Hydrafolder Troubleshooting

The Hydraxtor Hydrafolder was one of the most popular small-piece folders ever built. We have been able to account for at least 4,000 machines built before production was suspended in 1973. It can be a very reliable workhorse.

However, it can also be a pain, if things aren't kept "up to snuff". Preventative maintenance, in the form of checking for looseness and adjusting things to their proper settings [as covered in the manual], will go a long way toward lessening your parts bill and keeping your machines in production.

We no longer service the original model EH and FH computers for the folders, since neither of the people who used to do them under contract for us is willing to work on them anymore. However, we do have available a control from Automatic Control Systems that is a direct plug-in replacement for the computer. It sells for a bit over $2,100.00, and comes complete with a new solid-state photocell assembly.

Speaking of photocells, the original Photobell units are impossible to get. Years ago, we had them on order from Photobell for over a YEAR, with no scheduled ship date. Then we discovered that, for all intents and purposes, Photobell no longer existed. We have a kit that substitutes for the elevator photocell. Call for details.

Often, erratic folding with the older computers is not in the computer itself. In fact, computer failures are really quite rare. The most common "erratic fold" is really just channels A and B of the computer being adjusted differently. This can come from adjusting one channel, while the folder is actually USING the other; always make sure the "active" light on the front of the computer is on the channel you are adjusting before the towel is feed into the machine, and manually trip the computer back to that channel (by blocking the photocell momentarily) before the next towel is fed.

Another common problem involves slippage of the main belt. If your folder works fine feeding it one towel at a time, but the folding goes bad as soon as you have more than one towel going through the machine at once, you probably have a slipping belt. The cause of the slipping can be one or more things; the belt being stretched, the tension spring being improperly set, or the #5 roll being worn or glazed up.

If the belt is stretched too far, the belt tension spring will not be able to put sufficient tension on it to keep the speed constant. This will be evidenced by the spring being tightened all the way up against the frame. In this case, you should replace the belt before proceeding. New belts are currently $245.50, and we supply the endless polyester belts, rather than the cheap "clipper-lace" cotton belts. They are more difficult to install, but you do it far less often!

If the tension spring still has some travel left (two to three inches, preferably), start by tightening the belt up. Since the adjusting nut is in such a poor position (mounted behind the #5 roll), it is advisable to use a spare V-belt as a "speed wrench" when tightening or loosening the spring.

Should this fail, it is time to look at a new #5 roll, as your old one is probably "glass smooth", and unable to pull the main belt through well enough. The roll, without shaft, is $235.60. Shafts, bearings, pulleys and sprockets are also available.

Changing the main belt, of course, is the most dreaded repair in most people's minds. After all, just how much do you have to disassemble to get it changed? Surprisingly, not quite as much as most people do!

From page 31 of the FAC Hydrafolder manual covers the replacement procedure, which we will not repeat here. However, if your manual is missing, or your machine is an older EA or DA, which wouldn't have page 31, you can order a replacement manual from us. We charge a $25.00 copying fee for the FAC or EA manual, which includes the two page wide wiring schematic.