What is a Franking Machine?
What is a franking machine and how does it work?
Franking machines have been around for more than a century, originally created in 1884 by Norwegian inventor, Engle Frankmussler, though back then, it was called the ‘Postage Stamp Affixing Machine’.
Although the principles are still the same, technology has evolved considerably since then and modern units can perform more complex tasks, though despite the functionality that the latest units provide, many businesses remain unaware of the value of franking machines beyond simply saving on postage.
Our quick guide to franking machines explains how a franking machine works, the key reasons for having a franking machine, and how it can help your business.
What is a franking machine?
A franking machine is a metering device used to streamline the process of postage. Instead of having to travel to a post office, queue and weigh your mail, you can affix postage using a franking machine and drop your mail off at your local post box, or have it collected.
How does a franking machine work?
Franking machines work by weighing your post to automatically calculate the correct postage for the service you require, then a mark is applied to the mail item in the ‘franking’ process.
You’re required to use the latest rates from Royal Mail, which modern units can download via LAN or Wi-Fi, whilst older machines will receive the updated rates on a rate card, or chip, which needs to be installed in the machine. This ensures that franking machines always calculate the correct amount of postage savings.
What are the differences between modern and older franking machine models?
Functionality and Simplicity…, newer Mailmark models provide automatic functions that streamline the franking process, helping to reduce time spent and increase productivity.
For example, modern machines can:
- Automatically seal letters once they have been franked
- Connect to the business’ local area network (LAN) or Wi-Fi network
- Stack and organise metered or franked mail (more advanced systems can clear mail away from the franking machine using a power stacker)
- Utilise Mailmark barcode technology (Royal Mail’s latest franking mark)
- Apply labels to post as required
- Use software to set up cost centres, reporting and mail analytics
- Apply password protection to prevent unauthorised usage
What are the benefits of using a franking machine?
They improve mail efficiency and help businesses manage costs. Using associated software, cost centres can be set up on digital franking machines, allowing you to better track spend, and report on usage.
Machines automatically calculate postage using the latest rates, so you don’t need to worry about knowing the latest rates, meaning you avoid postage surcharges that occur as a result of the incorrect postage being applied to an item. Allowing you choose from a variety of mail sizes: letters, large letters, small parcels, small parcels (deep), and medium parcels to give your businesses the flexibility they need to frank different mail items.