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a machine that puts together packages of punch cards from two presorted sets and chooses punch cards from stacks according to assigned codes. The collator is one of the pieces of equipment used to mechanize accounting.
A collator usually has two tracks, which include card-feeding devices, monitoring equipment, and two receiving pockets. The selected cards are arranged separately in a third pocket, which is common to both tracks. The information read from the punch cards goes to registers, which store and compare it; there are two registers per track. In addition to processing punch cards from different stacks, a collator can also compare the characteristics of two cards following one after another in the same stack. The collators produced in the USSR process 80-column punch cards at a speed of 300–400 cards a minute; they can be modified to process 45-column cards as well.
REFERENCEVinokurov, P. S. Mashiny raskladochno-podborochnye i sortiroval’nye: RPM80-2M, RPM80-2MS, SE80-3. Moscow, 1972.
collator(1) A punch card machine that merges two decks of cards into one or more stacks.
(2) A utility program that merges records from two or more files into one file.