World-leading security printer, Wolverhampton-based International Security Printers (ISP), has invested in advanced hybrid print, finishing and inspection systems for barcoding postage stamps. The fully inline systems incorporate equipment from selected global specialists, including A B Graphic International (ABG), Domino Printing Sciences and Lake Image Systems.
As a security printer, ISP produces high calibre print for a large global client base from their UK and France production sites. Its work and expertise, which is at the forefront of print, ink and materials technology, enables the business to create highly innovative, secure solutions for industries with high monetary or intellectual value products and services. From security printing to advanced track and trace and authentication capabilities and ‘tailor-made’ consultancy services, ISP’s wide-ranging and unique solutions help companies combat fraud to better protect their brands and revenues.
ISP’s investment will enable postal authorities worldwide to add unique barcodes to stamps and, by doing so, be able to offer their customers more convenient, new services in the future such as track and trace to provide protection against counterfeiting and reuse. The barcodes, which can match stamp colour, sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line.
ISP’s hybrid digital print, finishing and inspection systems are based on two types of machine configurations - one producing sheets of stamps and the other booklets. For sheets, the inline system consists of ABG’s non-stop unwinder (NSU) to automate by splicing together 2 rolls of material on the fly, and ensuring a non-stop feed of material in to the engine room of the system, an ABG Omega Converter 430. The powerful, modular and multi-functional converter amongst other things, houses a four colour Domino N617i UV inkjet digital print module that prints the stamps and barcodes, printing inline and in colour. A Lake image inspection system is also integrated and this is surrounded by ABG’s die-cut and sheeter modules to cut the web down into final sheets. Any sheets with defects are instantly recognised and diverted into a waste compartment for non-compliances, whilst good sheets continue and are fed neatly on to a 2 metre long shingle conveyor.
The hybrid system for booklets of postage stamps is on the same lines as the sheet configuration, except for the inclusion of a Domino K600i printer to print barcodes in monochrome as well as the colour barcodes printed by the N617i - a barcode is also printed on the outside of the booklet to identify the stamp barcodes inside. A second ABG die-cut module is also configured as part of this solution for enhanced functionality from this hybrid platform.
“For postal stamp applications, this is the first time that various key industry parties have joined together to provide hybrid print and finishing solutions,” said Matt Burton, ABG’s global sales director. “All manufacturers have been fully on board throughout the project, wanting to see a successful conclusion. Clearly we are all delighted that both systems are now fit for purpose and we look forward to seeing ISP rolling out the initiative.”
Ian Brigham, ISP’s managing director, said: “We are proud to part of a monumental change in the history and fortunes of the postage stamp. The coming together of experienced print and finishing specialists to create these systems has been both unique and impressive - our thanks to them for a job well done.”