Pitney Bowes Connect+ Series

What does the product do?

The Connect+ Series comprises three postal meters marked out from other machines on the market by the ability overprint the envelope with a four-colour graphic to add impact to mailings while franking. Pitney Bowes claims that adding colour to the envelope improves the chance of it being opened and, therefore, read and reacted to.

“We pitch it as turning mailing from a cost to the business to becoming a revenue stream,” says Pitney Bowes Australia managing director James Murphy. “There’s also no need to tie-up working capital in a load of different types and sizes of pre-printed envelope.”

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?

Launched in 2011, the Connect+ series is aimed at the mid-market, initially for general businesses to meter their own postage. Now and especially with the full-colour graphic capability, the Connect+ range is being targeted at printers who want to add mailing services to their clients. While Pitney Bowes has more sophisticated machines aimed at high-volume mailing houses, the Connect+ is positioned to appeal to commercial printers, quick printers and even envelope printing specialists.

How does it work?

Integrated into the system is HP thermal inkjet. Pitney Bowes and HP have an inkjet partnership that spans products like the Connect+ all the way up to the IntelliJet 42 high-speed continuous feed press. In the Connect+, HP’s thermal print heads are positioned to enable a swathe up to 22mm wide to be printed with a custom message or logo across the top of the envelope in full colour. The system also prints the fluorescent red needed by the postal system for machine vision and processing.

How does it stand out?

Pitney Bowes argues that the combination of postal metering and on-demand full-colour envelope overprinting are unique features that sets the Connect+ 3000 apart from any other product on the market.

How productive is it?

Mailing volumes range from 2,000 letters per day up to 20,000 per day. James Murphy says: “It needs to be fast because it’s the nature of mail that most of it ends up being demanded at the end of the day.”

Depending on the version and the mode speeds range from 180 to 300 envelopes per minute.

What is the USP of the product?

On-demand colour printing capability combined with a postal meter in a single device. Other vendors offer standalone envelope printers and meters but Murphy claims the combination of the two together is the Connect+’s USP.

The benefit of full-colour graphics on the envelope itself is that it improves open rate by up to 2.5 times, according to research quoted by the firm.

How easy is it to use?

Operation is via a colour touchscreen with a range of pre-sets that can be saved to multiple accounts. When it comes to handling graphics, it handles standard file formats and can capture them from a variety of sources. The operator has to match the graphic to the job and set the volume required. At this level, it isn’t possible to personalise the message on the envelope or use the contents to trigger a different message. However, the firm argues that on-demand colour is itself enough of a benefit in this sector without the extra bells and whistles, which are available if required on other machines in the firm’s range.

The Connect+ 2000 and 3000 support Dimension on the Way (D-o-W) and Weight on the Way (W-o-W) technologies to ensure that the correct postage prices are paid based on size and weight without a lot of fiddly set-up by the operator. The 1000 is more basic and depends on working out the average by weighing a bigger batch of envelopes.

What training and support is offered?

Pitney Bowes handle installation, set-up and support of the machines to make sure the user gets up and running. In use replacing the print heads is a simple operator job – just like changing the cartridge on a desktop printer.

How have sales been?

Pitney Bowes claims hundreds of installs across the Connect+ range is Australia, which between them have processed some $20 million proof of postage.




Envelope sizes Minimum size: 89x127mm; Maximum size: 254 x 356mm; Flap depth: 25 to 98mm

Pack thickness 16mm (1000 & 2000); 19mm (3000)

Print technology HP thermal inkjet

Colours CMYK plus postal fluorescent red

Resolution up to 1,200dpi

Print area up to 22mm-deep

Speed 1000: up to 180 letters per minute; 2000 up to 180 letters per minute; 3000 up to 300 letters per minute

Contact www.pitneybowes.com.au, phone 13 23 63



The alternatives

No direct alternatives offer the integrated franking and four-colour printing of the Connect+ range, however, other firms do offer envelope overprinters based on inkjet or even toner technology, which could be combined with a franking machine to create a complete solution. The Neopost AS-520C offers the potential to print a larger total area of 215x406mm rather than being limited to a 22mm swathe. Such an approach is considerably slower though.

Minimum envelope size 127x76mm

Maximum envelope size 432x279mm

Envelope thickness 1.5mm

Print technology HP thermal inkjet

Colours CMYK

Resolution up to 1,200dpi

Print area 215×406 mm

Speed up to 4,000 letters per hour

Contact www.neopost.com.au, phone 1800 422 349

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