Thursday, 14 Mar 2019 16:31 GMT

Creasing and Folding

With an increasing number of print-service-providers bringing finishing work in house, Rob Fletcher looks at the creasing and folding equipment that can help companies with this transition

Into the fold

Although finishing is such an important part of the print process, a large number of print-service-providers (PSPs) still opt to outsource this work. Some of the key reasons behind this are that companies do not have the funds to purchase the kit or enough space to store machinery, while others do not have the staff with skills to carry out finishing techniques.

However, all this is changing, with more PSPs bringing finishing work in house in order to not only save on the cost of outsourcing, but also take greater control of their work. Manufacturers and suppliers have responded in kind by developing new kit that is reasonably priced, thus allowing PSPs to grow their in-house service – especially in terms of creasing and folding.

Here, we speak to some of the leading names in this sector to find out about the benefits of bringing finishing processes in house and, specifically, how they can help PSPs do just this with their latest creasing and folding solutions.

Ease of operation

Morgana Systems is able to support PSPs with their finishing requirements right across the spectrum. Focusing on folding and creasing options in particular, Ray Hillhouse, vice-president of sales and marketing, says that when it comes to the subject of brining work in-house, it is all about the demands of the end user.

Ray Hillhouse, vice-president of sales and marketing at Morgana Systems, says that such is the fast-paced nature of the modern market, there is no longer time for PSPs to ship jobs back and forth

“They want the job yesterday; there is very little room for delay in today’s print production process,” he says, adding: “There just isn’t the time to ship jobs back and forth for relatively simple and straightforward steps.

“Morgana has always focused on ease of operation. Making our equipment simple and user-friendly means that there really is no need for extremely experienced staff at every stage of the process. Push button operation and visual guides on the machine interface make the kit straightforward to operate.”

Morgana says that the AutoCut-AutoFold combo offers a number of benefits to users, including the ability to turn long sheets into finished, six panel brochures

With this, Hillhouse directs attention to one of the latest introductions from the manufacturer, which pairs the new Morgana AutoCut system with the Morgana AutoFold Pro unit. Hillhouse says the AutoCut Pro can deliver the benefits of three functions in one, with highly accurate cutting, slitting and high-speed creasing in an easy to use system.

“The AutoCut Pro’s unique capabilities enable the user to cut the lead and trail edges, bleed trim the top and bottom, crease, and then, coupled to the AutoFold, fold the finished document,” he says.

“If you’re using a wide range of media and working with new, larger formats, this combination can easily turn long sheets into beautifully finished six panel brochures.”

Hillhouse goes on to say that due to the fast-paced nature of the modern market and new print technology coming to market on a regular basis, it is important for finishing solutions providers like Morgana to respond with it own kit.

“The speed of production of today’s digital engines means that print operations need to focus heavily on the finishing capabilities that they are using,” he says, adding: “There is no point in saving time at the printing end of the process only to loose it by running inefficient or out-of-date post-press products.

“Morgana hardware and software is frequently updated in order to maintain its productivity.”

Right on time

Also well placed to advise and support those looking to bring finishing, or parts of this process, in house is Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS). Bryan Godwyn, managing director, says that the biggest benefit of taking on print finishing work yourself is timing.

Bryan Godwyn, managing director, of Intelligent Finishing Systems, says timing, planning and costs are the three main reasons why PSPs are taking finishing work in house

Godwyn says: “Timing is the biggest driver for our customers who bring this service in house. With shorter run, faster tunaround work evermore the bread and butter of most operations, getting the job in an out in the fastest time is paramount. When work is being sent out added time needs to be built into the delivery. It limits the ability to be highly responsive.

“It also requires more complex planning, especially if jobs need to be bundled to make the most of the outsourcing service. And another consideration is the cost of sending work out versus the investment of an in house system.”

In terms of how IFS is responding to a larger demand from customers moving work in house, Godwyn says the company has developed its portfolio to meet a demand for solutions that can help PSPs adapt to market developments and support their future needs.

He says: “Every solution we offer is designed with the premise that affordable automation supports productivity and profitability – every production minute counts. As such fast to set up and easy to operate solutions are vital.”

Intelligent Finishing Systems offers the Horizon AFC-566FG, an automated super-B2 system that offers 17 fold patterns to users

With this, Godwyn outlines some of the latest creasing and folding offerings from IFS. These include the Horizon AF-406F JDF-ready automated modular buckle folder, incorporating a six-plus-six buckle modular concept that Godwyn says allows for simple to complex fold patterns that maximise folding variations.

Elsewhere, Godwyn says that the Horizon FoldLiner offers streamlined booklet production for general commercial print, from books and booklets to brochures. The system runs at up to 6,000 booklets per hour, can handle digitally printed B2 size sheet and full-size press sheets, and combine four-page signatures with eight- or 16-page signatures.

Godwyn says: “The FoldLiner incorporates the AFC-74 Series Folder and the StitchLiner 6000 saddlestitching system with a VAC-80S collator and the HIF-6000F hybrid interface that support smooth production. It increases productivity which helps operations improve their profitability.”

There is also the Horizon AFC-566FG, an automated super-B2 system equipped with six buckles and cross knife, and two buckles under the cross knife, enabling 17 fold patterns. Operation is via an icon-based 10.4” colour touch screen.

Godwyn adds: “Research and development by our suppliers is ongoing and we expect to make announcements in due course. These newest solutions will continue to have automation at the heart of their capability.”

Meeting demand

Elsewhere, Ashgate Automation is able to offer solutions to PSPs seeking new creasing solutions for their production portfolio. Managing director Lewis Price says short-run, fast turnaround creasing has now become the norm for digital printers, but quality and cost remain key features.

The latest model of the CreaseMatic Auto 50, featuring a the new touchscreen display, is available from Ashgate Automation

With this in mind, he draws attention to the CreaseMatic 150 and Auto 50 range of creasers, which are manufactured by KAS Paper Systems but distributed by Ashgate. Price says both of these models can crease sheets up to one metre in length.

Price says: “Designed for higher volume digital printers and litho printers, the high speed SRA2 suction fed model is available at a price level normally associated with A3 models.

“The CM Auto50 is a fully programmable card creaser using a matrix style crease, this crease prevents toner cracking when folding digitally printed card. A rotary perforating system is fitted as standard. The latest model features the new touchscreen display, making programming and operation simple to use.”


O Factoid: Perhaps the most famous form of paper folding, Japanese Origami is believed to date back to around the 6th Century. O


Up to 8,000 sheets per hour can be creased using a bottom feed suction system for continuous production, while the crease can be programmed anywhere along the length of the sheet. Up to 29 creases per sheet can be programmed with 99 memories for regular jobs and stock can be creased in sizes from CD to SRA2.

Price adds: “The CM Auto50 is supplied with four creasing width tools to cover the stock range of 80-350gsm. Three creasing tools are steel matrix, while the fourth is a matrix bar to which Channel Matrix self-adhesive matrix can be attached. These Channel matrixes are available in a number of sizes and are inexpensive to use.


Both of our CreaseMatic stand along creasers are very affordable, so they will quickly pay for themselves and automate even the shortest of runs

“Both of our CreaseMatic stand along creasers are very affordable, so they will quickly pay for themselves and automate even the shortest of runs.”

Bringing finishing work in house allows you to take greater control over one of the most important parts of the printing process, with creasing and folding key to the output of a wide range of printed work.

While many of the concerns about taking work in house are based around the cost of doing so, from speaking to just a few suppliers and manufacturers here, it is clear that this can be an affordable process.

However, by speaking with experts about the type of work you are wanting to finish, and looking at a number of kit options that are available to the market, you can make the move into in-house folding and creasing a profitable one.