The search for a new folder-gluer can be very daunting. There are many folder-gluer OEMs out there and each have different models, features and sizes designed for a variety of applications. When a finisher or folding carton manufacturer is in the market for an upgraded or new folder-gluer, there are several questions to ask in order to find the best fit for the market they are involved in or attempting to enter.
1. Do you run paperboard or corrugated?
The paperboard market includes folding paper cartons – sometimes referred to as just folding cartons. The corrugated market produces folding boxes that often are referred to as cardboard boxes. The folding/gluing machines for these two distinctive markets may look similar, but the design and structure of the machines are quite different. There are folder-gluers that will produce products using both of these substrates, but on a limited basis. In other words, if you wish to produce corrugated C flute boxes, don’t expect the same folder-gluer machine to produce 12-point folding paper cartons – at least not efficiently.
In addition, the paperboard folding carton market typically will have more variety to the carton styles (more folded panels) than the corrugated box market. Taking this into consideration, the folder-gluer for paperboard typically has to be more versatile in its design in order to produce a wider range of carton styles. However, a “specialty folder-gluer” for corrugated can be equipped to run some of the same styles as well and may need to run special folds for applications such as POP displays.