Tritek Celebrates 35 Years of Mail Innovation

From the Official Mail Guide Spring 2019 Edition:

This years marks the 35th anniversary of Tritek Technologies, which began in 1984 under the direction of inventor and president Jim Malatesta. In the succeeding years, Tritek has helped thousands of customers process letter mail, flats, documents and parcels with customized technology.

It all started with a service technician listening to customers.

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Beginning as a field representative for Canada-based Leigh Marsland in 1981, Malatesta formed Independent Computer Services (ICS) three years later to service Leigh mail sorting equipment. Leigh was exiting the mail sorting field and this meant lots of aged equipment needed to be serviced.

National Liberty Insurance Company gave him his first big break. “I went into their company and their Leigh machine wasn’t working, so I fixed it and they gave me my first service contract,” Malatesta said. “As I picked up more of these service contracts, I couldn’t find people who could work on the Leigh machines like I could so I decided to make my own machines and improve the reading technology.”

Soon he was working on the creation of Tritek Optical Character Recognition reader.

“Prior to the readers we came out with, there were Apple computers which could only read one font at a time,” Malatesta said. “We took a Motorola VME Bus computer and built an OCR out of that. It was definitely revolutionary as you could take any font and read it. It was a trainable OCR that could be trained to read different fonts.”

This would become the foundation of the Tritek OCR 88-5 which was created May 1988. It was placed on a Leigh’s SBCR transport, which he now owned the rights to.

“At this point I had to create my own machine name so I came up with the name Tritek because of the three technologies in mail processing — feeding the mail, reading the mail, and sorting the mail,” he said.

The next big breaks came when three companies bought the new system. Equitable Life Insurance, Mail Sort in Chicago, and then Wachovia bought the first Tritek’s which soon feature the new ZIP+4 look-up system.

Following Tritek’s development of the 88-5 OCR, the U.S. and (EPO) European Patent Office has awarded Tritek with numerous patents for innovative material handling technologies and other solutions.

The rest is history. Tritek would invent and sell mail sorting technologies to companies around the world in the ensuing decades. The 91-5 Ultrasorter was developed in 1991 as a high-speed flat sorter and tested by the U.S. Postal Service under their development project called FMBCS (flat mail barcode sorter). Technologies of that machine are still in use today as licensed technology from Tritek.

“We were never one to build a gazzilion of the same thing. We would take the customer’s unique hard problems and solve them,” he said, noting the advancements were enabled by working with customers.

Tritek provides technology and services to JP Morgan Chase Bank for return mail automation. And Washington State utilizes Tritek technology to process vote-by-mail. The mailroom solutions company Cambridge Corporate Services uses Tritek automated sorting machines to handle its high volumes of mail.

Tritek continue to create solutions to deliver, sort, inspect, and process postcards, letters, flats, and parcels. Tritek machines process challenging items such as unbound newspapers, catalogs, magazines, and polywrapped material on a single machine, simultaneously. Tritek sorters are particularly suited for processing difficult applications such as incoming mail.

Administrators of mission-critical vote-by-mail ballots rely on intelligent Tritek Correct Elect Software that enables reading data in any orientation, on either side of the mail piece and then sorting the mail items to pre-selected collection bins. A variety of output configurations are available including space-saving multi-tiered bins and portable units that customers can roll to production areas as needed.

What has been his secret for success? Listening to customers.

“The secret to Tritek success is paying attention to your customers,” he said. “We started in the service business and always wanted to keep customers happy. Stay up all night to keep the customer happy. Listen to the customers and give them what they need.”
And is he optimistic on the future of mail?

“Mail is still here. Letter mail is very important. There are things that have to go through the mail forever,” he said.

Driving the future of mail is its unique characteristics.

“I don’t think the internet challenges the mail industry, I think it enhances the mail industry,” he said. “They go hand in hand together. You can’t just use the internet for sending out solicitations, most of them go into spam and are not read.”

“And anything you don’t want hacked, you send through the Postal Service. Privacy concerns work to mail’s favor; it is the only guarantee of private communications.”

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