Tag Archives: automated

Best Kept Secret in Folding 2

Best Kept Secret in Folding, Part II | By Doug Barrett

If you are folding digital print, automation is a must. In the old days when folding offset work you had a nice stack of set up stock you could use to set up your folder. That is not the case with digital. I cannot tell you how many times I see a printer waste 50-100 sheets to get a fold just right on a 50-100 sheet run. The difference with digital is that the 50-100 thrown away for set up cost exactly the same as the ones that were delivered. Chances are you had to go back to the print engine to run more to complete the count due to waste.

The price of an automated folder is higher but the cost of ownership and production is far lower. When doing super short runs the setup time and waste is more critical than the run. When doing fold jobs that are 500 or less the set up can be far longer than the run on a manual folder. With long print runs that were folded, you sold folding time and included or charged a fee for setup. In today’s digital print world you are selling the setup not the running of the job. A really good folder operator might be able to set up a trifold in 5-10 minutes plus a few sheets of waste and then the folder will run for 5 minutes while the 500 sheets are run.

That same job on a Horizon folder will be set up and tweaked in about 2 minutes maximum with no more than 1 or 2 sheets of set up waste. Then the machine will run the job in 5 minutes. Complicated folds on manual folders can take hours to dial in and a lot of skill that only experienced folder operators have. I can teach anyone to easily dial in complicated folds using the touch screen interface and the tools that Horizon gives you.

You can buy a manual folder for about half of the price of fully automated. It is very difficult for buyers to understand that they should spend the extra money for automation. They look at the price and say, “I can set up a lot of jobs for the extra money.” That is true to a point but these machines will last 20 years. Every day that you use the automation you will be paid back with time savings and the near elimination of waste of expensive digital output for complicated fold set ups. Horizon folders are “time machines”, I say that because every time your operator touches the Horizon you get paid back for your intelligent investment in an automated folder.

This is a pure case of  the price of the machine being higher but in the long run being the lowest cost of ownership and operation. When I say higher priced I am comparing Horizon to competitive manual folders. If you compare apples to apples the Horizon will be more automated and be less money.  None of the other folder manufacturers even have the same degree of automation that Horizon folders have.

Don’t get caught up in the big names of the past, those guys don’t come close to Horizon and what they bring to the market today. When you buy from the traditional folder manufacturers you are buying the name. When you buy Horizon you are getting the ultimate in automation and that pays you back every time you turn it on.

Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself!

set up in as little as 14 seconds


Designed for commercial printers, in-plant printers, and binderies, the Standard Horizon AF Series Floor Model Folders include advanced set-up automation, including gap settings, through a user-friendly color touch-screen control panel. Up to two hundred different jobs can be stored in memory with set-ups accomplished in as little as fourteen seconds. Precise stepper motors drive end stops and fold plates to the exact location for the sheet size and fold style selected.

Consistent Fold Quality

AF Folders ensure consistent fold quality with steel and soft-formed polyurethane combination rollers.

Reliable and High Speed

An advanced rotary suction-feed system guarantees fast, smooth feeding of a very wide range of stocks.



The AF-406A small-format automated 6-buckle folder with pile feed and suction head has an optional 6-buckle second unit that can be added straight or cross-wise…for sheets down to 1.99″ x 3.94″. This provides application flexibility, especially for the insert, outsert, and pharmaceutical markets.


The NEW AF-566T4F Buckle-buckle folder is a fully automated folder that can store up to 200 custom jobs in memory for easy recall, with automated make-ready in as little as 14 seconds. it is equipped with 6 buckles on the first station and 4 on the second station – which can be added straight or at an angle – for maximum application flexibility.

Click Here to view all Standard Horizon AF Folders!

Mid-State Litho, Inc.
5459 Fenton Rd.
Flint, MI 48507