Monday, 15 May 2017 19:03 GMT

Omni Fold 3000

Brian Sims discovers if the prefix ‘omni’ before the Omni Fold 3000 meets the all-encompassing expectations it hints at— with positive results for the technology from Kluge International

Living up to high expectations

The word ‘omni’ is quite often used as a prefix to a product name when a marketing department wants to encompass the largest possible client base that is likely to be vaguely interested. The hope being that the Greek word meaning ‘all’ will prick up enough ears that attention can be secured and interest stirred.

Kluge International have a new product, the Omni Fold 3000, which I have chosen to look under the covers of to see if it was genuinely accurate to warrant the ‘omni’ prefix; you have to say that in this case maybe the scope of production available is understated by the word.

The Omni Fold 3000 is a multipurpose, modular gluer/folder, which can handle an unbelievable number of products due to its flexibility and clever design. This list is non-exhaustive but illustrates just some of the tasks possible: presentation folders, pocket folders, CD and DVD wallets/holders of various configurations, in-line personalisation, inkjet printing (with in-line with folding and gluing), booklets and book covers, brochures (z-fold, barrel fold, gate fold), display packaging, cartons, smaller boxes, photograph frames, and mounts. Now take a breath.

The Omni Fold 3000 is a multipurpose, modular gluer/folder, which can handle an unbelievable number of products due to its flexibility and clever design

Clever features

So, with the ‘omni’ tag well and truly deserved, the obvious question is how does Kluge make all this possible in such a compact and adaptable machine? At the heart of the solution is the concept of the ‘three-foot repeat’ design. The core of this design concept is that each modular application is a linear three-foot section, which can be easily inserted or replaced when required. Added to this core idea, Kluge uses what they call their ‘drop in’ methodology. ‘Drop in’ to Kluge means each and every unit or module requires minimum time or effort to exchange between function, format, and operation.

The core module of the Omni Fold 3000 is the transport section; this is of the base three-foot modular size and has a choice of transport mechanisms. You can use the unit with vacuum transports or if it is more applicable, exchange them quickly and simply with a bearing bed system.

The bearing bed transport system can provide either in-line, left, or right hand configuration and uses a sealed bearing system to support a 4mm thick transport belt that is needed for the large number of substrates possible on the machine. The easy to exchange ‘drop in’ design means the transport section can be removed for reconfiguration or maintenance minimising downtime.

The vacuum transport also is of the ‘drop in’ design, making the interchangeability of this item speedy and simple. The use of vacuum belts means that no top drive mechanism is needed which makes space and access for accessories such as inkjet personalisation, data systems, and label applications. Obviously, each of the transport sections has space for a number of folding ploughs and guides, and gluing units.

The Omni Fold 3000 can handle a variety of items such as presentation folders, booklets and book covers, brochures, and cartons

Each and every modular ‘three-foot’ unit is driven by a synchronous belt drive which, being of a double-sided tooth belt, means each unit can be easily and accurately driven. The nature of these belts means they require minimum maintenance, little or no lubrication reducing contaminates and mess and tensioning, and setup can be achieved quickly and easily with minimal tooling.

The final element of the transport section is the integrated left/right hand registration. Each or either can be set in seconds and even 90° turns can be achieved with a simple modular device and marble bar. Add in a pre-breaking tool and you have the substrate readily prepared for the long list of products we overwhelmed you with earlier.

We need to feed unfinished products into the Omni Fold 3000 and to achieve this, Kluge have a number of cleverly designed modular elements to accomplish easy, mark free, and speedy feeding. There are three units that can be used on the line: vacuum feeder, friction feeder, and open docking station.

Each of these units can be exchanged in less than two minutes and operated off-line, if needed, for maintenance and setup. Regardless of which feeder you choose to use, they all have a self-aligning feature that minimises the change over time.

Investment in design

So, what comes up next; well that depends what product you wish to finish. Kluge can supply a vertical buckle folder to add into the line itself. Kluge have obviously invested a lot of design time in this module as it can accurately knife edge fold on thin stocks without ‘crow’s feet’ and due to there being no small roller to deform and preform the fold, thicker materials can be folded too. In addition to this ‘drop in’ folding unit, Kluge can provide a Flipgate module that will produce a cross fold on presentation folder and folder pockets at high speed.

The ‘drop-in’ mantra is applied next to the Score-N-Covert unit. This cleverly designed element of the Omni Fold 3000 can be dropped into the line at three positions to make off-line tasks such as perforating and scoring completed in-line. Up to three of these units can be added, if and when needed.

Should you require small box production, Kluge can supply a Fold Hook unit for auto-lock bottom boxes. This option can fold a scored carton blank into a simple folded box at speeds of up to 5,000 plus unit per hour. Typical applications would be pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and other specialty packaging products.

More complex folds can be achieved on the Omni Fold 3000, one of these being the accordion fold. This complex fold can be produced via a series of ploughs and guides, and at either 1/4" or 3/8" specification with the addition of yet another ‘drop in’ module.

The final element of the Omni Fold 3000 is the collation of the finished product. The Stacker unit not only completes the obvious task of stacking completed production but it also has a batch and totalising counter, accurately driven by a rack and pinion drive system. To ensure the finished product takes up the minimum amount of space needed, the stacker is of a compression design to reduce space and enhance fold and glue elements.

To ensure the finished product takes up the minimum amount of space needed, the stacker is of a compression design to reduce space and enhance fold and glue elements

Controlling all and every activity that is possible on the Omni Fold 3000 is an interactive touch panel that receives information and signals from each part of the machine. There are newly designed electronic missing and double sheet detectors all intended to ensure that the maximum production levels can be achieved.

It is clear to see the ‘omni’ prefix is no marketing entrapment tool with Kluge’s folder gluer. If you are in any field such as packaging, digital carton production, mailing and personalisation, or graphics and point-of-sale materials, the Omni Fold 3000 is well justified being named as such and should easily come up to your production expectation and imagination.

Brian Sims, principal consultant, Metis Print Consultancy,

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