GRAPH EXPO 14 Tales - Part One
"The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!" So said the printing industry last week in Chicago! Really folks, it was a GOOD show. Even many of the offset vendors were touting a good year, and floor traffic was strong. I worked in the MBO America booth, but still had a bit of a chance to look around and see what was new.
Many years of attending GRAPH EXPO have taught me that, like the great markets of the Middle East and Asia, sometimes treasures are hidden away in the back of the halls. So I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across the Gunther Technologies stand. Now I've known Gunther for many years. This is a very specialized manufacturer, which makes mail inserting systems for the insurance industry. A Gunther inserter not only inserts policy documents into a "flats" envelope, but it maintains 100 percent matching integrity of all of the enclosed documents. In addition, the machine integrates seamlessly into the ADF computer mail environments within most large insurance firms.
But what took me by surprise was their newest creation, an express mail envelope inserter. You know, those FedEx, UPS, and Priority mail cardboard envelopes that have a self-seal flap? I started my career in the direct mail business, and I had never run across a machine that could open this type of "envelope" and insert material into it. But this system was stuffing a whole bunch of material in at high speeds and running well. I was informed that this particular system was destined for a medical testing lab. The opportunities for this type of machine seemed to be pretty substantial. All kinds of time-sensitive material that needed to be expressed could now benefit from automation. They did not use a "peal-and-seal" envelope, but instead applied a bead of hot-melt adhesive to seal the express envelope flap.
Two print-and-apply label dispensers worked alternately to keep up with the system's speed in addressing the envelopes. This system definitely fell into the "new" category, and proved that innovation is doing quite well in finishing and mailing. Good work, Gunther!