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4 Things Your Envelope Company Should Ask You

By John Travis

You know a jammed envelope can cost you time and money. And when you’re writing your envelope specifications, it’s critical to design specifically for your inserter.  

Having a robust conversation with your salesperson before you place your envelope order can make all the difference. A skilled salesperson will know the right questions to ask in terms of designing the best envelopes for your inserting equipment. 

Here are four questions your envelope company should ask you when placing your order: 

1. What kind of inserting equipment will be used? 

Knowing the make and model of the inserting equipment that will be used can help your envelope manufacturer design your envelope. Inserters typically have envelope specification materials specific to the make and model that include requirements from envelope size to envelope packing to storage techniques.  

In general, envelope seams, shoulder angles and flaps are critical specifications to consider for mailpiece insertion because these are the parts of the envelope that come in contact most with the inserted materials. While modern inserters can be more forgiving than some of the less flexible, older models, it’s important to strike a balance between the envelope’s specifications and inserter specifications for optimal runtime performance. 

2. How many inserts will be inserted into the envelope?  

When designing your envelope, communicate what you will insert into the envelope to your salesperson. Multiple pages can cause stress on all sides of the envelope and can impact requirements for seam widths.  

3. What are the tolerance requirements for your inserting equipment?  

Inserting equipment has tolerance requirements in terms of the height and width of space needed around the inserted materials. In general, you’ll want to leave at least ½" of space on all sides of the inserted material(s), but always check inserter specifications for the exact requirement.  

4. Will your envelope feature a window? 

If your envelope features a window, specifications should be considered both from an inserting and USPS® perspective.  

Inserting Equipment 

Inserters often have requirements for the types of patch materials that can be used (e.g. polystyrene film) on window envelopes. If a return address and/or recipient addresses are included on your inserted form, the window opening needs to ensure the address(es) are fully readable yet sized correctly so confidential information is not shown through the window. Last, be sure to discuss the measurement requirements for where the window patch will be glued to the envelope as this can impact productivity once the envelope is running on the inserter. If not accurately placed, the space between the envelope and the window patch can cause snagging with the inserted materials. 

USPS® Requirements 

The mailpiece must meet USPS specifications to be compliant for automation rates. The tap test is used to determine if a mailpiece meets requirements where a delivery address is visible with an 1/8” clearance at all times. For example, if your address window measures 1 1/8 x 4 1/8 inches, the address on the insert cannot be larger than 1 x 4 inches.  

Envelope Experts 

Your envelopes play a critical role in the success of your insertion process and in your overall mailing. The sales experts at Tension can help guide you to the right envelope for your project. Contact us to get started. 

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