Flats and Flexibility

Flats and Flexibility – or How My CD was Broken*

Flexibility

Flats must meet current USPS flexibility and deflection tests to qualify for automation flats postage rates.  Instructions below:

All flats (see Exhibit 1.3a):

  1. Place the piece with the length parallel to the edge of a flat surface and extend the piece halfway off the surface.
  2. Press down on the piece at a point 1 inch from the outer edge, in the center of the piece’s length, exerting steady pressure.
  3. The piece is not flexible if it cannot bend at least 1 inch vertically without being damaged.
  4. The piece is flexible if it can bend at least 1 inch vertically without being damaged and it does not contain a rigid insert. No further testing is necessary.
  5. Test the piece according to 1.3b. or 1.3c. below if it can bend at least 1 inch vertically without being damaged and it contains a rigid insert.

Exhibit 1.3a Flexibility Test—All Flats

b. Flats 10 inches or longer that pass the test in 1.3a. and contain a rigid insert (see Exhibit 1.3b):

  1. Place the piece with the length perpendicular to the edge of a flat surface and extend the piece 5 inches off the surface.
  2. Press down on the piece at a point 1 inch from the outer edge, in the center of the piece’s width, exerting steady pressure.
  3. Turn the piece around and repeat steps 1 and 2. The piece is flexible if both ends can bend at least 2 inches vertically without being damaged.

Exhibit 1.3b Flexibility Test—Flats 10 Inches or Longer

c. Flats less than 10 inches long that pass the test in 1.3a. and contain a rigid insert ( see Exhibit 1.3c):

  1. Place the piece with the length perpendicular to the edge of a flat surface and extend the piece one-half of its length off the surface.
  2. Press down on the piece at a point 1 inch from the outer edge, in the center of the piece’s width, exerting steady pressure.
  3. Turn the piece around and repeat steps 1 and 2. The piece is flexible if both ends can bend at least 1 inch vertically without being damaged.

Exhibit 1.3c Flexibility Test—Flats Less Than 10 Inches Long

Uniform Thickness

Flat-size mailpieces must be uniformly thick so that any bumps, protrusions, or other irregularities do not cause more than 1/4-inch variance in thickness. When determining thickness, exclude the outside edges (1 inch from each edge) when the contents do not extend into those edges. Mailers must secure nonpaper contents (such as pens, keys or coins) to prevent shifting of more than 2 inches within the mailpiece if shifting would cause the piece to be nonuniformly thick or result in the contents bursting out of the mailpiece.

Weight

Maximum weight for First Class is 13 ounces.

Standard mail must weight less than 16 ounces.

These are the basic rules of flats and determining flexibility.  You should always consult with your local post office (especially the good folks in the Business Mail Acceptance department) to ensure your mailpiece meets all current standards.

*And by the way, if you really want to mail Mom your latest mix CD, there are special envelopes available at most big box office supply stores.

Advertisements
  1. #1 by Egypt on December 5, 2011 - 10:34 pm

    So excited I found this arictle as it made things much quicker!

    • #2 by Kimberly Tarpley on December 23, 2011 - 8:47 am

      Thanks, Egypt!

      The USPS changed so many requirements for flats a couple of years ago and we still receive many questions from our customers and readers.

      I hope you will check back with us often!

      Regards,

      Kimberly

  2. #3 by banners displays on December 14, 2011 - 3:04 pm

    I’ve taken the liberty of bookmarking https://blog.strahm.com/2011/11/17/flatsandflexibility/ at Facebook, socialbookmarklink and a few other bookmarking sites so my friends can enjoy this blog as well. I used Flats and Flexibility Strahm Automation as the initial title in my designmoo.com bookmarks, as I assumed that if it is important enough for you to title your blog post in that manner, then you probably would like to see it bookmarked the same way. ty

    • #4 by Kimberly Tarpley on December 23, 2011 - 8:48 am

      Ty;

      Thanks for sharing our post! That was very considerate of you and I hope you’re readers find the information useful.

      Kimberly

  3. #5 by Agustin Kolin on December 17, 2011 - 3:51 pm

    Hi there, this weekend is fastidious in favor of me, for the reason that this point in time i am reading this wonderful educational article here at my house.

    • #6 by Kimberly Tarpley on December 23, 2011 - 8:50 am

      Agustin;

      So glad you found this educational!

      The rules surrounding flats can be the “make or break” on postage savings, so I thought it was important to get that information out there.

      Regards,

      Kimberly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: