The EPELSA franking scales and vending machines

Postal scales Postal vending machines
  • Correos models
  • Epelsa ET-CB
  • Epelsa ET-RL (IRIS)
  • Epelsa ET-RL / T
  • Epelsa LF-1100
  • Epelsa LF-3100
  • 1. Introduction

    The Organismo Autonomo de Correos y Telecomunicaciones (O.A.C.T.) of Spain with the intention of obtaining greater flexibility when franking mail in the Post Offices, decided to use machines capable of charging according to the weight, with a simple sequence of key presses. 

    The Spanish company EPELSA developed an easy to use franking balance which is to be found in all the Spanish Post offices.
    The most important characteristics of these balances are : 

    • Triple security system in the storage of the printed values.
    • Issuing variable value stamps or self adhesive thermal ATMs with both a franked value and identification of the machine and town.
    • Issue of a purchase receipt to the client.
    • Display client and user.
    • A keyboard with a luminous indication of key pressed organized according to type of correspondence, destination, weights and all other relevant factors.
    • Printing of data of printed values classified by type of correspondence.
    • An RS-232 interface that allows external equipment to do the following functions :
      • Programming of tariffs according to the correspondence type, destination, after allowing for the different weights ...
      • Access to the totals issued by the balance.
      • Access to the balance peripherals ; Display, printer and label printer.
    • User friendliness.
    Thanks to the characteristics of these machines there has been a remarkable improvement in the process of franking in the Post offices : Errors in the franking are avoided, integration of the balance into the general computerized system, easy identification of the postal window, easy in updating the postal tariff changes, reduction of queue sizes, exactitude between the weight and the tariff and the possibility of issuing of stamps repetetively.

    2. The models of postal scales 

    The CORREOS models

    This was the first balance manufactured by Epelsa to be used in Correos (The Spanish Postal Service).
    In 1981 Correos bought 325 of this model. 
    The franking cost was calculated by the machine according to the weight, destination, type of sending and postal tariffs. The balance could print receipts but not stamps (but not ATMs, see image) ; The stamps were printed using a external dot matrix printer connected to the balance.

    In the middle 90's they were replaced by the new Epelsa ET-CB.

    The model Epelsa BF-10C or Correos Comercial appeared some months later. This was a balance only able to calculate and show the cost of the franking according to the weight, destination and type of sending. The machine did not print receipts nor use the printer equipment of stamps.
    This machine could be useful not only in Correos, but in other companies which wanted to calculate the postal cost of the sending.

    The ET-CB model

    The Epelsa ET-CB model was the first balance which incorporated stamps or ATM printer - the first franking balance. It was installed from 1992 with a total of 1778 units in service. They are recognized easily by its black body and serial numbers from 0001.

    Model ET-CB A keyboard that can charge automatically or can be equipped with a keyboard inhibitor that allows its use with a computer system.
    The balance printed thermal variable value stamps or ATMs with 4 digits, resolution of 4 dots/mm (100 dpi).
    They were used until December 2001 (after which the Euro was used) and the 1668 balances still in use were replaced by the model Epelsa RL/T.
    The ET-RL (IRIS) model
    Model ET-RL / IRIS The model ET-RL is the commonest in the Post offices, with 4070 balances installed and 150 more on public tender (April 2002), and serial numbers from 3000 (3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000).
    They have a yellow colour body and, at the request of the O.A.C.T. are linked to a computer system of mail processing called IRIS (Version 4.01).

    With the increase of the postal tariffs and the possibility of values greater than 9.999 pts being needed, these machines allowed the thermal printing of stamps or ATMs with franking value of 5 or 6 digits. This is a double possibility that all the machines have, being one of the options that could be selected at the moment of their installation and programming.

    Two series, practically identical had been manufactured (referring to itsí appearance) ;
    • The first one (ET-RLa) with metallic body incorporates a printing mall pillow of lower resolution (4 dots/mm - 100 dpi) and, therefore, the franking balances of this series print the ATMs with the printing varieties called "wide or large". There are around 500 units, with serial numbers from 3000.
    • The second series (ET-RLb) with plastic or ABS body is more recent and incorporates a mall pillow of much greater resolution (8 dots/mm - 200 dpi), and the balances print the printing varieties called "small or narrow".

    SPAIN. Post Office equipped with franking balances Epelsa ET-RL, are connected to the computer system IRIS.
    The equipment consists of the franking balance (weigh, issue ATMs and receipts), the computer and the printer for documents.
    From August 2001 and until December many important modifications were made in the computer system IRIS and in the EPROM memory of all the balances to adapt them to the new Euro currency making it possible to use the new currency when the Postal Authorities decided to do so. This adaptation affected the graphic printed on the ATMs, the receipts and all the process of security and account in the franking balances.
    The Spanish Post started to use the Euro in Post Offices between the 22 and 28 of December 2001.

    More information about types and varieties printing ...

    The ET-RL / T model

    In 2001 Correos arranged with Epelsa to replace all the old balances Mobba and Epelsa ET-CB with a new model of franking balance, the RL/T.

    This new equipment can only work in Euros ( € ) and allowed postal employees work only to work it using the keyboard to print ATMs or working with a keyboard inhibitor through the IRIS computer system which allows ATM printing and other postal services (postal giros, telegrams, track & trace, ...).

    The first series of Epelsa RLT franking balances (with serial numbers from 0001) arrived at the post offices in Spain and Andorra in the last weeks of 2001 but they weren't put into service officially until January 2nd, 2002.
    In April 2002 there were 1271 Epelsa ET-RLT franking balances in service.

    (Note that these new balances have the same serial numbers that the old type ET-CB, and that can cause confusion).

    At collecting levels these new balances have a thermal printing head with high resolution (8 dots/mm - 200 dpi) identical to the one in the balances ET-RLb (2nd series); it doesn't really mean a new printing variety.

    This model ET-RLT, also know as RL-POSTAL, allow its use by postal services in other countries, with just a very simple modification of the keyboard and the postal tariffs. This model has been installed, for example, in Costa Rica post offices, but personalized with its own colours and post logo.

    The manufacturers :Epelsa - Frama - Klüssendorf - Mobba
    See also : The EPELSA LF vending machines

    ATM Web - Spain and Latin American Postal Services:
    © J. Jove - M. Sans. ATEEME. Variable value stamps study group
    All rights reserved. This page was created in 2000. Last updated : 08.01.04. English edition rewritted by S. Goodman