GMA Unveils Two New Inserters p.72

By: Jim Rosenberg SLS-2000 handles bigger packages faster and easier;
Alphaliner succeeds the Muller Martini 227 sp.

BOASTING FASTER, EASIER inserting of larger packages, GMA headed into Nexpo '95 with orders in hand from seven newspapers for 20 of its new SLS-2000 inserters, most with or framed for two jacket hoppers.
The first to ship will be among three going to the Boston Globe. Now under construction, the College Point plant of the New York Times will house eight of the new inserters. Another eight will go into four Southern dailies of various sizes, including four in the Ledger of Lakeland, Fla.
Yet another new machine is headed the short distance from GMA's Bethlehem, Pa., plant to the Levittown, Pa., headquarters of the Bucks County Courier Times, where it also will insert other Calkins group newspapers.
After three years in development, GMA gave its own employees and representatives from several newspapers an early-June preview of the new equipment in operation. In addition to the inserter's first buyers, some other customers were aware of the product but unable to wait for it.
For example, the Miami Herald, which was to take delivery of two SLS-1000s for its new remote mailroom, turned down the SLS-2000 demo model, according to GMA.
And while Cox's flagship Atlanta papers will use a pair of the new inserters, the schedule at the chain's Dayton Daily News called for something sooner. Across the assembly hall from Boston's new 8:2 machine with Press to Pocket sat an SLS-1000 undergoing remanufacturing for Dayton.
In terms of product processing, the new machine marks a significant advance toward the goal of press-speed inserting. With a mechanical rating of 40,000 cycles per hour in double production, GMA puts SLS-2000 operating speed at 25,000 copies for standard production and up to 32,000 copies in double mode.
Capacity ranges from two to 40 inserts (modular feeders can be added in two-hopper increments) and packages processed through the SLS-2000 can be thick ? more than 400 broadsheet pages and more than 800 tabloid pages.
With the SLS-2000, GMA is promoting 30%-40% greater productivity than can be achieved now with its SLS-1000.
A GMA spokesman also noted that "the whole machine has fewer moving parts, and fewer parts," than the SLS-1000 or any other inserter. It also requires less lubrication.
The SLS-2000, its jogging tables and smaller electrical box stand a little lower than their SLS-1000 counterparts. Unlike the older model, side-mounted controls on the SLS-2000 do not require operators to reach over the inserter. The new design also has oil-bathed enclosed gearing and a sound-muffling enclosure.
Automatic hopper loaders also are lower and easily attached and detached, with virtually wrenchless set-up and adjustment. The new loader's infeed height is adjustable and its stack level monitoring more precise. Side guides are adjustable on only one side of the loader.
Similar wrenchless adjustment is possible on the grippers. Rather than a chain drive, the interlocked pockets "form their own chain," said the GMA spokesman. In addition to vacuum and vacuum-assisted lap openers, a side opener offers on-the-fly adjustment to open tabloids and broadsheets at different sections.
On the controls side, the SLS-2000 sports a graphical user interface on the display of its PC-based Inserter Management Systems, which replaces the DEC-based Package Monitoring System. The Missed Insert Repair System comes standard on the new inserter, and downstream repair is also available.
Throughput on the SLS-1000 ordinarily ran to 18,000-20,000 copies per hour (with a 25,000 cycles/hour mechanical rating).
GMA president Randy Seidel attributed his new machine's increased processing speed in part to closer spacing of the gripped jackets. At the point where jackets are turned back to repair a missed insert (where there are no sensors), the actual rate of travel is slower to avoid ejecting the product.
GMA demonstrated the SLS-2000 in double production at full speed with two jacket feeders running at up to 16,000 cph. In the absence of a press, pallet-stacked jackets were fed into a high-speed Muller Martini loader for subsequent winding onto Muller Martini PrintRolls, from which they were unwound to the inserter. Inserted papers were conveyed to two Muller Martini CN25 PrintStack stackers.
(Developed for the European market, Muller's 70,000-cph loader is used with its 40,000-cph, 10-station Newsliner inserter. The fast loader may of interest to some U.S. papers with remote print sites.)
By early September, Bob Mayer expects to have an SLS-2000 in Levittown handling inserting for the Courier Times, Doylestown, Pa., Intelligencer/Record and Burlington County Times, Willingboro, N.J.
Assistant general manager and production director in Doylestown, Mayer acknowledged that the SLS-2000 will cost jobs.
He noted, however, that mailroom workers are aware of the pending change and that all those affected are part-timers working fewer than 25 hours per week. The machine for the Calkins papers will handle two jackets and 18 inserts.
According to Seidel, GMA holds about a 60% share of the U.S. inserter market, with almost 350 machines installed at about 120 sites. The company has 135 North American newspaper customers and a half-dozen commercial users, as well as 37 overseas customers.


Introduced last month in Europe at the Drupa exposition by its Swiss parent company, GMA also previewed ? and is showing at Nexpo ? the Muller Martini Alphaliner inserter. The first 15,000-cph Alphaliner has been running in Allentown at National Inserting Systems, owned by GMA founder John F. Conners.
Faster and more versatile than Muller's Model 227, which is limited to 14 inserts, the Alphaliner is expandable to 30:1 in four-hopper modules. Developed for direct mailer Advo, the machine is designed for newspaper, TMC and commercial applications.
Alphaliner handles a variety of inserts, from large, thin sheets to booklets to smaller items, delivering packages up to 11/4-inch thick.
Like the SLS-2000, the Alphaliner has a low profile and PC-based control system with selective feeding, can be loaded from either side, adjusts without a wrench and detects misses/unopened jackets. Unlike the 227, which it replaces, the Alphaliner's belt-controlled stream is entirely enclosed. The feeder accepts up to 24 pages. A slight modification allows feeding of small, light, single sheets.
While an SLS inserter runs jackets under separate inserts one at a time, the Alphaliner gathers the various inserts in sequence and places them together into a jacket that is picked up by gripper delivery conveyor. The company also separately set up and demonstrated its small-product feeder, able to move 32,000 small, thin cards per hour.


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