Epson Case Study - Huntsman

Posted by David Coatney on

 PROFILE

NAME:Huntsman
LOCATION:The Woodlands, Tex.
FOUNDED:1982
WEBSITE: www.huntsman.com/

CHALLENGE

Replace outdated laser label printers with solution that would produce high-quality color labels for chemical production company.

SOLUTION

Epson provides reliability and features Huntsman needs for efficient GHS color label printing for its global package fill facilities and shipping warehouses.

 

High-Performance Products

ColorWorksOn-Demand Inkjet Color Label Printers Support GHS Label Printing for the Performance Products Division of Huntsman Corporation

Catina Closson used to spend hours standing by a label printer to make sure a job printed properly, with jams being all too familiar. “When large print jobs are supposed to take 45 minutes, they take even longer when you have to babysit your printer,” said Closson. “It was taking me away from my other duties.”

Closson is shipping coordinator for one of the largest package fill facilities in the Performance Products division of Huntsman Corporation, a global chemical company. Founded in 1982 by Jon Huntsman and his entrepreneurial spirit, Huntsman is a multinational manufacturer of chemical products servicing three key regions: the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Within the Performance Products division, Closson helps to coordinate shipments of products sold in drums or international bulk containers, all of which rely on labels. “Our previous printers were outdated and no longer being serviced by the manufacturer –it was time for a change,” said Closson.

Suitable Solutions and Support

In Huntsman’s industry, regulatory-required pictograms include color. “For our purpose, we needed a printer with color capability; black and white was not an option,” said Closson. “And I was most concerned with performance and reliability.”

“We researched a lot of solutions that would be able to handle the amount of printing we need to do,” said Debra Washington, global quality manager at Huntsman Performance Products.

And given the international nature of Huntsman’s business, they also needed a solution with global availability of supplies and technical support. “We tested the ColorWorks C6500A in our highest volume package fill facilities –one printer in each of the three regions,” said Washington. “In evaluating based on our biggest concerns –hardware reliability, print quality and global availability –the feedback was positive from all three regions.”

The ColorWorks C6500A was the final fit.

Expedited Print Jobs

For Closson, the auto-cutter on the ColorWorksC6500A was the biggest game changer. “It allows me to queue several print jobs and each one will be cut at the end of each job,” said Closson. “Without an auto-cutter, I have to go to the printer and manually prepare for the next print job or else all the labels will be connected.”

Previously, Closson was using the NeuraLabel500e laser printer that uses heat to print, which can cause adhesive to leak out over the edges of the media and stick to the rollers, which can then stick to media and create a jam. To help the labels slide into place so they wouldn’t bunch up and fall on the floor, Closson even constructed a plastic ramp held together with duct tape and a paper guide from an old fax machine, connecting it to the printer with 3M adhesive hooks. Once the ColorWorks were installed, Closson spent much less time needing to babysit the printer.

Compared to their previous label printers, Closson notes the only “peeps” she hears out of them are when they run out of media or the ink or maintenance box needs to be changed. “I love the fact that if it stops printing in the middle of the label because the ink ran out or the maintenance box is full, as soon as I pop a new one in, it picks up right where it left off,” says Closson. “I don’t have to worry about missing labels.”

Closson is also using a DPR RW6500A rewinder with the ColorWorks printer. “This has saved me so much time. I can start the roll, and work on something else while it does the work for me,” says Closson.

Previously Closson had to physically roll labels by hand. “It doesn’t seem like much work, but if I stopped to answer the phone or help someone who came into my office, my entire desk and the floor by my desk would be covered in labels. It sounds comical, but it also creates a safety hazard,” says Closson. “Rolling one set of 160 labels by hand isn’t too bad, and it doesn’t take up too much time, but when you have four sets of 160 labels, plus address labels, plus labels with special notations, and you factor in phone calls, emails and visitors, it takes up a lot of time. The rewinder takes care of everything.”

Safety First

A label mix-up in Huntsman’s industry could cause disruptions well into in the supply chain. All labels are checked after printing and before application.

“Regardless of what printer is used, we always need to ensure that safety and regulatory measures are met,” says Washington. “The Epson printer has made the prep work easier and allows us to continue buying blank label stock and printing both the regulatory pictograms in color as well as the black ink text.”

“We are verifying that we have the correct number of labels for the number of packages, there are no missing colors or streaking and that the colors are what they should be,” said Closson. “I also verify that the information manually added to each label is correct for the product that the label is for, such as weight, lot number, manufacturing date, expiry date, etc.”

For Huntsman’s make-to-stock products, they also label packages with DOT labels, which often need to be replaced for export shipping. The inkjet technology of the ColorWorksprinter makes it easier for Huntsman’s warehouse teams to remove the labels, compared to the previously used laser printers. “We no longer have to scrape or use chemicals to remove the labels, which is such a time saver,” said Closson.

Closson is thrilled with their decision to move to ColorWorks. “I print labels every day and I used to dread having to do it. That isn’t the case anymore –ColorWorks saves me so much time,” she says.

And at the end of the day, it’s really all about reliability for the Huntsman team. “We need to know that every color will be the same, every time and that the printers are going to work when we need them to,” said Closson. “If we can’t print the labels, we cannot ship the materials. The ColorWorksprinters help us get our job done.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual. Individuals were not compensated for this article.


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