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Quick Service Guide 301a
Designing Flats for Automated Processing
301, Physical Standards for Discount Flats
330b, First-Class Mail Automation Flats
340b, Standard Mail Automation Flats
360, Bound Printed Matter Flats
707g, Periodicals Automation Flats
Flat-size pieces meeting the applicable automation standards in 301.3.0 or the alternative criteria for Periodicals in 707.25.3 are entitled to automation rates. Size, weight, thickness, polywrap, and flexibility standards vary for the class of mail. For eligibility and preparation standards for specific rate discounts, see the appropriate Quick Service Guide above.
Physical Standards (301.3.0)
The length of a flat-size mailpiece is the longest dimension. The height is the dimension perpendicular to the length (301.1.2).
Uniform thickness: The contents must be uniformly thick so that any bumps, protrusions, or irregularities do not cause more than 1/4 inch variance in thickness. The mailpiece must have a smooth and regular shape and be free of creases, folds, tears, or other irregularities (301.3.6).
Flexibility and deflection: automation flats must meet the flexibility standards in 301.1.4 and deflection standards in 301.3.2.4. These standards do not apply to Periodicals prepared under 707.25.3.
Polywrap films and similar coverings must meet the standards in 301.3.3. A list of approved polywrap and polywrap manufacturers is available on ribbs.usps.gov. The wrap direction must be around the longer axis of the mailpiece, with the seam parallel to that axis. The longer axis is always parallel to the length of the mailpiece. The preferred seam placement is on the nonaddressed side of the mailpiece.
Prohibitions: Clasps, strings, buttons, or other protrusions; also staples, unless properly used as a binding method (301.3.6).
For address placement on folded pieces, see page two.
Periodicals automation flats may be prepared under 707.25.3.
Barcodes must be at least 1/8 inch from any edge of the address side.
Address block barcodes must be in one of these four positions:
The surface the barcode is printed on must meet the reflectance standards in 708.4.4.
Flat-Size Booklet-Type Mailpieces (301.3.6.3)
The contents of the mailpiece prepared in sleeves or other wrappers must be sufficiently secure in the sleeve or wrapper to stay in place during processing. If material bearing the delivery information or barcode for the mailpiece is enclosed in a partial wrapper, that wrapper must be sufficiently secure to prevent the contents from shifting and obscuring the delivery address or barcode.
For the specific DMM standards applicable to this category of mail, consult the DMM sections referenced above and the general sections within each DMM module.