April 14th, 2016


UKMail’s iMail is a unique mail service that allows clients to create and send business communications directly from their computer. iMail will print for delivery the next day or two days later. With an intuitive interface and design templates the user remains in complete control at all times. Since its launch iMail has grown significantly and is currently processing 10 million posted items a year


Provide Folder Inserters to meet iMail’s rapid expansion - Volumes are expected to double to 20 Million in the next 12 months.


A doubling in output capacity with room for further expansion.


Third generation DS-1200 G3 inserter provided speed, integrity and flexibility.


Working with iMail to develop effective future proof solutions.

The challenge

This growth resulted in iMail needing to increase its colour printing and automated inserting capacity at its UK regional centres. Additionally it had to evolve to provide document integrity for its commercial and public sector client base. iMail needed to refresh desktop inserters with high integrity production level inserters flexible enough to cope with new product streams and increased capacity. The system’s ability to merge different client streams into a single production batch required that the automated systems and process had stringent levels of document integrity verification. Further, iMail’s unique ability in combining many jobs into large volume production batches created new challenges on equipment as the differing print qualities and coverage can change significantly from one sheet to the next.

The process

Client requests are received via the web and could arrive at any time and be any size. Data files are combined and optimised for automation and posting. This process includes address cleansing, sorting into Mailsort order and adding OMR machine control marks. Files are segregated and sent to the closest UKMail iMail centre. A further level of batch dividing is carried out to bring batches to the 200 mail items suitable for loading onto the desktop inserters and manual reconciliation. Each batch will usually contain a number of jobs which are de-merged for individual client reports. Those items requiring inserting into a postal envelope are delivered to an automated inserter for processing. In May 2010 Neopost supplied two generations of desktop inserters to support the expansion in services and volumes since the launch of iMail.

The solution

By the time UKMail were ready to add new capacity Neopost had developed a third generation DS-1200 G3 inserter to successfully meet the imail challenge whilst maintaining the high level of document and process integrity. Neopost developed a formal, structured implementation plan for installation of the system. The plan highlighted the fact that all key stakeholders from both sides were fully informed and engaged in order to deliver a smooth installation, this culminated in the order for iMail’s first DS-1200 inserter. The system boasted the unique high capacity ‘wheel-in’ trolley system to load production batched off line without affecting production along with three additional enclosure feeders.

The first system provided a doubling in output capacity with a maximum inserting speed of 8,000 envelopes per hour. The first system was installed at the Bristol iMail centre in January 2014. Since installation 2D datamatrix coding has been added. This provides the basis for detailed integrity tracking, enables up to 5000 documents to be loaded and mailsort segregation of output to delineate SSC changes. All of which greatly improve productivity. One operator running a DS-1200 G3 inserter can manage more than the amount of two operators loading and running two desktop inserters. In May 2014 a second system was installed at iMail’s centre in Slough and planning is under way to continue the equipment refresh at all iMail centres throughout 2014.

Delivery and results

iMail’s growth has been rapid, as has the demand for increased inserting capability. This, combined with a modular design and build process and a close working partnership with iMail enabled the second DS-1200 inserter to be delivered and into production within four weeks. Results include a two-fold increase in production capability and a 65% reduction in operator time and costs. The platform can expand with iMail offering additional modules that can be added whilst the system remains on site. The system offers automated client reporting, integrity tracking and traceability by mail-piece, document, event date/time, job and operator and National Support Coverage is able to
support iMail’s UK wide Regional Centres.