English cider company H.P. Bulmer manufactures two of the United Kingdom’s (UK) most popular brands of alcoholic cider––Bulmers and Strongbow. Founded in 1887, H.P. Bulmer makes 65 percent of the cider sold in the country and most of the UK’s cider exports. At its Hereford, England facility the company produces 132,000 cans and 11,500 bottles of Strongbow per hour, distributing them to suppliers throughout the UK.
In 2010, the Hereford facility had two canning lines that each produced more than 60,000 cans per hour and a bottling line that processed 11,500 polyethylene terephthalate bottles per hour. Such high capacity processing required reliable inkjet printers to apply variable data codes. In the past, H.P. Bulmer relied upon Videojet Technologies’ equipment to handle the coding on their packaging lines. When H.P. Bulmer management decided to upgrade their machines, they asked Videojet to recommend the very latest in inkjet printing technology.
Videojet suggested the 1600 Series continuous inkjet printers since they can print up to five lines of text and run at H.P. Bulmer’s extremely high speeds. The 1600 Series is part of Videojet’s 1000 Line of continuous inkjet printers designed for 24/7 production and extended run times before requiring maintenance. H.P. Bulmer’s new Videojet 1600 Series printers replaced a number of aging Videojet Excel 170i Ultra High Speed printers. The Excel models had consistently supported H.P. Bulmer’s needs for 10 years.
John Lewis, training manager, has been impressed with the new 1600 Series printers’ even greater reliability and more compact design. “The machines are so reliable, we don’t need to enter anything. Best before dates are created for the end of the month, limiting how often operators need to change messages.”
Andrew Rawcliffe, packaging engineering maintenance manager adds, “The Videojet printers are simple and easy to use. Eighty percent of mistakes occur due to human error and the intuitive operator interface reduces this.” Rawcliffe also appreciates the modular ink system. Videojet’s Smart Cartridge™ eliminates spillages and ensures the correct fluid type is installed.
To date, nine 1600 Series machines have been installed at the Hereford site. As H.P. Bulmer grows, Videojet looks to support them to achieve their goals for continuously increased uptime and production levels. “Even under the most difficult situations, the support of Videojet has been there,” says Lewis.
For more information, visit Videojet.com.