Collating Systems — Adding to the Pile
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.
Ease of operation, speed and productivity, durability and the ability to produce a wide variety of applications, such as insertions and CD booklets, top the wish lists for customers, according to Paul Steinke, marketing director for the finishing systems division at Duplo USA. It launched the new System 4000 collating/bookletmaking machine at Graph Expo in September.
"The new System 4000 contains a unique, vacuum channel design for feeding the stock," Steinke remarks. "Each bin contains an independent vacuum and air supply, which provides equally consistent feeding efficiency from bin to bin, regardless of the number of bins in the system."
Steinke notes that the left direction provides bookletmaking at speeds up to 4,200 booklets per hour and the right direction provides offset or straight stacking of sets up to 10,000 sets per hour.
There have been particular issues surrounding which variety of collator is most appropriate for the user's applications. According to Bob Flinn, director of business development at Standard Finishing Systems, the increase in glossy paper stocks, digital imaging and the need for versatility have allowed suction feed to become the primary choice over friction-feed designs.
"With the reduction in run lengths driven by more target marketing and personalization, customers are increasingly seeking collating equipment with very quick changeover and minimal or zero makeready," Flinn remarks. "Recognizing this need, as well as the shortage of skilled operators, automation has become a key advantage."