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What are Bursters?

Bursters are machines that save time and effort in handling forms by horizontally separating forms along a perforation. Bursters may process single to multi-part forms, dependent upon the machine you purchase. Burster models range from your basic tabletop/desktop to floor standing models for the needs of a small office and multi-feature heavy duty industrial floor standing designs for the heavy volume 24/7/365 user.

Factors to Consider Before You Buy
  • What type of forms can a burster handle?
    Bursters process continuous or cut sheet forms. Different models handle forms of varying lengths, widths and weight. A critical factor to consider when purchasing a burster is the number of parts per form that the burster can process. You should consider whether you intend to process non-carbon forms or carbon interleaved forms, since the weight of the paper being processed determines the number of parts it can handle. Another important factor is whether you are going to process two-up or two-side forms (side by side forms).

  • What modifications need to be made to the forms?
    • Trimming: Trimmers are used to trim margins, including the removal of pinhole tractor feed edging. In selecting margin trimmers you have the option of choosing whether they are fixed or adjustable. When buying adjustable trimmers, consider the adjustment range of the trimmers for the various forms you are going to process. When generating a lot of trim, how to dispose of the waste becomes an issue. You may need a base/stand to contain the trimmings. A margin trimmer chopper can be used to compact leftover material that is going into the base/stand.
    • Slitting/splitting: Center slitters slit two-wide forms and double bursting capacity. With a center slitter, specialty cuts can be made. Center slitters can be fixed or adjustable, allowing for customized cuts.
    • Folding: The capability to fold forms prior to bursting them is only an option on some machines; but there are many machines designed to handle both jobs simultaneously.
    • Imprinting: If you're using a burster for imprinting, the size of the forms needs to be considered. If a check signer is going to be used, consider security measures. Removable signature saddles or a interchangeable signature plates are standard security options. If you need to imprint on more than one side of a form, another imprinter may have to be added.
  • How fast do you have to process forms?
    The speed/ rate for processing forms is measured in either feet per minute or forms per hour. Speed can be fixed or variable, i.e. "adjustable".

  • What is the volume of forms you will be processing?
    The size of the jobs in which the burster is intended to be used, user frequency and the number or types of forms that need to be processed are all considerations when selecting a burster. You must decide whether your needs are light, heavy-duty or industrial to find the burster that performs at the level you need.

  • What are your paper processing and paper flow needs?
    Forms have to be fed in to a burster. This is done by using either an in-feed tray or a hopper. You should evaluate the load capacity of in-feed trays and hoppers. Some machines will allow you to feed continuous forms directly from a box. If necessary, forms can also be fed into a burster through a decollator or through a merger.

    The mechanism used for running and processing forms through the burster can be either friction feed or pin tractor feed. Using a pin tractor feed is the better option if you are going to use heavy stock or where you need precise alignment, e.g. with imprinting or trimming.

    Forms can be fed from the burster into a receiving tray, or a conveyor/stacker that keeps the forms in a stacked, sequential order. If you are considering utilizing a stacker, consider the capacity you require, i.e. the size of the stacker. If a high quantity of forms is being processed, you may need a deep and/or power drop stacker. Other options can be added to the output side of a burster such as a decollator or a recollator.

  • Do you have a budget you need to stick closely to? Expensive models can be loaded with features or options that are added to basic models and, in most instances, manufacturers will accept custom orders to suit the specific needs of a customer. Expensive models process forms faster, can burst and process more "parts" per form, allow for more modifications with adjustable margin trimmers, either split forms or makes specialty cuts with an adjustable center slitter, and are equipped with a base with a trim bucket to hold margin trimmings. Basic models, while economical and suitable for the requirements of most users, will have limitations on speed, variety of forms that can be handled and modifications that can be made to forms during processing.

  • Do you want to make adjustments manually or automatically? Do you want to program the adjustments?
    Bursters priced from moderate to expensive may have electronic control panels to monitor operation, self-diagnostics, and pre-programmable features such as settings for form lengths and margins, and power-activated features, such as adjustable side guides.

  • What are your safety concerns?
    Safety features such as interlocks and covers prevent and minimize the risk of injury to users.

  • Do you have size, space and placement considerations?
    Size, space and placement are important considerations when deciding which burster to choose. Desktop and tabletop models allow you to economize on space.

  • What features do you need to make paper handling and maintenance easier?
    For neatness you may want to add a base/cabinet with a bucket designed to hold trimmings or a margin trim chopper to compact material and reduce the need to empty waste. Other features to consider are adding counters, a decollator to separate multi-part forms, extra wide margin trimmers, an imprinter that can be used to place signatures, logos or seals on checks, a "Last Form Switch" that automatically shuts down the power on the machine when the last form is processed, a jam detector, a jog switch for form alignment, power switches such as an on/off switch, and roller type.

  • Do you need rollers that are resistant to the chemicals found in non--carbon forms?
    Other helpful features to consider are sound reduction kits, static eliminators or brushes to reduce paper clumping or jamming.

  • What type of feeder do you need?
    Forms are fed into bursters using either friction or pin tractors. Pin tractors feed like a sprocket with teeth that project through perforations in the margins to align forms more precisely and consistently during a form run. Pin tractor feeds are better for holding multi-part forms when bursting, when trimming critical documents such as checks, while imprinting, or using heavy stock.

Types of Bursters
  • Desktop and Tabletop Bursters
    Small and compact models that accommodate either continuous or cut sheet forms. These are suitable for the home or small office.

  • Floor Standing Bursters Require more space and are required to meet heavy-duty industrial needs. Floor Standing Bursters (generally) have the added ability to process large quantities of continuous forms.

  • Continuous Form Feed: pre-printed, connected forms that are perforated where they can be separated. A continuous form feed burster handles continuous forms contrasts with a cut sheet burster that handles cut sheets.
  • Cut Sheet: separate, non-attached piece of paper such as 8-1/2" x 11" typing or copy paper. A cut sheet burster handles cut sheets as opposed to a continuous form feed burster that handles continuous forms. A cut sheet burster can be used for checks, coupons, tickets, notices, labels, etc.
  • Decollator: separates parts of forms; can be layers or plies.
  • Hopper: holds the forms being fed into the machine before processing. The term "in-feed pan" is used interchangeably with the term "hopper".
  • Hopper Capacity: number of forms or the weight of the forms that a hopper or in-feed pan can hold.
  • Infeed Pan or Infeed Tray: interchangeable with the term "hopper".
  • Jog Switch: allow the user to "jog", i.e. move paper in steps, through the machine.
  • Margin Trim Chopper: chops and shreds margin trimmings allowing compact storage of leftover waste; Makes disposal of trimmings easier and less frequent.
  • Merger: this feature will split a form in two (e.g. with a center slitter); puts one part of the form on top of the other, runs them through the burster one behind the other (staggered), puts the forms onto a conveyor/ stacker and stack the forms. This feature is useful when two-up forms are being used to speed up the paper handling process. If a high volume of forms is being processed a power drop stacker can be added. With a merging feature side-by-side, continuous forms can be imprinted, slit, merged, burst and delivered in sequential order.
  • Merger/ Imprinter/One-wide: will imprint on one side of a form and not the other. If imprinting is necessary on two sides another imprinter has to be added.
  • Parts: describes the number of layers or plies that a pre-printed form has. Some manufacturers in their specifications for bursters and decollators count carbon interleaves as parts. Most manufactures do not. The manufacturers that do not count the carbon interleaves as parts make a distinction between forms with and without carbon.
  • Power Drop Stacker: holds more stacked forms than a conveyer stacker. This stacker drops down as it fills allowing it to hold more forms.
  • Recollator: puts the layers of a form that have been separated by a decollator back together again.
  • Static Brush: eliminates static in high static conditions, as with laser printing.
  • Tractor Feed: tractor feed ensures accurate registration for multi-part set bursting, imprinting and trimming of critical documents such as checks. Allows handling of heavier stock.
  • Tri-color Ink Roll: special ink roll that has three separate colors; Imprinters use this roll to create signatures, logos or seals in three colors increasing security because they are more difficult to alter or forge.
  • Trimmers: Cutters used to trim the right and left side margins of forms being processed through a burster. Margin trimmers may be adjustable or fixed in position. The term "trimmers" is sometimes used interchangeably with the term "slitters".
  • Two-up or Two-side Forms: two pre-printed forms that are side by side.
  • Slitters: cutters used to cut paper. Margin trimmers are sometimes referred to as trimmers. Margin trimmers may be adjustable or fixed in position. An adjustable center slitter is moveable in the center of the machine and can be used to make specialty cuts.
  • Vertical Folder: will fold a form and then burst it. For example a vertical folder with fold an 8-1/2" x 11" form to 4-1/4" x 11" and then burst the form where desired.