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COLLATING EQUIPMENT -- Collating Cravings

October 2001

The anticipation is over. PRINT 01 has come and gone. Printers from around the U.S. have headed home—although, for many, actually getting home after the terrorist attacks wound up being even more eventful than the show—with a full plate of information to digest after spending several days on the show floor in Chicago.

But distributors of collating equipment are banking on the PRINT show as being the appetizer that whet the appetite of printers hungry for collating gear. The equipment offered today includes a full menu of features and options to satisfy all of the industry's yearnings.

"The hot buttons are productivity, flexibility and ease-of-use," explains Mark Hunt, director of marketing for the finishing systems division at Standard Duplicating Machines. "Customers need systems that can collate and make booklets with speed and efficiency."

Throughput speeds are just one measure of productivity, Hunt points out. Users really need to know how many perfect books they can box and ship per shift, which he feels is a function of system reliability and consistent quality output. Flexibility relates to being able to quickly and easily changeover from job-to-job, or run two jobs simultaneously, he says.

Standard offers the Horizon SpeedVAC, a 10-station vertical suction collator with rotary-feed system. It feeds a broad range of stocks at up to 9,700 sets per hour. Up to six towers can be combined for 60 feed stations. The SpeedVAC has a touchscreen control console. Sheets can be delivered forward or backward into bookletmaking accessories, offset stackers or joggers for dual-directional productivity.

Integration Is Important
"Most of our customers are looking for integration features (mechanical and electrical) to connect the collator with automatic binders, saving working time," reveals Dr. Cesare Sassi, of American Binding. "The most required options are a multi-scanner for printing control, in-phase extra blow for very light paper and emergency exit for wrong copy, double, missing or inverted sheets. Customers are also looking for high-speed machines."

American Binding markets the S.8845 gathering machine with six to 36 stations. This machine gathers signatures or single sheets in continuous process and it provides a checking system for double or missed sheets on every station. The linear machine is composed by groups of three feeders each. Each group works independently and can be put before or after the carrying hook. If a group is not used, it can be disconnected and set aside.

One of the biggest trends affecting finishing devices, according to Mark Pellman, marketing manager for Baumfolder Corp., is the increased use of coated stocks and the growth of color in short-run jobs on coated stocks from imaging devices other than offset presses. This can cause printers to rethink what type of collator is best suited for their workflow.



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