I thought I'd show you a piece of equipment from work. This is the stacker. I suppose it would be sensible to start at the beginning of the line and trace it through to the end. But I didn't think to do that. So, you'll get it piecemeal.
But, I'll at least explain the order. At the beginning of the stuffing machine is the outer paper. That might be a shopping section, but it's the largest paper in size. All the inserts are put in stations along the stuffing machine. When it comes out of the stuffing machine, all the inserts are inside the paper.
At that point, the paper gets sucked up near the ceiling on a belt system, and travels across about half the room. OK... now we can talk about the stacker.
From the belt near the ceiling the paper comes down through the area where the orange stripes are. The papers fall into the big open center of the stacker and are counted. When half the bundle size is counted the orange bars inside switch the pile around so the second half gets stacked in the other direction.
When the pile is full it is pushed out the back to a conveyor where it goes to the bundler, a human who directs the pile to the strapper, a machine that puts the plastic binding strap around it. Unless the pile is a mess. Then the bundler scrambles around to restack and sort and recount it.
There are so many places in this whole process where things can and do go wrong, it's a wonder anyone gets a properly stuffed paper.
It's also very noisy. Too noisy to talk, even. If you need to tell anyone something you have to yell. Any readers who know me really well know that I don't like high noise levels. I'm not going to start complaining about this job. I knew exactly what it was going to be when I started. But I will say that I spent most of the day, today, sitting in the quiet and more or less staring at a wall. Sometimes I just need to do that.
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