Sitma, Ferag Exhibit Quarterfolders at IFRA Expo

By: Jim Rosenberg Two European post-press equipment manufacturers have restored moveable quarterfolders to their product portfolios, in machines improved since their predecessors of the 1980s and '90s.

With today?s smaller formats, newspapers can fold inserts so that they don?t hang or fall out of their jackets, suggests Marcel Weber, sales manager for Switzerland?s Ferag.

Fabrizio della Casa, Sitma Machinery area manager, calls the Italian company?s servo-driven offline quarterfolder ?a solution for printing houses without huge volumes for inkjet printing? of postal-delivery addresses.

It is an important consideration for newspapers in Europe, where ?there has always been a big demand for such machines,? Weber says.

Sitma?s FF-975 and Ferag?s StreamFold were both set up at the IFRA Expo 2009, which wraps up here Thursday,with the latter machine among the few and probably the largest in operation on the show floor.

Sitma developed the quarterfolder?s controller and address printers, which is fitted with Hewlett-Packard inkjet technology. It folds up to 12,000 products per hour and is designed for off-line manual feeding. So true speed is determined by the operator, della Casa notes. He adds that Sitma conservatively estimates that products can run to 96 pages.

In a cabinet approximately 5.5 feet (unopened) in all dimensions, the quarterfolder was shown in line with Sitma?s newly designed 15,000/hour 11-SRT compensating counter stacker stacker (like the quarterfolder, introduced at last year?s Drupa) and side-sealing bundle wrapper. It also may be operated in conjunction with a polywrapper.

Sitma?s feeder-knife folder-printer updates a machine first shown about 15 years ago. Several years earlier, Ferag also offered a vertical 12,000/hour quarterfolder. ?We had it for a long time,? Weber recalls, adding that by the time it was discontinued, about 10 years ago, the electronics had become obsolete. According to Ferag, postal regulations that led to the extra fold also had been been changed.

Ferag promotes StreamFold for newspapers? production of and inserting of oversized preprinted ads and semi-commercial work requiring the quarterfold, especially promotional materials distributed through the mail.

In addition to machine speed, its 60,000-copy-per-hour is achieved by overlapping the products in the process, then separating them after folding. ?Depending on the page size, we can have more or less overlap,? says Weber.

For online feeding, StreamFold is integrated through Ferag UTR conveyor at the press folder delivery or into any Ferag system. Offline, Ferag?s JetFeed hopper can be used. Where fed from the folder delivery, a Ferag installation serving more than one press can make use of matrix switching. Joseph Colletti, president and CEO of WRH Marketing Americas, a subsidiary of the manufacturer?s parent company, describes the switch as a ?moveable transfer station? used to direct the right number of the right products from a given press to the desired post-press module.

StreamFold can directly connect to a compensating stacker or send product for wound storage on a Ferag MultiDisc.

Ferag controls product alignment to keep folding precise for unfolded products of as many as 100 pages. Lateral correction at the inlet is used to fold with a trailing or leading lap. Berliner to Nordic broadsheet sizes can be processed.

Compensating for paper displacement in high page counts, the machine?s ?W? fold ?helps to bend or fold the product in a nice shape,? Weber adds.


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