For a UK business audience, understanding the right kind of supplies for your franking machine is crucial for efficient and effective operation. Specifically, when it comes to ink and labels, it’s important to make informed decisions to ensure the best performance, compliance with Royal Mail regulations, and cost-effectiveness.
This guide aims to explain the details and prices of ink and labels for franking machines.
Franking machine ink and labels prices
|Type of Supply
|Average Price Range (£)
|£50 – £100
|Varies by brand
|Compatible with most standard franking machines
|Refillable Ink Tanks
|£30 – £60
|Varies by tank size
|Refillable; may offer long-term cost savings
|£10 – £20 per roll of 500
|500 labels per roll
|Easy to apply; commonly used
|£30 – £50 per roll of 200
|200 labels per roll
|Pre-printed, more expensive
|£20 – £40
|Varies by roll size
|Designed for thermal printers
Importance of using the right franking machine ink and labels
Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to understand why using the right ink and labels matters. Here are some reasons:
- Compliance with regulations: Royal Mail has specific guidelines on the type of ink and labels that can be used. Non-compliance can result in mail being returned or surcharged.
- Quality and readability: Authentic, high-quality supplies ensure that the franking mark is clear and legible.
- Machine longevity: Using the appropriate supplies extends the life of the machine.
Types of franking machine ink
This is the most commonly used ink for franking machines. It is designed to be quick-drying to minimise smudging. Meter ink cartridges are manufactured to comply with Royal Mail standards, so it is advisable to use brands recommended by your machine’s supplier.
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A genuine meter ink cartridge for a standard franking machine typically ranges from £50 to £100. Prices can vary based on the brand and the yield (i.e., the number of franks the cartridge can produce).
Refillable ink cartridges
Some machines come with refillable ink tanks. Though they might offer cost advantages, be wary of using unapproved inks as they may damage your machine or not comply with Royal Mail guidelines.
While the upfront cost of a refillable ink tank system may be higher, the cost per refill generally ranges from £30 to £60, potentially offering long-term cost savings.
Compatibility and approvals
Ensure that the ink you choose is compatible with your franking machine model. Furthermore, look for the Royal Mail approval stamp to ensure compliance.
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Types of franking machine labels
These are the most common types of labels. They are easy to apply and usually come in rolls. They are designed to easily peel off and adhere to envelopes and packages.
A roll of 500 self-adhesive labels generally costs between £10 and £20. Bulk purchases could offer value packs and reduce the price per label.
Pre-franked labels come pre-printed with a franking mark and are useful for bulk mailing. However, they are usually more expensive than self-adhesive labels.
These can be pricier due to the convenience they offer. Expect to pay anywhere from £30 to £50 for a roll of 200 pre-franked labels.
These are specially designed for thermal printers and are heat-sensitive. They are not as common but may be useful for specific needs.
Specially designed for thermal printers, a roll of these labels can cost between £20 and £40.
Key considerations when purchasing franking machine consumables
The volume of mail you intend to send will determine how much ink and how many labels you need. Bulk purchasing may provide cost benefits but consider the shelf-life of these supplies.
Though it may be tempting to opt for cheaper, non-branded options, these may not comply with Royal Mail regulations and could affect your machine’s performance and lifespan.
Authenticity and approvals
Always check for Royal Mail’s approval and purchase from reputable suppliers. Counterfeit or substandard supplies can damage your machine and result in compliance issues.
FAQ for franking machine ink and labels
Using non-approved ink may result in your mail being returned, surcharged, or delayed. Additionally, it could potentially damage your machine and void any existing warranty.
While refilling your own tanks can offer cost savings, it’s crucial to use ink that is approved by both your franking machine’s manufacturer and Royal Mail. Failure to do so can lead to the issues mentioned above.
The frequency of ink replacement depends on the volume of mail you are sending and the specific machine you’re using. Typically, an ink cartridge can last for several thousand impressions. Always check your machine’s ink levels regularly to avoid disruptions.
No, self-adhesive labels come in various sizes, shapes, and types of adhesive. Make sure to choose labels that are compatible with your machine and meet your specific mailing needs.
You can, but pre-printing franked labels should be done cautiously. Royal Mail has guidelines for the time frame within which pre-franked labels should be used. Typically, you must use them within the date of printing, unless otherwise stated by Royal Mail.
Some suppliers offer customised pre-franked labels, which include your business logo or other branding. However, these are generally more expensive and will need to meet Royal Mail’s standards for readability and design.
Firstly, check to see if you’re using approved, fast-drying ink that is compatible with your machine. If the problem persists, consult your franking machine’s manual for troubleshooting tips or contact your supplier for assistance.