More than 25 different post-processes have been added inline with digital printers. Direct-mail produced directly off the end of a digital printer by using a mail-inserter to collate several previously printed pieces and stuff into a traditional envelope has been an elusive process. In recent years office speed desktop printer-inserters have become common, but their solutions are not scalable to high speed. For direct-mail production of speeds over 15,000 stuffed envelopes per hour, much more is needed. At the current digital printing speeds of 500 to 1000 feet per minute and paper web-width that allow multiple wide pieces to be printed, it is generally considered improbable to automate inserting- inline-with printing for the average printing/mailing company.
Mail-Inserters collate typically 4 to 7 pieces and stuff this bundle in a traditional envelope. The broad technology problems that had to be solved will be discussed in this paper. The reason it has taken so many years to achieve the production of collated and enveloped mail directly off press were investigated and the research findings are published here. The results are that rather than taking hours or days to print, insert and tray addressed mail in another department, mail is produced in-line with digital press and in the mail trucks within the hour. Labor costs are dramatically reduced. Integrity is increased and waste is decreased. Print-Insert-Tray inline mail processing is not just connected machines but an entirely new way of automatically producing traditional enveloped mail in minutes.