The Big Display Company invests for today and tomorrow
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
The Big Display Company has invested in three new HP wide-format printers and standardised its RIPs factory wide to rise to the challenges of the pandemic and, longer term, help it to expand into new markets, including interior decor.
The Slough-based family-run trade printer took on a new 1.6m-wide, seven-channel Latex 570 last June and followed that in July with the installation of a secondhand 180sqm/hr, 3.2m-wide Latex 3600, both supplied by Papergraphics.
Most recently, in November it installed a new 1.6m-wide HP Stitch S500 dye-sub from RA Smart.
The business has continued to operate throughout the various lockdowns to support trade clients, with marketing director Jack Murphy saying that one of the few upsides of the pandemic was that the business had grown significantly closer to clients throughout, which gave it the confidence to invest.
The easing of restrictions after the original lockdown last spring led to a change in demand from the 20-staff company’s customers, as many rushed to secure floor stickers to promote social distancing and one-way systems in various environments.
As a result, the business, which runs a battery of predominantly HP machines, including a 5m-wide 300sqm/hr HP Scitex XP5300 "workhorse", a flatbed FB700 and three Latex 570s, took on the additional Latex machines to help it to manage the demand for floor graphics.
Murphy said: “We spoke with Papergraphics and they recommended an HP Latex 3600 that had barely been used.
“It was a no brainer, its the equivalent of three-and-a-half of the 570s and with one operator.
“When the machine was first installed, we printed over 6,000sqm in the first week for a time-critical job, which just wouldn’t have been possible with our previous equipment,” said Murphy.
The Stitch S500, meanwhile, has enabled the business to cope with the increased call for face coverings as a result of the pandemic.
As well as investing in hardware, over the summer the firm also revamped the RIPs across the business to streamline production, working with Image2output to roll out CalderaRIP across its battery of printers and cutters after a sweep of the software it was running across the business and identified a number of issues from running myriad products.
"We standardised all the RIPs across all the machines and it's insane," said Murphy.
"The time savings on set-up and fewer mistakes, the cost savings and productivity improvements are amazing. It's something that we had wanted to do for so long, but [because of Covid] we finally had the time to strip everything right back and rebuild it."
When the pandemic starts to subside, the business aims to use the Latex 3600 to support its growth plans within the interior décor market. Murphy described the machine as being “impeccable” for producing wall coverings, as well as other higher-end products.
The machine will also enable the company to bring work in house that it had previously been outsourcing to Europe. Murphy said this will be particularly important now that Brexit has been finalised.
The company will use the Stitch S500 post-pandemic to produce its traditional work, such as flags and backdrops.
"We're optimistic about the future, because I don't see another way to be as it permeates. And what we've been able to do is put equipment [and software] in that we know will serve us and our clients long-term that lends itself to the work we do today and the work we will do in the future, like interior graphics, wall coverings.
"The investments cover what we need now, and talking to our clients then we know they will support new opportunities."
Yesterday the business ran some wall covering trails on its HP Latex 3600 for an internal project