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Direct Mail Leader Data-Mail Adds Flexo with A&V Expertise

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Data-Mail, one of the largest full-service direct mail lettershop companies in North America relies on a host of conventional and digital printing technologies to produce more than 1.5 billion pieces of direct mail a year.

With two facilities in suburban Hartford, Connecticut, Data-Mail has long used roll-fed offset presses and bought pre-printed and converted envelopes from a supplier. But with run lengths ranging from a few thousand to millions of impressions, the company was seeking greater efficiency and a more cost-effective alternative.

As a first step, the company used two FL Smythe RA flexographic envelope-converting presses then added two more, acquiring imaged printing plates from a supplier. While the presses streamlined envelope production, the optimal solution was to bring plate production in-house. Achieving that goal led Tom Forrest, Pre-Press Manager at DataMail, to Anderson & Vreeland.

The vast majority of our jobs are just two color: black ink for the indicia and one or two spot colors for company logos and branding, explains Forrest. When we added the third and fourth flexo presses we knew we’d see significant savings in plate costs and efficiency if we did the work in-house.

Making this transition required climbing a new learning curve. While Data-Mail’s prepress department was comfortable with prepress for offset and digital jobs, it was unfamiliar with the unique needs of flexographic printing. Helping Data-Mail up the learning curve were the prepress and flexographic printing experts from Anderson & Vreeland, which provides printing plates and stickyback tapes along with the technical expertise for all of Data-Mail’s flexo printing and prepress operations.

The plates are imaged on a Piccolino Flexo Laser, while Anderson & Vreeland’s Orbital X water-wash system, and a Whirl-A-Way Polymer Removal System help ensure the many system components are clean and ready to handle the steady stream of jobs. Kodak Prinergy software handles the workflow

Having Anderson & Vreeland provide the support Data-Mail needed for flexographic envelope printing and conversion was a strategic move that helped Data-Mail reduce costs, gain complete control over its envelope needs, and provided a proven resource for technical knowledge and support.

Forrest says he relies on Anderson & Vreeland support for anything to do with flexographic production. They are very responsive and reliable, always quick to respond to any questions by phone or in person. John Mascolo, our A&V sales rep, is very good about checking in to make sure we’re changing the wash, cleaning the filters, and to check on how the equipment is running. Because we’re all new to flexo, the help A&V has provided has been greatly appreciated.