Paper Perforator / Scorer / Slitter Guide

Why use a perforator?

Perforators take paper and cut tiny holes in a straight line, making the paper easy to tear. Today you have more than likely dealt with a perforated piece of paper. Common pieces of perforated paper include checkbooks, tickets, coupons, warranty documents, forms and more. Even magazine inserts are perforated, making them easier to tear out.

If paper were not perforated, scissors would be required to perform the same function. More and more businesses are purchasing perorating machines to save money by doing their own perforating in-house. This is especially advantageous for mailers and advertising, where a return card needs to be mailed back.

Copy and print shops also enjoy using perforators, allowing them to facilitate the daily needs of individuals. Perforators vary from simple manual devices to fully automated machines.

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Why use a scorer?

Although the name may sound a little unusual at first, paper scorers are more common than you may think. Paper scorers take paper and create a linear crease, allowing the paper to be easily folded over. This is usually done on heavier card stock, but can also be used with common copy paper. Scored paper can be used for business cards, greeting cards, table tents, tickets, advertisements and other paper material.

Paper scorers vary in size. We sell simple rotary-style paper scorers all the way up to industrial paper scorers used for commercial purposes. Paper scorers can be commonly found in copy shops, print shops and businesses. Several commercial paper scorers, such as the Martin Yale 3800AP  can be used for paper perforating, scoring and slitting.

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Why use a slitter?

Paper slitters, as the name indicates, cut paper. They are often referred to as form cutters. A rotary-style blade is used to cut paper down to any size needed. Paper slitters are used for a variety of purposes. Business cards, tickets, ads, pamphlets, and more can be cut to size using a paper slitter. Most paper slitters can utilize multiple cutting blades at once, cutting down on time. Some high-end paper slitters can cut paper in two directions in one pass.

Paper slitters are very customizable and can be used for multiple projects. Many paper slitters allow perforation, slitting and scoring in one pass. Paper slitters, such as the Martin Yale 3800FC, have a bar that allows slitter wheels to be moved and adjusted as needed. Once the desired slitting location is found, the wheel is simply tightened down to the bar.

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Things to consider before purchasing a paper perforator, slitter or scorer?

What types of material will you be using with your machine?
Paper varies in thickness and texture. Friction-fed perforators, slitters and scorers cannot handle glossy paper. Thickness can also be an issue. Different machines are designed for different thicknesses of paper. Most machines can handle standard copy paper, but not all machines can handle thicker card stock. Be sure and take into consideration all types of paper you will be using. You don’t want a machine that will work for some jobs, but not for others.

How often will you be using your machine?
Different machines are designed for different volumes of paper. Some machines are designed for occasional use, where others are designed for continual use. Getting a machine that is not designed for continual use, but using it continually could result in a shortened machine life and a burned out motor. Although getting a machine that is more than you need can seem like a little much at first, it is perfect for future growth.

Is space an issue?
You will need to have a countertop or table for many of our paper-handling machines. Space is often overlooked when purchasing a machine. Make sure you have a place to use and store your machine.

What size material will you be slitting / perforating/ scoring?
Paper varies in size. The most common size of paper used is 8 ½ by 11-inches. Some paper is smaller and some is larger. Be sure your machine can handle all types of paper your business will be using. Many entry-level machines cannot handle larger 11 by 17-inch paper and bigger.

How big is your business? Will it grow?
It is always a good idea to estimate your business needs in the next few years. Many people like to purchase a machine that will handle their current workload, without looking towards the future. This often results in the need to purchase another machine, year after year. It usually ends up less expensive to purchase a larger machine now than continually upgrading year after year.

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What are the different types of perforators?

Perforators can be broken up into manual, semi-automatic and full-automatic designs. Manual perforators typically work like a rotary paper cutter, requiring the user to slide the perforating wheel across a rail or bar. Semi-automatic perforators usually require manual setup, but use an electric motor to complete the perforation process. Fully automatic perforators use a panel to set the machine up electronically and use a motor to complete the perforation. The type you use depends on the needs of your business.

There are different types of perforator blades used for different projects. The different types are based on the amount of teeth the blade has. The teeth are the small notches used to punch tiny holes in paper. Different perforating blades have different amounts of teeth that punch different amounts of holes per inch. The more holes punched per inch, the easier the paper is to tear.

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What are the different types of scorers?

Scoring machines vary in capabilities, depending on the volume of paper being scored. There are manual, semi-auto and automatic paper scorers. Manual scorers typically use a rotary style scoring wheel that scores paper as the wheel is run across the paper. Semi-auto scorers usually require manual setup, but use a motor to score the paper. Automatic scoring machines require little setup and are generally used for continuous operation. There is not much difference in quality between the different models.

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What are the different types of slitters?

Paper slitters use sharp pizza-cutter style wheels to slice through paper. Paper slitters are divided into three categories: manual, semi-auto and fully automatic. Manual slitters require human power to operate. Rotary paper cutters are a type of manual slitter. Semi-auto require manual setup, but use an electric motor to complete the process. Fully automatic slitters require little manual setup and can run on a continual basis.

Some paper slitters can only use one blade at a time, such as all manual and several semi-auto machines. Most of the high-end paper slitters are capable of slitting paper in various locations at once. Paper slitters with multiple blades are very customizable and easy to set up. The quality of the slitter blade does not vary much between manual, semi-auto and automatic designs.

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Air Feed – Air feed machines, sometimes referred to as pneumatic, use air to draw paper into the machine rather than a rubber roller. This is commonly used with glossy paper.

Automatic – Automatic paper handling machines incorporate the use of a computer and electronic motors. They require little human intervention.

Duty Cycle – Duty cycle is the amount of material a piece of paper handling equipment can handle in a day, month or period of time.

Friction Feed – Friction feed machines use rubber rollers to pull in paper. Friction feed does not work with glossy or slippery paper.

Glossy – Glossy paper usually has a shiny appearance and is more slippery than traditional paper.

Manual – Manually operated equipment does not require a motor. It is run purely from human power.

Perforate – Perforation occurs when a perforator wheel runs over the paper, creating several small holes. A checkbook is a good example of something that has been perforated.

Pneumatic – Pneumatic machines are powered by air. These machines are particularly effective with handling glossy paper.

Rotary – Rotary cutters use a pizza-cutter like blade that slides along a rail and cut paper. Rotary cutters, perforators and scorers are especially popular due to their precision and ease-of-use.

Score – A paper scorer, also known as a creaser, puts a crease down the center of paper making it easily bend and fold. This is used for making greeting cards, table tents and more.

Semi-Auto – Semi-auto equipment uses both manual effort and electronic to get a job done.

Slitter – A slitter is a mechanized form cutter that is designed to cut paper to specific sizes.

Teeth – Perforators use teeth to punch holes in paper.

Volume – Volume is similar to duty cycle. This is the amount of work a machine can handle during any given period of time.

Weight – Weight is the thickness of a sheet of paper. Different machines handle different thickness of paper.

Wheel – Cutting, perforating and scoring blades are often in the form of a wheel that rolls across paper.

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