Getting to Know the Post Office
Q: We print a lot of self-mailers, so I'm trying to figure out the new Post Office automated mail regs on tab-sealing them and allowing for bar codes on the address panel. It seems one postmaster will tell you one thing, but if you go across town to another post office you get a different interpretation of the regs. Do you know a source for reliable information? And can you handle tab-sealing of self-mailers?
A: First, keep this phone number handy: 800-238-3150. This will put you in touch with the USPS's National Customer Support Center in Memphis, where you can talk to specialists in all areas of postal regulations.
Regarding bar codes: To qualify for automated mail rates on mail that is not pre-bar coded, you need to honor the "Bar Code Clear Zone"- keep a rectangular area measuring 4 3/4" x 5/8" clear of printed matter. This rectangle is positioned flush right at the bottom of the envelope or address panel:
If you need or your customer will print bar codes on a mailing, you need to be aware of the correct positioning of the bar codes. We've used The Attacher to tip on a copy of the "Bindagraphics Bar Code and FIM Guide" with this issue of Solutions. Keep it handy as a reference whenever you're laying out an address panel to meet current USPS automation requirements.
Tab sealing regulations for folded, letter-size self-mailers vary according to the number of leaves in the piece. In all cases, the folded edge must be parallel to the longest dimension. Here are the minimum requirements:
For single-leaf self-mailers: one tab, minimum of 28 lb. (17 x 22) or 70 lb. (25 x 38).
For multi-leaf self-mailers...
If only one tab is used, it must be in the middle of the top edge, folded edge must be at the bottom, and paper must be at least 24 lb./60 lb.
If two tabs are used, they must be along the longer edge, within one inch of each end; and the paper must be at least 20 lb./50 lb.
If the piece is accordion-folded, you need two tabs on the bottom edge and one on the top edge.
Note: continuous or spot-gluing may be substituted for tabs. And yes, Bindagraphics can handle all your self-mailer sealing requirements.
Planning Stamping and Embossing
Q: As a designer I often find myself wanting to spec foil stamping or embossing applications on a job, and sometimes it seems printers aren't really sure what can and can't be done. For example, I have a hard time getting a simple answer from a printer on what colors of foil are available. And some printers don't seem too confident about the criteria for stamping and/or embossing on coated vs. uncoated stocks. Can you help?
A: Stamping and embossing are specialized finishing operations that ideally should be carefully planned in advance by the designer, printer, and bindery jointly. If you're new to Bindagraphics, call me and I'll be happy to work with you and your printer; I've got 12 years of production experience in stamping and embossing.
Foil comes in literally hundreds of different colors, but the material does degrade over time so binderies don't keep all available colors in stock all the time. We always have frequently used colors-reds, blues, greens; the metallic silvers and golds-on hand, but if you have an unusual color requirement, we can probably match it and have the foil in our plant in a couple of days-the time it takes to make a die.
When your stamping application involves a design with a lot of precise detail, you're best off with a coated stock. On the other hand, the coating on the stock might show cracks if the embossing height is very high.
For very deep embossing, if detail is not too fine you should specify a highly textured or long-fiber uncoated stock. And metallic, rather than pigment, foil works best on such stock.
Remember, to get the results you want, you and your printer and a Bindagraphics expert should sit down together in advance and plan the job.
The Attacher's Versatility
Q: Actually we're combining here several questions received over the last few months about the capabilities of The Attacher when it comes to gluing various unusual types of objects, rather than paper to paper.
A: Yes, The Attacher can glue a plastic name plate to a printed sheet...
Yes, The Attacher can glue a laminated card to a membership application (and of course, we can do the film-laminating, too)...
And yes, The Attacher can glue foil-wrapped hard candy to a brochure...
In short, if you're wondering whether The Attacher can handle some out of the ordinary gluing application that your customer's interested in, the odds are that it can. Call me at 1-800-326-0300 for a quick confirmation.
Saddle-Stitching in Color
Q: What can you tell me about the color-coated saddle-stitching wire I've been hearing about?
A: Taconic Wire Co. in North Branford, CT (203-484-2863) now makes saddle-stitching wire in gold, black, red and white, in addition to standard silver. Unfortunately, it only seems to run well in Bostitch and Acme heads, not in our Muller Martini stitchers.
Flat-sheet, Cutting Saddle Stitching
& Receiving Supervisor