hf Chocolates

hf Chocolates installs Epson ColorWorks label printer

hf Chocolates

Confectionery importer and wholesaler hf Chocolates chooses an Epson ColorWorks C7500 label printer to meet all of its in-house labelling needs.

Based in Milton Keynes, hf Chocolates imports chocolate and confectionery from suppliers in Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain and the US, and has recently signed up some British suppliers. The company repackages products for independent or specialist retailers and wholesalers. It also offers a design and print service to customers who want their own logos and branding on orders.

hf Chocolates produces colour labels in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Before investing in the ColorWorks C7500 printer, the company was using a desktop vinyl printer and cutter. This offered good quality and could handle a variety of label sizes, but was slow and impractical for anything other than short runs, so hf had to buy pre-printed labels for large  orders.

Ambrose Boyd, hf Chocolates commercial manager, says, “For us, being able to produce bespoke labels on-demand was really about gaining flexibility and the ability to respond to the market quickly. Buying pre-printed labels was simply too cumbersome and not at all cost-effective, unless huge volumes were involved. We had a clear idea of what we needed – a fast printer that could print high quality consistently and was cost-effective, not just from a purchasing point of view but also running costs and manning levels.”

Other key requirements were for a printer that would align circular label graphics correctly throughout the run, and high-capacity ink cartridges to cut production time and wastage. “We had the demo and checked our existing software was compatible with the ColorWorks C7500," says Boyd. "It was obvious that it was the solution for us. We looked at other machines but nothing else came close to its speed. Our main focus was printing on circular labels as we had many problems doing this previously. This printer passed the test.”

A versatile, effective solution

Using Epson DURABrite Ultra pigment ink in high-capacity 300ml cartridges, the ColorWorks C7500 produces fast-drying labels that are smudge, water and fade-resistant. The printer is easy to use, integrates into most operating systems and features an auto-cutter as standard and an optional rewinder for roll-to-roll printing.

Easy to install, speedy to use

The ColorWorks C7500 was installed and set up by one person in a day, with very little disruption to the company’s day-to-day production. Boyd says the printer has made a massive difference, “On our previous printer we could print around 98 labels in 45 minutes. On the ColorWorks C7500 we’re producing 200-plus labels in a few minutes. It’s now very easy to produce short runs of customised labels. And because of its speed, all labels can be printed as and when needed so we don’t have to hold large quantities of stock. Print on demand has eliminated the risk of packaging error, such as using the wrong pre-printed labels. The whole production workflow is much smoother and more cost-effective.”

One of the largest jobs hf Chocolates uses the C7500 for is labelling Candy Cables confectionery bags, with an average of ten thousand 70 x 70mm round labels produced per month. The labels are all applied manually using a printed template for different bag sizes.

Planning for future expansion

In the future, hf Chocolates is looking to expand the range of labels produced using its ColorWorks C7500. Ambrose says, “We’re currently looking at what jobs can be moved over to the new printer. It makes perfect sense that the more labels we can run through it the better, not only from a speed point of view - it also cuts our staffing and production costs considerably.”