When first learning how to setup a paper folding machine, it can be difficult to understand how the machine works and knowing all the correct steps needed to setup and run the folder. The following information is a “technique” you might use to figure out the correct information needed to complete a quick and thorough setup. Remember the key word here is “TECHNIQUE” and this is not intended to teach the theory or mechanics of an actual paper folding machine. The intention here is to teach someone how to easily decide on a proper setup. Remember, paper folders are very versatile and there will often be more than one way to setup and run a folding job.

The goal here is to answer the following questions when setting up a folding machine:

  1. How is the job folded?
  2. How many times do you fold the piece?
  3. How many fold plates do I need to fold the job?
  4. How will I load the feeder?
  5. Which fold plates should I use?
  6. In the fold plates used, where should I set the fold stop at?
  7. How should I set each roller?

When you can continuously answer these questions correctly, you have mastered the most difficult part of setting up a paper folding machine.


Before we dive into answering all the questions, we need to know a little bit about the folding machine. It would be hard to answer some of our questions without first knowing something about the equipment. You must know the sheet size you can run and how many fold plates are available. For this training, it is assumed we are working with a common 26” wide folder with 4 fold plates.


The standard four (4) plate folder will have two (2) UP plates and two (2) DOWN plates. Each plate is number, 1, 2, 3, & 4, the ODD plates are UP and the EVEN plates are DOWN.

The folder will send the paper to each plate in order starting with the #1 plate and ending with the # 4 plate. A good way to visualize the folding process is by observing the following diagram:

FoldRollerSeqNotice the direction of the arrows, the sheet travels through the folder in the direction the big arrow is pointing, to the left. As the paper passes through the folder it will come to each fold plate in order. First it comes to the #1 plate and it will fold or deflect, then the #2 plate, then #3 and last #4. Also notice we have two UP folds and two DOWN folds. Look at the previous folder diagram and this diagram. Can you see the similarities?

To “deflect” is when you close a plate and do not fold in it; you open the deflector to use a fold plate to make a fold. The paper will “fold or deflect” in each plate, try to remember that even when you close the deflector and you are not using the plate for a fold, the paper will continue to be driven past it. Which brings us to the rollers, this standard folder with four (4) fold plates has six (6) fold rollers and two (2) slitter shafts “M” and these will be set accordingly to the job. The rollers and slitter shafts adjustments are numbered or marked; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and “M”. The adjustment on the Stahl folder marked with the “M” is to set the slitter shaft tension. This should not be confused with the “main” fold roller, that you will see references to elsewhere.  The “main” roller is also referred to as the “stationary” roller and this roller is NOT adjustable and doesn’t need to be set, thus leaving five (5) adjustable fold rollers out of the six (6). Each roller is numbered for the corresponding plate that the roller drives into, for instance: the #1 roller drives the sheet into (or past when deflecting) the #1 plate, the # 2 roller drives the sheet into or past the #2 plate, and so on…

#1 roller drives to the #1 plate

#2 roller drives to the #2 plate

#3 roller drives to the #3 plate

#4 roller drives to the #4 plate

#5 roller drives out to slitter shafts “M”

“M” slitter shafts drives out onto the delivery.

When setting these rollers and shafts you will adjust or set for the MINIMUM thickness that will be driven through. You must ALWAYS set ALL the rollers. It’s a common misconception that there is no need to set all the rollers if you are not using all the plates and this is WRONG! The paper travels through every roller no matter how many plates you are folding in, so remember to set ALL the rollers every time.


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