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Field of invention
The first aspect of the present invention relates to an enveloping method of the kind set forth in the preamble to claim 1. The second aspect of the invention relates to an envelope blank of the kind set forth in the preamble to claim 4, said envelope blank being intended for use in the invented method.

Description of the background art
The normal procedure in preparing a letter for mailing is to insert the sheet of paper to be mailed into a finished envelope which is then sealed. This procedure is difficult to automate and therefore normally performed manually for mass-mailings.
Automation of enveloping is previously known from mass mailings of the same kind of insert materials. The mailed item and an address label are then wrapped in a plastic film which is then sealed. Various kinds of automatic operations are also known in which the envelope is formed from sheets of paper folded and sealed with a perforation. However, these known methods are less suitable when a more conventional, letter-like appearance is desired for the mailing.
Previously known envelopes and enveloping devices providing various kinds of automated enveloping are also known from SE 19853, SE 9703153-8, SE 9302648-2, SE 8505243-9, SE 8505243-1 , EP 0 728 075 and US 3,423,900. The known methods have various disadvantages, such as being complex, limited in flexibility and lacking facilities for automated stuffing, enveloping and addressing.

Description of the invention
In the light hereof, the objective of the present invention is to achieve a method for enveloping which eliminates the disadvantages of previously known methods and which permits a high degree of simple and reliable automation in the stuffing and sealing of envelopes.

when a method of the kind set forth in the preamble to claim 1 comprises the special measures set forth in the characterising clause of claim 1.
Thus, the method is based on the idea that no attempt is made to stuff a finished envelope. Instead, the envelope is fabricated during the enveloping process itself. The envelope therefore consists of an envelope blank and an outer sheet of paper which are glued together. The envelope contents consist of other sheets of paper.
Since envelope contents are inserted into the envelope before the envelope is completed, the envelope can be filled in a very simple fashion with no great risk of complications. Automation possibilities are considerable, and sheets are loaded straight from a printer. Since the first envelope blank is provided with glued flaps whose glue is activated by heating, sealing can be easily automated. So flap folding and heating are performed with a machine.

According to one preferred embodiment of the invented method, one or more of the flaps is/are folded up before the sheets of paper are placed onto the first sheet. The envelope blank therefore has one or more side walls. The folded-up side walls are a simple means for ensuring that the other sheets of paper are accurately guided onto the first sheet. The side walls can e.g. form a right angle with the first sheet of paper or lean inwards or outwards. In many instances, folding up all four flaps this way may be suitable.
Utilising the printer for addressing would then be appropriate. This is therefore another preferred embodiment. Even the addressing phase can be easily automated compared to the situation in which the address is printed on a finished envelope. This would also enable each user to design the front of her/his envelopes in an individual fashion, something which is normally not feasible with an ordinary envelope. This conveys a number of advantages, such as personalised franking on the front, recipient addresses printed with a personalised layout, font etc. and printing personalised sender addresses and personalised messages. The sender can also decide if the envelope is to be vertical or horizontal in each individual instance.
The aforementioned advantageous embodiments of the invented method are set forth in the dependent claims of claim 1.
According to a second aspect of the invention, the stated objective can be achieved when an envelope blank of the kind set forth in the preamble to claim 4 has the special features set forth in the characterising clause of this claim. An envelope blank devised in this way makes possible an enveloping method according to the invention, thereby achieving the advantages conveyed by this method.
According to a preferred embodiment of the invented envelope blank, the blank is provided with a crease along the edge of each side. This makes it easier to fold flaps up and down.
According to another advantageous embodiment, the length of the strip of glue on at least one of the flaps is shorter than the length of the side edge. This will make it easier to open the finished envelope in glue-free areas.
According to a preferred embodiment, the envelope blank is provided with a window, This makes it possible to utilise the innermost sheet of paper, placed on the envelope blank according to the invented method, as an address sheet.
The aforementioned embodiment of the invented envelope blank is set forth in the dependent claims of claim 4.
For the sake of simplicity, the present application uses the term 'sheet of paper.' However, this term also refers to sheets made of some other material suitable for use in forming an envelope on which information can be written or printed.
The invention will now be explained in greater detail with the following examples of preferred embodiments of same with reference to the attached drawings.

Brief description of the FIGURES
FIG. 1 is an overhead view of an envelope blank according to one embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the envelope blank in FIG. 1 after the flaps have been folded up.
FIG. 3 is an overhead view of the envelope blank in FIG. 1 after it has been completed.
FIG. 4 is a view from below of an alternative embodiment of the envelope blank after it has been completed.
FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating the principle of the fabrication method according to the invention.

Description of preferred embodiments of the invention
FIG. 1 is an overhead view of one example of the way in which an envelope blank according to the invention can be devised. It consists of a rectangular sheet of paper 1 with four flaps 2 along the edges 3 of each side of the sheet of paper. The dimensions of the sheet of paper appropriately agree with standard formats but can naturally be of any size, in the example shown, the flaps 2 are part of the sheet 1, and a fold 4 is arranged along the edge of each side. Each flap 2 has a strip of glue 5. The strip of glue is deactivated, but can be activated by heating. As is shown, the strip of glue 5a is somewhat shorter than its flap 2. Each flap 2 is cut obliquely at each end so flaps do not overlap after sealing. The ends of the flaps 2 can naturally have straight edges. The flaps 2 need not necessarily extend along the entire length of each side edge 3.
In the enveloping operation, the flaps 2 are folded up along their side edges so the envelope blank forms an open box. FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing what an envelope blank looks like after the flaps 2 have been folded up. The FIG. also shows how a number of sheets of paper 6 have been laid on the sheet 1 forming the bottom of the box. In principle, the flaps 2 are perpendicular to the sheet 1 but can alternately lean outwards somewhat. They could conceivably even lean inwards, but this assumes that the loaded sheets 6 are somewhat smaller than the sheet 1.
FIG. 3 shows the same view as FIG. 1 when the envelope has been stuffed and sealed. The flaps 2 have been folded over the outermost sheet 6' of the loaded sheets and glued to same with the glue 5 (see FIG. 1 !) on the inside of each of the flaps 2. The address 7 has been applied to the outermost sheet 6'. The envelope is then ready for despatching.
FIG. 4 is a view from beneath of an alternative embodiment of the finished envelope. In this instance, sheet 1 of the envelope blank has been provided with a window 8, and the address 7 has been printed on first sheet 6a loaded , i.e. the innermost sheet, on the side of the sheet facing sheet 1 in a position opposite the window.
Enveloping and addressing with the aid of envelope blanks and sheets of paper, as shown in FIGS. 1-3, can easily be automated. FIG. 5 is a block diagram representing such an automated procedure. The unit 9 is a magazine in which the envelope blanks are stored flat. A first of these envelope blanks is fed into a folding unit 10 in which the envelope blank's flaps 2 are folded up as shown in FIG. 2. It is then sent to a stuffing unit 11 in which the box-shaped envelope blank is filled with a number of sheets fed from a printer, whereupon the address is printed on the last sheet 6 of the loaded sheets.
After being filled, the envelope blank is sent to a folding unit 13 in which each flap 2 is folded down onto the outermost sheet 6'. In the next step, the envelope is treated in a glue activation unit 14, e.g. a heating device such as a heated mangle, which heats the area in which the flaps are located, thereby sealing the envelope.
It should be understood that every process step does not need to be automated. One or more of them can be performed manually. The block diagram is also intended to illustrate the logical links between the various process steps. It should be realised that some of the steps can advantageously be performed at the same time. Thus, e.g. folding up can be performed in the magazine 9 by folding up the flaps on the uppermost envelope blank. Moreover, the filling unit can serve as the same station as the folding unit. Moreover, the folding up unit and the gluing unit can be integrated into a single unit for these operations. Additionally, the envelope blanks can be arranged in the magazine 9 with folded up flaps 2.