Granthams steps up the pace
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By Sophie Matthews-Paul
28 June 2012
Kirsty Reader with the new KIP C7800 at Granthams
One of the companies I've known for several decades is Granthams, based in the north-west, and now considerably older than me having reached the ripe old age of 122. This is a family-owned business which has witnessed myriad changes since its inception and has made the choice of moving with the times, based on shrewd decisions and a loyal customer base for both its bureau services and display supplies.
As the years have passed I've always kept in touch with two of the key people at Granthams. The first is Mark Hudders, whose family has owned the business for generations. The second is general manager, Kirsty Reader, whose depth of knowledge of technology and the market takes some beating.
Granthams has never been a company which goes with the flow; its bureau services have always complemented its reseller and distribution side for a range of wide-format products as well as a thriving department that handles art materials. But, in terms of the types of orders which customers demand, Hudders noticed that there is a definite shift in jobs and a corresponding need to produce, economically and quickly, higher volumes up to A0 in size. He realised that, in order to meet the criteria needed in the most cost-effective and proficient way, it would mean a shift to a different kind of technology.
After careful consideration, Hudders decided to install a KIP C7800 to cater for changing market needs, enabling Granthams to take on a wealth of jobs which, formerly, weren't proving to be economic for the company or for its customers. "Digital run lengths are getting longer and, with the types of order we're being given, the need for variable data printing is getting more crucial," he explains. "At the same time, people aren't prepared to pay a premium price – yet they want everything now. This is particularly true for fliers and posters which have a limited lifespan and certainly don't need to be considered for long-term use."
Hudders is the first to agree that many orders remain best suited to ink-jet production but, for an increasing number of enquiries, he recognised that there are other technologies worthy of consideration. "This is why we went for the KIP C7800, which is a rugged toner-based printer that can produce all sorts of jobs in colour or black and white on a variety of different media up to A0 size," he continues. "This machine is blindingly fast, too, and very easy to set up. The fact that it's so inexpensive to run means we can pass the benefits onto our customer base, and these are welcomed in today's tough economy. It also means that we can print higher volumes extremely quickly, and the low cost, fast turnaround can't really be challenged by alternative processes."
The KIP C7800 has throughput speeds of 325sq m/hr (that's 3,500 sq ft/hr in old money) for colour output, rising to more than 390sq m/hr (4,200 sq ft/hr) for black and white. It has four LED imaging heads that deliver a resolution of 600 x 2,400dpi, and a maximum width of 914mm (with a useful minimum of 297mm). Because it's toner based, output is UV-durable and water resistant without any overlamination being needed, and it works with a good choice of papers and display materials.
Although it's billed primarily as a system for office documents, CAD and GIS applications, it's remarkably good at producing graphic applications, thus catering for a whole range of posters, signs, displays and other quality jobs. It's not designed to be a photographic or fine art printer but, on the other hand, it can turn in surprisingly high standards so shouldn't be ruled out as option when longer runs are needed at a price.
"This is a departure for the type of wide-format display work we've offered in the past, but the KIP C7800's speed and incredibly cheap output are ideal for many of our customers where fast turnaround is essential," comments Reader. "Another noticeable benefit is with its cloud-based printing as it features a direct email feature without any server intervention, and this means we can provide a secure environment for our customers."
This installation is indicative of how demand for wide-format digital print is increasingly becoming essential for commercial and, even, domestic environments. It's testimony to Granthams's forward-thinking attitude that it's come up with a display solution that's a great complement to its existing graphic technologies and should open doors to new applications.
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