
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