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The Envelope Opportunity

Digital envelope printing is skyrocketing at in-plants thanks to the availability of new digital envelope presses.

January 2012 By Bob Neubauer
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LIKE ANY in-plant manager, Glenda Miley is always on the lookout for new services her in-plant can offer. Still, when the manager of Auburn University's CopyCat operation spotted an ad in IPG for Xanté's Ilumina Digital Envelope Press two years ago, she didn't recognize the opportunity right away. Her first thought was, "We don't print that many envelopes."

Then she thought about it some more and realized there was no reason her in-plant couldn't print more of them. So after showing samples of envelopes printed on the Ilumina to her university and making her case, CopyCat won the bid to become Auburn's official printer of #9 and #10 one- and two-color envelopes.

Now, a year and a half after acquiring a Xanté Ilumina Digital Envelope Press, Miley considers it one of the best moves the Auburn, Ala., in-plant ever made.

"Our campus, which is used to offset, just loves the quality of the envelopes and the speed that I can get them out," she enthuses. "They can't believe that they're getting envelopes on the same day that they put the order in."

As a result, orders have been streaming in, to the tune of roughly 50,000 envelopes a month.

"We've done more than a million envelopes on it," Miley proclaims, proudly. She couldn't be happier with her decision to start printing envelopes.

Over the past couple of years, there has been a noticeable increase in envelope printing at in-plants. The trend has been enabled by the availability of small digital envelope presses from companies like Xanté, PSI Engineering, Intoprint Technologies and OKI Data Americas. All of the devices use the same OKI print engine but offer different feeding options. These devices hit the market just as many in-plants' old offset duplicators were breaking down and their operators started retiring.

Those who installed envelope printers have spread the word to other in-plants about their ease of use, print quality and ability to print envelopes on demand.

"It's given [customers] that freedom to not have to print 1,000 of something or 2,000 of something—and they like that," says Bob Keats, director of Document and Mail Services at Colgate University, in Hamilton, N.Y. "We just do it on demand." His 10-employee shop added an Intoprint DP100GA and has gotten more envelope work than expected as a result.


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