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Premier chocolate maker opts for short-run coding self-sufficiency

Valos Chocolates, based in Arnold, PA, produces more than 500 varieties of chocolates and has been offering its high-quality products since 1947. These products are marketed in a broad range of packaging types/sizes and require coding versatility.

Valos wanted to do a package coding/printing upgrade. John Mandak, owner of Valos Chocolates, explains, “We are continuously changing expiration dates, and sometimes we make mistakes. Also, allergen information takes up a great deal of space on the packaging and can limit design creativity.”

After researching various new coding options, Valos Chocolates decided to try a new approach, especially to accommodate short runs. Instead of purchasing more traditional continuous ink-jet printing equipment that needed supplier-assisted installation and regular supplier maintenance, the chocolate maker made an on-line purchase of a cartridge-based thermal ink-jet small-character printer with touch-screen tablet controller that they could install and maintain themselves. The TC12 on-demand marking and coding system from Redimark has an introductory price of $995, considerably less than most continuous ink-jet systems. The transaction involved no supplier company sales staff or technicians.

Purchased and installed in the Summer of 2016, the intermittent-motion TC12 is mounted on a Model 101 flow wrapper from Bosch and is being used to code confectionery products that are wrapped in polypropylene film. The PP film supplier is Multi-Plastics, Inc., Lewis Center, OH. Valos wraps a variety of package sizes and prints date codes and allergen information on the film. The printer is capable of delivering print heights up to 1∕2” at maximum speeds of 400 fpm.

Mandak and his staff installed the printer themselves, referencing Redimark’s easy-to-follow PDFs, videos, and phone and on-line Q & A, as needed. Mandak recalls, “We had the coder out of the box, set up, and ready to experiment with in less than an hour. We had to play with it for a bit to get used to the screen and the options and capabilities, but it was relatively easy.”

Valos Chocolates is pleased with the performance and cost effectiveness of the high-resolution coder. They also are very happy with the fast-drying inks provided by Redimark, incorporating thermal ink-jet (TIJ) cartridge technology. The inks dry within two seconds.

Mandak says, “Valos does a lot of short runs, which means a lot of stops and starts between production runs. The TC12 does not require cleaning or maintenance between these intermittent operations. It’s clean, easy, and reliable, and perfect for our flat surface coding needs.”