I see smudges
      • 12 Feb 2024
      • 3 Minutes to read
      • Contributors
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      I see smudges

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      Article Summary

      I see smudges on some of my mail. What is that all about? 

      Below is an excerpt from a USPS Rep regarding postal scuffing on automated mail.  Please note, this happens to ALL automated mail, not just digitally printed and not just mail sent from PRINTgenie | Deluxe.  It’s a result of the USPS machines that assist automated mail traveling through at a high rate of speed.  There is no other way for these machines to “grip” the mail traveling through, than machinery, and this scuffing is unavoidable.  Ideally, the USPS will maintain their machines on a regular basis, thus minimizing (but not eliminating) this scuffing.  

      At PRINTgenie | Deluxe, we consistently investigate which UV coating will best help protect the mail, but nothing we do can totally prevent this USPS scuffing from happening.  
The good news is with automated mail comes affordable postage rates!  The only alternative to this scuffing would be to send mail with a first-class stamp on each piece of mail, but for most of our customers, that cost would be prohibitive.  Another option would be to mail FLATS – those are hand cancelled by the USPS.  They do cost more in postage and take longer to be delivered, but for certain customers, this is preferable to USPS scuffing.
 Direct mail sent with automated postage rates is still the #1 choice of most of our customers and the best way we can help them get their message out quickly and affordably to their targeted lists!


      From: Sgarlata, Wadie M - USPS | Santa Ana, CA [mailto:Wadie.M.Sgarlata@usps.gov]  To: Deluxe Production Subject: About the "skids and scuffs" on the mail pieces.

      Hello production:

      I'm sorry you are still having issues with the "skids and scuffs" on the pieces. I know you are getting complaints from your customers. Believe me, it isn't just you! The machines have so many belts and the mail moves so fast, it is impossible to prevent the damage. The machines used to have some little "fingers" that helped with this problem but they were getting too hot and melting so they had to be eliminated. 

      I think this has become a bigger problem in the past 12 months because the machines are moving faster than ever. The production for the machines has increased at least 10% overall in the past year. The faster the mail moves, the hotter the belts get, the less gently the pieces are handled and the more likely the mail gets marks on the surface. 

      The coating you use on the mail can help with some of the marks but it can't prevent all of them. Since so much of your mail is for real estate people, most of the mail Impact brings in is sorted to the 5 digit zip code. That is the biggest help if only because the mail will only go through 1 more machine, to put the mail into route order for the carrier. 

      I found this video online. I have no idea who the host for this blog is but the video is made by the USPS and it was interesting, even to me! It shows the letter sorting machines and the FSS too, even some parcel sorting. Your mail doesn't need the "culling and canceling" but the DBCS sorters start around minute 3:15 into the video. It shows just how fast the machines were moving in 2014. Add 10% more speed now!

      I'd like to be able to say there was a sure way to avoid having the skid marks and scuffing on the mail. There isn't, and anyone who tries to say it can be prevented is not giving the right information. 

      Wadie Sgarlata Mailing Standard Specialist