More than 200 years ago, in 1795, the American patriot Paul Revere established a bank note business which eventually became American Bank Note Company. Ever since, the company has pioneered the printing of currency, postage stamps, war bonds and stock certificates, not only for the American market, but for businesses, financial institutions, and governments around the world. During its colourful history, American Bank Note has continually provided its customers with cutting edge technology to thwart counterfeiters and has implemented procedures to prevent theft and diversion of the secure products it prints. Today, American Bank Note Company uses the expertise, experience, and resources necessary to print and deliver the secure documents necessary in the Internet age.
Headquartered in Trevose, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, the primary American Bank Note production facilities are located in the middle of Tennessee. Befitting the security focus of the company, American Bank Note production operations are nondescript facilities operating behind chain link fences, with no signage to indicate what is going on inside. Unlike most printing companies, eager to show visitors their presses and other equipment, American Bank Note prefers to fly beneath the radar, quietly serving customers with little or no fanfare, and thus maintaining the secrecy and discretion which have become hallmarks of the company.
Today, in addition to routine direct communications with their clients, American Bank Note customers rely on the company to mail personalized cards to their customers, since the company already produces secure plastic card stock and is renowned for its secure facilities and personnel. In 2007, when American Bank Note customers first suggested that the company handle their outgoing direct mail in addition to their security printing, the company sought an experienced mailing executive with security experience to head up the effort. They recruited Rob Enders, who brought the company some 16 years of experience mailing credit cards and statements on behalf of a major Charlotte, North Carolina, bank. Enders’ first task was to configure a W+D BB300 Solo inserter to enable the company to satisfy a wide variety of mail configurations. Enders says: “I was very pleased when I came on board to find that American Bank Note had already chosen the Lake Image Systems camera and software to do their direct mail verification. I had extensive experience with Lake Image Systems equipment in my previous position, where it was installed on a Ga-Vehren card attacher, and I always found it not only very reliable and easy to operate, but incredibly flexible and adaptable.”
Before Enders came on the scene, cards were attached to American Bank Note mailings with adhesive dots, and the cards and carrier stock were scanned independently to ensure the integrity of the mailings. With this procedure, it was necessary to verify the mailing at the input, and again at the output stage, just before the envelope was placed into the mail stream. According to Enders: “Mailings with personalized cards were scanned manually to ensure that the cards were going to the right people. The process was very labour intensive, and because the mailings were being verified by employees, human error was inevitable.”
As Enders began positioning the company to take advantage of the strong secure direct mail market, his first job was a difficult one, involving a complex package of personalized inserts
which needed to be inserted into a bottom flap envelope. The personalization necessitated verification, so correct implementation of the Lake Image Systems camera and software was key to getting a good start in mailing. To achieve maximum flexibility in his new mailing environment, he cut out part of the channel through which envelopes travel in the inserter, to mount a Lake Image Systems camera under the insert path. This inserter modification—
coupled with the fact that the cameras can be moved to nearly any location on the inserter or mailstream—enables Enders to run virtually any envelope configuration that clients may present, and to document the required verification.
Unlike the verification systems used by many mailers, the Lake Image Systems installation at American Bank Note offers the ultimate in flexibility. The cameras are self-contained and require no operator attention. Camera apertures are automatically adjusted to the ambient light available, so changeover from one job to another can be done quickly and confidently. The Lake Image Systems software enables Enders to match any two items being mailed, using any combination of one- or two-dimensional bar codes, or alphanumeric text as small as six points. This permits American Bank Note customers to personalize and verify their mailings without the result of producing what is often called “that Direct Mail look.”
The Lake Image Systems verification system and inserter is so reliable that American Bank Note feels no need for equipment redundancy. “The Buhrs inserter with the Lake Image
Systems camera verification system,” says Enders, “is run on a daily basis.” Their Lake Image Systems equipment not only enables American Bank Note to offer secure mailing services for its clients, but to feel secure in its operations as well.