If the start/finish line at the Indianapolis 500 is a row of preserved bricks, the inkjet presses at L & D Mail Masters should have the same kind of lore as the Brickyard Speedway.
In essence, the inkjets serve as one of the final stops on the finishing route in the L & D Mail Masters production facility before being bound to a letter carrier’s bag. Before you can get to the checkered flag, there is a need for a pitstop that makes the necessary adjustments to win.
The inkjet station, in this instance, puts the special final touches to send the piece on its journey.
The inkjet station is where the printing of variable information (ex. mailing address) is placed on each piece that runs through the process. Pieces of various sizes –– small postcards to magazines –– make their way through the ink press, along with envelopes. The technology behind the process utilizes variable data to print provided mailing lists on your mail piece. Once the data is loaded, the press prints a specific address to each item that passes through.
Production options go beyond the mailing address. Inkjets have the ability to print more:
- USPS Intelligent Mail Barcodes (how the postal service sorts and tracks to deliver mail)
- Mailing permits (a way to pay for postage)
- Return address (use for branding and lets USPS know where to return undeliverable mail)
- Bitmap images (greyscale converted to black and white, commonly used for logos)
If you had an inkling the fun doesn’t stop there, you are correct.
Mailers needing a final fold can go through the plow folding segment of the inkjet station. Starting flat, a card can be folded in half as it goes through a metal fold former. This creates a perfect parallel crease. Guided through the machine, the clean fold is commonly used on heavier weighted stocks of paper.
Also done in that inline pass, is the ability to secure the fold so the piece can make it properly through the mail. Tabs can be adhered to the edge of the piece. While the USPS has regulations on where the tabs can be placed and how many (commonly one or two tabs), our years of postal experience assures the sealing will be what is required. Adhesion with glue is an option as well.
Postage stamps on rolls can be added to materials when clients prefer that option over a printed indicia. Stickers, usually branded by the client, could be machine applied as well.
There is a lot the inkjet station can accomplish before being sorted for the local post office. Up to 500,000 pieces of mail can glide through the multiple inkjet stations at L & D Mail Masters per shift. Maybe not as fast as an Indy car, but accomplishes a lot in a short time frame.