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4-STATE CODE & USPS IMPLEMENTATION FOR FLATS IDEAlliance technical team 4SC . Q . Why do we have a technical team? Q. What’s all the fuss about anyway? Q. Is the USPS cooperative and sympathetic to the need? Q. What are we doing? Q. What’s the likely outcome?.

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4 state code usps implementation for flats idealliance technical team 4sc l.jpg

4-STATE CODE & USPS IMPLEMENTATION FOR FLATSIDEAlliance technical team 4SC

Q. Why do we have a technical team?

Q. What’s all the fuss about anyway?

Q. Is the USPS cooperative and sympathetic to the need?

Q. What are we doing?

Q. What’s the likely outcome?


4 state code usps implementation for flats what is the 4 state code and why is it important l.jpg

4-STATE CODE & USPS IMPLEMENTATION FOR FLATSWhat is the 4 State Code and why is it important?

The 4 State Code is the physical printed element enabling the intelligent mail and one code initiatives on first class mail and flats.

It will replace both Postnet and Planet


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4-STATE CODE & USPS IMPLEMENTATION FOR FLATSWhy is the 4 State Code called 4 State?

1

2

3

4

Simple! 4 possible states Full Ascender Tracker Descender


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4-STATE CODE & USPS IMPLEMENTATION FOR FLATSWhat’s the issue about ?

Since 2001/2 the industry has been submitting 4SC samples through various vehicles to the USPS. The USPS received them and confidently predicted as late as Dec 2006 to the IDEAlliance members

WE ARE 100% CONFIDENT A SPECIFICATION CAN BE FOUND THAT IS SUPPORTED BY EXISTING PRINTING EQUIPMENT AND BY OUR DECODING TECHNOLOGY


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Shorter Height Test Results

Direct Extract CUT and PASTED

from USPS communication

Feb 07

  • Testing done on AFSM 100 & APPS

    • Testing showed no degradation @ .125” height

    • Uses Lockheed Martin and Omni Planer Decoders

  • Testing done on UFSM

    • Significant read rate decline at .125” height

      • 95+% at .134” height

      • ~25% at .125” height

  • As a result, flat specification can not be adjusted below .134” at this time


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4-STATE CODE & USPS IMPLEMENTATION FOR FLATSIDEAlliance technical team 4SC

Determination of the optimal inkjet 4-state barcode specification through a field evaluation of the UFSM with current inkjet technology

Objective:

To establish a specification that allows the use of existing predominant technologies to print the new 4SC (intelligent mail barcode) without compromising, yield, productivity, or flexibility.

Two possible outcomes:

1 A real and workable solution

2 A lobby position


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4-STATE CODE & USPS IMPLEMENTATION FOR FLATSIDEAlliance technical team 4SC

Estimated cost of complying to this specification is between $90,000,000 and

$180,000,000 direct equipment costs alone

Alternative technologies are available

Use more energy (environment)

Cost more to buy

Cost more to operate

Ironically less efficient


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4-STATE CODE & USPS IMPLEMENTATION FOR FLATSIDEAlliance technical team 4SC

In conjunction with a USPS facility

Determination of the optimal inkjet 4-state barcode specification through a field evaluation of the UFSM with current inkjet technology (UFSM)


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Recap Considerations

  • USPS AFSM100/APPS results

  • USPS UFSM1000 results

  • Industry position

  • Testing plan for Carol Stream

  • Examination of 4-State Code: Inkjet-related Parameters


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AFSM100/APPS/UFSM

  • Testing carried out by USPS

  • Report by Gary Reblin

  • Study into minimum effective bar height

  • Samples supplied by multiple commercial printers


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AFSM100/APPS

  • Testing showed no degradation at 0.125in height

  • Read-rate >97% at 0.115in height

  • Lockheed Martin and Omni Planner decoders

Information courtesy of Reblin_MTAC113


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UFSM

  • Significant read-rate decline at 0.125in

  • Read-rate 95+% at 0.134in height

  • Read-rate ~25% at 0.125in height

Information courtesy of Reblin_MTAC113


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Industry Position

  • Large installed base of Domino JetArray and Kodak 5120 printers in major commercial printers

  • Over 500 major mailers effected

  • Costs of transition estimated to be $100,000,000+

  • Many associated costs with transition


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Testing Plan for Carol Stream

  • Part One

    • Set up on-site printing facility with Domino JetArray and Kodak 5120

  • Part Two

    • Determine test parameter extrema

  • Part Three

    • Detailed parametric evaluation development of proposed specification

  • Part Four

    • Review of results and action plan with IDEAlliance and then USPS


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Testing Plan for Carol Stream

  • Actions needed?

    • Preparation of test equipment

    • Assignment of an engineer

    • Collaboration of materials, equipment, test plan

  • Schedule

    • Within 3 weeks BUT materials and approvals required will ship complete


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4-State Code: Inkjet-related Parameters

Review of the specific barcode items that will be evaluated with respect to the inkjet technology

Tricky because PASS / FAIL only on decoder outputs. Thus deterministic testing is required.


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Specific barcode items for consideration

  • Height

    • Overall

    • Track bar

    • Voids

  • Non-linearity (skew)

  • Width

  • Address block gap


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Height – Overall

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Height – Overall

  • Current height (F-bar) spec is difficult to achieve with JetArray and 5120

  • JetArray

    • Physical spacing between jets in the print-head limits height achievable

    • Variation in throw-distance with selective-stitched product creates a ‘natural’ height variation

  • 5120

    • Overall image height of 1in and a fixed number of dot positions restrict height that can be achieved

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Height – Overall

  • Where is the bar measured in practice?

  • PAST RESULTS CONFLICT INDUSTRY SUBMISSIONS AND USPS MEASUREMENTS DIFFERED

  • Therefore results uncertain


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Height – Overall

Action

  • Test to re-appraise USPS tests on overall bar height.

  • Test a range of heights independent of subsidiary parameters (void, address gap, bar width etc). Obtain height minimum.

  • Alter subsidiary parameters to determine if height minimum can be reduced further

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Height – Track bar

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Height – Track bar

  • Consideration – if the track bar height is reduced relative to the other bars, do the F/A/D stand-out more and therefore get a better read.

  • Consideration – UPU spec quotes T-bar height as a function of A/D height

    • (T=0.6 to 1.33 x A)

Information from UPU S18d-5


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Height – Track bar

  • Consideration – with small numbers of drops available there are minimal to zero intervals on different T-bar heights.

  • Eg. F-bar = 9 dp with height of 0.180in

    • @T=3 drops is 0.060in - in spec

    • @T=4 drops is 0.080in – at upper limit

    • @T=2 drops is 0.060in - below lower limit

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Height – Track bar

Action

  • Test to determine ratio of track bar to other bars.

    • Use ‘height minimum’ obtained in Overall Height test.

    • Alter T-bar to determine if height can be reduced further.

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Height - Voids

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Drop

0.0165

Drop

0.0150

Void

0.006

Void

0.004

Height - Voids

  • Constructive use of voids

    • Permit taller bar with less drops (greater speed or less skew)

    • Reduce implications of drop-diameter on code quality

Diagram showing void and drop diameter comparing MEK and Acetone fluids with same 0.180in bar height.


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Height - Voids

  • Example

    • 9dp at full spec height 0.230in

    • Shows voids ~0.012in

      • This means achieved height but voids (too big) fail. However evidence suggests this does not matter and the USPS have indicated willingness to rewrite specification


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Height - Voids

Action

  • Test to determine the maximum voids permitted.


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Bar Width

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Bar Width

  • Width is a function of drop diameter

  • Drop diameter is function of

    • Paper

    • Ink used

    • Inkjet drop size

  • USPS Spec width is 0.015in to 0.025in

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Bar Width

  • Determine interaction between drop diameter and drop void.

    • E.g. looking at extrapolated width vs. ‘average’ width


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Bar Width

Action

  • Test to determine if narrower bars (smaller drop diameters) are acceptable.

  • Test to determine how voids effect perceived width.


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Baseline skew

Bar skew

Non-linearity (skew)

  • Linear skew

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Non-linearity (skew)

  • Linear skew

    • Function of speed

    • Misalignment of head and product


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Non-linearity (skew)

  • Curve

    • Formation of the raster means each drop travels a different distance

Diagram from UPU S18d-5


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Non-linearity (skew)

  • Hook

    • First drop slows more than subsequent ones due to aerodynamic effects


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Non-linearity (skew)

Action –

Using samples of each skew type:

  • Test to determine the perceived center line of the bar (bar-pitch)

  • Test to determine the effective bar width

  • Test to determine the effective inter-bar gap

  • Implications for skew angle


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Address block gap

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Address block gap - JetArray

  • Line pitch fixed at 0.166in (1/6 inch)

  • USPS Spec. gap

    • 0.040in for barcode

    • 0.028in for inter-text

  • Limit with 4SC

    • Max height + address block gap ≤ 0.166in

    • @gap=0.040 then barcode height ≤ 0.126in

    • @gap=0.028 then barcode height ≤ 0.138in

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Address block gap - 5120

  • Label total height fixed at 1-inch, 120 drop positions

  • Drop position fixed at 1/120in (0.0083in)

  • Assume 7 lines of text + 4-SC

    • Min text height 0.080in ≡ 10 drops

    • Min text gap 0.028in ≡ 4 drops

    • 7 lines of text = 7x10 + 6x4 = 94 drops

    • @gap=0.040 ≡ 5 drops, then 4SC height 21 drops or 0.175”

    • @gap=0.028 ≡ 4 drops, then 4SC height 22 drops or 0.183”

KODAK DO THE JOB BASED ON THIS MATH BUT BLEED OF .001” PUTS YOU OVER THE LIMIT

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Address block gap

Action

  • Test to determine if gap can be reduced from the current 0.040in closer to the inter-text gap of 0.028in

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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Summary

  • Outcome will be translated into either.

    • A specification (after cross-platform testing)

      • Clear

      • Accurate

      • Achievable

      • Obviates the nuances that exist

      • Ensures the mailer is protected by the same specification that protects the USPS.

    • A lobby position

Information from USPS-B-3200 and Pub. 25


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