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U.S. Patent June 20, 1978 Sheet 2 of 2 4,095,695
STUFFED SEALED ENVELOPE ASSEMBLY AND
METHOD OF MAKING
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF 5
This invention relates to a series of connected stuffed sealed envelope assemblies and method of making the same, and, more particularly, to a method and article which overcome the drawbacks of the prior art. 10
A widely used mailer is that described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,104,799. This featured a series of connected stuffed, sealed envelopes which are made from continuous webs of paper by a forms manufacturer. At the time of manufacture, certain information or indicia common 15 to all of the envelope assemblies can be printed on the webs, viz., the name of the sender, a framework or pattern for the inscribing of invoice information, etc. These assemblies are zig-zag folded and shipped to a user (frequently a manufacturer) who operates a com- 20 puter to print invoice information or the like through the envelope onto the interior plies. Thereafter, the assemblies are separated one from another and mailed to the manufacturers' customer. Thus, there are three distinct phases in the life of a mailer assembly where opera- 25 tion can be optimized: manufacture, computer printing, and recipient handling.
At the outset, it should be appreciated that this is a large volume business: the three largest business form companies in the U.S. plus a number of smaller compa- 30 nies produce about a billion mailer forms annually, representing many millions of dollars of sales. Thus, anything that can be done to conserve on paper usage can be meaningful — even though the savings per form might seemingly be slight. 35
Another problem or challenge associated with the manufacture of mailer forms is the need for registration or alignment of the control margins of the various plies. The control margins are the widely employed \ inch wide integral portions along the longitudinal sides of 40 each web that are equipped with line holes. The line holes are engaged by pin belts for advancing the various webs during manufacture and in the subsequent usage for computer printout are engaged by similar pin belts for advancing the webs at intermittent, high speed. 45 Normally, the pins have a diameter of 0.150 inches while the line holes are normally 0.156 inches, yielding a small clearance of 0.006 inches. When a number of plies are assembled, small misregistrations or misalignments in the various webs during manufacture can ere- 50 ate a problem during the computer printout. It will be immediately apparent that the more plies that must be aligned, the greater the problem of keeping the line hole openings clear enough for the pins. Hence, manufacturing speeds have had to be limited in order to get proper 55 alignment of the line holes in the various plies. It will be appreciated that small misalignments occurring during the laying down of the various webs one on another can, in the aggregate, seriously reduce the net line hole opening so that when the mailer form is advanced to the 60 computer, there is faulty engagement and possible stoppage of work. This frustrates one of the principal advantages of mailer forms, i.e., high speed, continuous computer printout.
A third problem or challenge that exists during the 65 manufacturing operation and which has a definite effect during the use thereof in conjunction with the computer printout is the phenomenon of "tenting". Tenting is a
condition which results when several plies of paper (which have been fastened rigidly by gluing) are folded. The innermost ply has the shortest path. Each outer ply must be folded around a larger radius — with the result that a misregistration occurs, i.e., a given position on one ply does not correspond to the same position on another ply. This occurs particularly when the glue dries, after folding.
If the glue dries before folding, as might be accomplished by running at slow speeds or using hot melt glues, then the problem is different. First, some tenting occurs because the different radius problem still exists. Secondly, some tearing of the cross perforation ties occurs which helps relieve stress. If the ties are wide enough to start with, enough strength remains. Third, that portion of the difference in radius path which is not absorbed because of tenting or cross perforation tie tearing shows up in a fluffiness of the pack due to the unequal length of the various plies between folds. This fluffiness (the pack of forms does not lie flat and solid) results in wrinkles that become ironed into the plies by the weight of the pack and tight packing in the carton — resulting in an unacceptable appearance.
This misregistration is particularly serious when it is understood that mailers are printed from the outside, i.e., from the envelope front. This unavoidable misregister becomes even more disadvantageous when the form is unfolded, incident to feeding through computer printout equipment. The outer plies that follow the longer path can no longer slide back into register because the glue is fully dried while the forms are in the folded pack so that they form a peak that sticks up, giving the business form a much greater thickness at that point. The peak interferes at the computer pin feeding mechanism, causing jam-ups, tearing of forms, and even damage to the computer equipment.
Another problem exists in the need for maintaining a fairly close register of the various plies within the mailer. Should one of the plies shift relative to the others, the printout information will fall in an improper location, possibly vitiating the usefulness of the entire mailer.
Still another problem exists when the mailer is received by the intended recipient. By the time the mailer is sent through the mails, the control margins have usually been removed so the recipient gets an envelope which is characterized by a line of perforation along one side. Normally this line of perforation is characterized by a thumb-notch so that when the small strip is removed from the envelope side or end, a portion of the interior plies is exposed through the thumb notch for convenience in removal. Some mailers provide this feature but others by virtue of their construction and method of manufacture are inherently incapable of providing this advantageous opening mechanism. Thus, depending upon the particular form, the recipient may mutilate or even destroy the mailer and its contents in the attempt to open the same. This may result in the loss of a return envelope or other important information. Manifestly, it would be desirable to provide a foolproof opening feature in a mass produced, mass inscribed mailer.
In some instances, those in the art have tried to achieve registration by employing a perforated connection on the insert plies at the end thereof opposite the tear strip. When this feature is employed, the manufacturer usually tries to instruct the recipient to "snap out" the inserts, a procedure that can be made to work by