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Collating Systems-- Adding to the Pile

November 2000
BY ERIK CAGLE


Imagine a superstore that sold all makes and models of commercial printing equipment—from prepress to press and finishing gadgets. Obviously, this store would be rather large, with freight trains taking the place of shopping carts, making it a tad impractical. But that would ruin our story line.

Anyway, today is your lucky day. The store is having a CMYK-light special on finishing equipment, and there are collating systems galore to be had at the right price. You take the aisle 1,700 trolley and get off in front of a procession of collating systems looking very nice in their display boxes. Cost is no object for you (no laughing in the back), so you're going to judge these units strictly on performance merits, features and accessories. Finding out how one system differentiates itself from the next is where the fun really begins. So have a bag of complimentary popcorn and take notes, because you may be tested on this by your department supervisor.

The top three features that customers seek in a collating system are flexibility, productivity and quality, according to Jay Katz, vice president of Prosystem USA, which distributes, installs and services the Maxima line of collating and finishing machinery manufactured by the Obscure Co. of Italy. Flexibility is enhanced by the system's ability to run a variety of work type, size and material. Dual-stream capability and modular finishing options, Katz says, can make a system attractive to customers with varied applications.

"One of the main items that sets our system apart from other machinery is that it operates with a minimal amount of mechanical movements of both the machine and, more importantly, the material," he says. "The Maxima incorporates a unique, high-speed, straight line material flow, eliminating the 90-degree turns commonly found on other collating systems. This yields more reliable speeds, while it helps to eliminate static, misfeeds and damage to the material that you are collating."

Ron Bowman, vice president of sales and marketing for Rosback, notes that customers seek features such as the ability to collate a vast array of products, tool-free ease of changeover with little operator skill required, the ability to load on-the- run without stopping to reload, as well as heavy-duty design with low maintenance.

Rosback touts the Setmaster as the most operator-friendly on the market with a simplistic, open design. "The Setmaster sets itself apart from others in its versatile, tough design and ability to productively collate from one-time carbon to vinyl floor tiles—and everything in between," Bowman remarks.
 

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