Scorers and (Security) Perforators Buyer's Guide

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Scorers and (Security) Perforators Buyer's Guide

picture of scorer
Scorers are machines that put a permanent crease in items such as cards, menus, and brochures. The score is made along the line at which the paper material is to be folded or turned. This blind impression is achieved by compressing and stretching the fibers in the material. This allows items to stand straight up or to be easily folded. Machines that score also perforate (punch round or slotted holes in) items such as tickets, business forms, and carbonless stocks. Perforations allow portions of paper to be easily detached from one another (e.g. ticket stubs).

What is the difference between an electric and a manual machine?

Electric machines will score and perforate at a faster pace than manual machines. Furthermore, electric machines have 2 scoring wheels allowing items such as menus to be easily folded into thirds. Scoring and perforating machines will handle paper stocks up to 110 lb. bond. Another important consideration is the range of paper width that the machine can handle. If you need to score or perforate extra wide or extra narrow documents, you will want to look for a machine that accommodates your needs.

You can expect to spend approximately $500 to $600 on a scoring and perforating machine.


Security perforators use plated dies to punch dotted words, abbreviations, and/or numbers into documents. Commonly used for accounting and record keeping purposes, plates such as "PAID", "VOID", and "CNCLD" can be ordered. Plates are generally custom ordered for specific applications. Security perforators also perforate the date for further validation.

sample security perforation


One important consideration when purchasing a security perforator is the amount of characters that the plate head can handle. The maximum amount of characters ranges from 6 to 10, but can vary slightly depending on character width. Another important consideration is the amount of sheets that can be imprinted at one time. Higher-end models can handle up to 25 sheets at a time, while less expensive machines can only handle 12 sheets at a time.

You can expect to spend anywhere between $500 and $3,200 on a security perforator, although most machines are priced in the $2,000 - $2,500 range.


  • How many sets need to be produced per hour?

    The amount of sets per hour varies from machine to machine. Higher-end in-line models can collate up to 3,900 booklets per hour, while less expensive in-line machines usually produce up to 1,500 booklets per hour. Desktop machines handle much less paper, where production will depend on the operator.

  • What capacity (bin size) is most suitable?

    Friction collators tend to fit about 200 sheets per bin, while suction collators fit about 450 sheets per bin. Desktop machines fit between 100 and 175 sheets per bin. Bin capacity should be a consideration, especially for larger volume jobs. Collators with larger bin capacities produce more sets per hour.

  • Can the machine be expanded by adding other bins to it?

    Some collators are expandable in that they can attach usually 8, 10, or 16 additional bins. This can double or triple output and is a significant factor in deciding what collator is best for you.

  • How compatible is the collator with other finishing machines?

    Very often collators are combined to work "on-line/in-line" with stackers, bookletmakers, and trimmers so that jobs can be completed from beginning to end by simply connecting a few machines and pressing a few programmable buttons. Higher-end machines are compatible with high quality finishing machines that can handle a wide variety of paper types, sheets sizes, and weights. Compatibility with other finishing machines makes for incredible efficienvy, as well as high output levels.

  • What types of paper stocks are going to be used?

    The type of paper stock that is used will make a difference when it comes time to decide what collator is best. Suction feed collators are better at handling difficult paper stocks such as coated and textured paper. If standard-weight 8.5" x 11" paper is going to be predominantly used, then paper stock is a secondary consideration.


  • Bookletmaker: assembles individual sheets into small document sets by stapling and/or folding them together
  • Collator: a machine with trays that stack, store, and transport documents sets
  • Feed-wheel pressure: the rate at which the friction feed system operates; directly related to speed
  • Friction feed: a rotating friction wheel feeds individual sheets into the machine where the sheets are then separated from the remainder of the pile
  • In-line/On-line: production is under automatic control of the machine, where the collator is connected to stackers, bookletmakers, and trimmers, working "in-line" with them
  • Offset stacking: document sets are stacked in an alternating style so that every other stack sticks out making it easy to differentiate between sets
  • Overlap Detection: this system recognizes when two sheets that have been fed into the same set should have been fed into different sets, and notifies the user
  • Receiving trays: trays on the end of the machine where collated documents rest after they???ve been processed
  • Paper stock: the physical properties of the paper (material, texture, color, etc.) that may determine certain handling needs
  • Straight stacking: document sets are stacked on top of one another
  • Suction (air) feed: air blasts are used to feed and separate individual sheets of paper
  • Trimmer: a machine that will cut or trim any undesired margins from a document
 
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