Collators The Options Are Open
The ability to handle single sheets and signatures, plus specialty items like NCR, tabs and envelopes, is a desirable characteristic, says David Spiel, co-owner of Spiel Associates.
"One should also determine whether it is top load-bottom feed, meaning that it can be fed continuously without having to stop the machine," Spiel says. "No matter how fast a collator runs, stopping to reload will severely affect net output."
David Withers, advertising manager at MBM Corp., believes a collator that is fast, easy to use and versatile will contribute greatly to a company's bottom line.
"In many businesses, more than one person will use the collator at one time or another, so having a machine that is user-friendly is important," he says. "Look for collators with simple control panels that ensure ease of operation and indicator lights to guide you through automatic procedures. A good collator should be versatile enough to work efficiently with copiers, laser printers, digital duplicators and offset presses."
The functionality of the control panel is also an important aspect of the collating system, points out Mark Pellman, marketing manager for Baum. "Some collating products only provide indicator lights that either blink or are flashing, or stay on solid when indicating an operational error or feature. Each type of lighting means something else, but the operator has to get the operator's manual to determine what the light means.
"Determine how complicated the inserting modes and alternating bin modes are to set up. Determine how many individual adjustments are required when changing jobs on the collator. The more adjustments simply means the more chances for additional changes and more setup time."
Versatility, expandability, ease of operation and dependability are keys to ensuring high productivity, according to Cliff Thompson, of Streamfeeder.
"We design our Universal collator systems with a customer's current and potential projects in mind," he explains.