Delta Stamps Fact File No. 1
     

De La Rue Byfleet, Dunstable and Gateshead Printings on the ATN press

Dynamic Print Time Sheet Markings


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With the closure of the High Wycombe facility De La Rue transferred their postage stamp printing operation to Byfleet in Surrey. This site had formally been part of The House of Questa until De La Rue purchased the division from the parent company the MDC Corporation of Canada in September 2002. The facility provided a modern printing operation including the following presses :-

Press Process Type
Print Units
Perforator
Installed
ATN Gravure Reel Fed
9
APS
1998
 
Mitsubishi 1 Litho Sheet Fed
6
None
Circa 1996
Mitsubishi 2 Litho Sheet Fed
6
None
 



The first recorded Byfleet printing date is 04/03/03 on the 20p, 33p and 41p values. From the outset of the Byfleet printings, all sheets had the cylinder numbers prefixed with the letter 'D'.

As part of a group consolidation the Byfleet site was closed down in late 2004 and the ATN press was transferred to another De La Rue location in Dunstable.


Since 2003, definitive counter sheets have exhibited various dynamic print time sheet marking styles which include the date of printing,sheet serial numbers and latterly Barcodes. These dynamic print time sheet markings are printed by Domino ink jet printers; two print units are involved for standard sheets - one prints the date/serial number in the left margin of the no spot (no dot) sheet and one prints the date/serial number in the right margin of the spot (dot) sheet.

The early printings had the date/sheet serial number print triggered around the margin division arrows (adjacent to rows 10/11) as can been seen in the following images :-

Left Margin - No Spot Sheet
Right Margin - Spot Sheet
Note : The obliques of the date were produced with 5 dots

 

As a result of requests from the philatelic community Royal Mail asked the printers to move the sheet date print trigger event further down the sheet - adjacent to rows 12/13 (notice the Date and SSN are set closer to stamps).

Left Margin - No Spot Sheet
Right Margin - Spot Sheet

 

The key dates when this change occurred were :-


Dot Matrix Structure Change (Issues from mid 2006)

The original dot matrix structure for making up characters used 5 dots in the obliques of date and the '1' had no base line serif as can been seen in the following image :-



During mid 2006 the dot matrix structure for making up characters was changed - the obliques used within the date were changed to be made up with 7 dots; also the number '1' had base line serifs as can been seen in the following image :-



The key dates when this change occurred were :-



Standard Counter Sheets (revised format of ink jet printing from November 2008)

Towards the end of 2008, the ink jet markings occurring on Standard Counter Sheets were revised to include a Barcode. They are now printed in the left hand margins of BOTH panes (no ink jet printing occurs in the right hand margin). Identifying the individual panes can be made by reference to the continuous vertical perforation register line - the left hand pane blocks exhibit this, while the right hand panes will not (Note: the marginal arrow has the shaft extending through the selvage on the right hand panes).

Ink Jet Printing
No Spot (left) Pane
Spot (right) Pane

 
No Spot Sheet - Left Margin
Spot Sheet - Left Margin
Barcode
Row 4-5
Row 4-5
Date / SSN
Row 12-13
Row 12-13
Barcode
Centred on Row 15
Centred on Row 15


Self Adhesive Counter Sheets (Issued from 17th February 2009)

With the change to self adhesive counter sheets, it was necessary to redesign the cylinder laydown for standard sized definitives to include the wider selvage required around each stamp. As a result, the format used for recent Christmas issues was adopted. The new laydown consists of six panes of 50 stamps, with three upper panes and three lower panes. Within each pane, two panels of 25 are separated by an interpanneau gutter. The date / sheet serial number is printed in the right hand margin of the lower panel. Similarly, changes occurred to the format of sheets for the NVI Large definitives with four panes of 50 stamps and again the date / sheet serial numbers are in the right hand margin.

Date block : Right Margin only

The original self adhesive sheet printings were issued in counter sheets of 50 arranged in two panels of 25 with the date / sheet serial number in the lower right corner of the lower panel - once per sheet of 50.

The format was changed for the none NVI printings from 2011. This change was basically the result of guillotining the primary sheets differently so that counter sheets were reduced in size to 25 and no visible change occurred for the date block position (these sheets had 12 cylinder grid positions).


De La Rue Gateshead - Self Adhesive Counter Sheets (early 2013)

In early 2013 De La Rue relocated their printing facility from Dunstable to Gateshead. As a result of this move the initial printings made at Gateshead did not exhibit the date / sheet serial number due to the fact that the ink jet printing system had not been commissioned. These include the values 10p, 20p, 78p, 88p, £1.28, £1.88 and £2; NVI - 2nd Large, 1st Royal Mail Red, 1st Large Royal Mail Red, 1st RM Signed For and 1st Large RM Signed For.


ATN press Ink Jet Date / Serial Number / Barcode Summary

 
Dot Matrix
Pane Size Side Margin
Date/SSN
Barcode Notes
Type 1
200
LM and RM
Rows 10/11
None 5 dot oblique
 
Type 1
200
LM and RM
Rows 12/13
None 5 dot oblique
Type 2a
200
LM and RM
Rows 12/13
None 7 dot oblique
 
Type 2b
50
RM
Rows 8/9
bottom panel
Engraved 7 dot oblique; Self adhesive
 
Type 2c
25
RM
Rows 3/4
Engraved 7 dot oblique; Self adhesive
 
 
Type 3
200
LM
Rows 12/13
R5 and R15
dot matrix
7 dot oblique
 

 


 
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