Digital Magazine

High Resolution Thermal Ink Jet Clears Things Up for Hershey's Mexico

Digital Design Inc. (Cedar Grove, NJ; Booth #4504), a worldwide designer, manufacturer, and provider of high resolution ink jet printing systems for product identification, will exhibit again at PACK EXPO International 2012 (October 28-31, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL). At the last show, the company carried out one of its largest sales of Evolution III ink jet printers to Hershey’s Mexico.

Hershey’s Ventures South of the Border

An American icon, The Hershey’s Co. is known around the world for its variety of confectionery products including the HERSHEY’S chocolate bar, HERSHEY’S KISSES, and Reese’s as well as the many variations of these classics and a wide range of other treats and beverages.

Hershey Mexico S.A. de C.V. operates out of El Salto, where it manufactures HERSHEY’S chocolate bars, HERSHEY’S KISSES, Reese’s, and Leche Hershey's in chocolate, ‘cookies ‘n cream,’ and strawberry flavors. The facility also produces Ice Breakers and Jolly Rancher branded products as well as brands geared towards the Latin American market: Pelon Pelo Rico, LORENA TU-BOX, Crayón, Brillo Lips, and PulpaToon.

The Need for Code Clarity

Leading into PACK EXPO International 2010, Hershey’s Mexico’s El Salto facility required a new printing system to print production and expiration dates, serial numbers, and bar codes on the corrugated cases used to ship the company’s chocolate bars in assorted flavors and sizes.

“We needed to find a reliable high-resolution printer that would print the details clearly and quickly,” said Enrique Aguilar, maintenance manager for Hershey’s Mexico. “The printer also had to be maintenance-free to eliminate the downtime associated with washing down our existing printer.”

Aguilar and his team headed to PACK EXPO to find a printer that would meet their specifications. It was there that he discovered the Digital Design Inc.’s Evolution III High Resolution Thermal Ink Jet Printer.

Aguilar was particularly interested in the Evolution III because of its high resolution printing capability, speed, and ability to print multiple combinations of font styles and characters on an area 2 in. by 24 in. The system incorporates Hewlett Packard’s thermal ink jet technique, which heats and injects tiny ink droplets on a surface, and 42 cc ink cartridges, a proven technology for printing applications on corrugated packages. Since the system combines the ink cartridge and the operating electronics into a single compact printhead module, the Evolution III eliminates the need to clean the print heads.

The Evolution III also offers a possible combination of up to eight print head modules (four on each side of the production line), a 7-in. color touch screen controller, and a complete software package. The Evolution III greatly reduces the cost of maintenance and service, with cartridges that can be easily disposed of and replaced.

Beta Test = Success

Since the brand new model had never run in any other manufacturing operation, Digital Design and Aguilar arranged a trial run of the printing system on the El Salto packaging line, with representatives from Digital Design present to make any necessary modifications.

To help with the beta test, Rankins brought in Rios Representaciones, an importer and distributor of printing technology that carries The Evolution III, among other Digital Design products. “For each of our sales, we always try to understand exactly the types of issues our clients are facing and the solutions they are trying to achieve,” explained Raul Rios, director, Rios Representaciones Internacionales.

Rios Representaciones helped facilitate the testing and identify the ideal location for the new printing equipment, which required the corrugated cases to run very smoothly along the line and before the application. Placement on a conveyor that was too fast or bumpy could jeopardize the integrity of the printing.

“After a couple of tests, it turned out that the best location for the system was the case taper, at the end of the production line,” said Rios. “This placement allows Hershey’s to steadily feed the cases through the printer and then have one mounted on a pallet for shipment.”

Following the successful testing exercise, Hershey’s Mexico purchased and installed 15 Evolution III systems to handle a wide range of products manufactured at the facility.

The teams from Digital Design Inc. and Rios Representaciones will head back to PACK EXPO International this fall to connect with other experts and clients interested in high resolution digital printing equipment.

To register for PACK EXPO International 2012, visit www.packexpo.com. Discounted rates are available through October 8.

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