USPS |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.

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  2. #3 by Leonardml on December 17, 2013 - 4:06 pm

    good post thx 415 arabidze

    • #4 by strahmautomation on December 27, 2013 - 10:49 am

      Thank you! Understanding the USPS regulations regarding flats and flexibility is crucial in order to reduce your postage rates.

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