In 2375, the Son'a under Ahdar Ru'afo brought the collector to Ba'ku with the collusion of Starfleet. Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Commander Worf, with the assistance of Subahdar Gallatin, temporarily halted its deployment by commandeering Ru'afo's flagship. Shortly after, Ru'afo beamed to the collector in an attempt to complete its activation. Picard followed him and, after a brief firefight with Ru'afo, was able to activate the collector's autodestruct; he was beamed away by the USS Enterprise-E moments before the collector exploded, while Ru'afo was killed.
The collector was normally unmanned and controlled remotely from Ru'afo's flagship, though it could also be operated directly from a console in its upper control matrix. The collector was equipped with several shield generators and an autodestruct mechanism with a two-second delay.
When deployed, the collector unfurled a pair of large "sails". It would then launch an injector assembly from its stern into Ba'ku's rings, triggering a thermolytic reaction that would disrupt the rings and allow its metaphasic particles to be drawn into the sails. As a side effect, the planet would be rendered uninhabitable for generations. One minute before the separation of the injector, cryogenic tanks within the collector vented flammable exhaust. (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Dialogue in the film mentions an "Injector Assembly One", though it is ambiguous whether this refers to the whole collector or only the detachable injector component. The Star Trek Customizable Card Game gives its name as Injector Assembly One. The sails of the collector are visually similar to those of the Bajoran lightship, though they served a completely different purpose.
The Son'a collector was designed by John Eaves, with the CGI model built by Santa Barbara Studios. It was intended to be 5000 feet (1524 meters) long, but Eaves noted that the scaling for the vessel was problematic throughout the movie.  For further information on the studio model, see: Son'a collector model.
In scene 246 of the final script version, the collector is also referred to as "THE SON'A SCIENCE VESSEL", a designation adhered to by its designer John Eaves. (The Secrets of Star Trek: Insurrection, pp. 92-93)