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Identifying new markets amid disruption

Wide-format print specialist The Big Display Company has opened up about how its investment in machinery to take on work related to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has allowed it to expand its focus into new markets.

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The Big Display Company is a long-term user of HP printing technology

The Slough-based company has been running HP printers for several years and had a number of HP devices in place before the pandemic, but opted to take on two additional pieces of kit to help with demand for work such as floor stickers to promote social distancing and face masks.

An additional HP Latex 570 was installed in June 2020 shortly to focus on floor stickers, while the company also took on a HP Latex 3600 in July 2020 - a move that marketing director Jack Murphy described as a ‘game-changer', allowing the business to produce between five and six rolls of 3.2m-wide banner each day.

“We did the maths and discovered that the HP Latex 3600 would give us higher output and speed with reduced running costs,” Murphy says.

“When the machine was first installed, we printed over 6,000sq m in the first week for a time-critical job, which just wouldn't have been possible with our previous equipment.”

For face masks work, The Big Display Company purchased a HP Stitch S500 dye sublimation printer through RA Smart.

Murphy says the main reason for opting for HP again was the team's familiarity with the technology.

"The Stitch has bedded in so well; it runs all day, every day,” he says. “It can operate unattended and has boosted output. It's cost-effective and straight-forward to run. The investment was a no-brainer for us.”

While work related to Covid-19 was the main focus for The Big Display Company in 2020, Murphy says business is keen to plan for additional work they can take on when demand for face coverings and floor stickers slows down, and has identified a number of core markets.

Crucially, the HP printers are well-positioned in the market and hit the right price point for us as a business

In terms of the HP Latex 3600, Murphy says this will be used to support growth plans in the interior décor market, describing the device as being “impeccable” for producing wallcoverings, as well as other higher-end products.

Another major advantage of the HP Latex 3600, Murphy said, is that it will allow the company to bring work in house that it had previously been outsourcing to Europe.

“The HP Latex 3600 does double-sided print unbelievably well,” Murphy says, adding: “Previously we were outsourcing double-sided print over 1,500mm to a company in Europe.

“Since bringing that work in-house we have reduced turnaround times for this type of print massively. And that's even more beneficial when you consider the potential for further delays with regards to ports, and possible issues with tax.”

As for the HP Stitch, Murphy says this will continue with much of the usual work The Big Display Company traditionally has outside of Covid-19 times, including display products such as flags and backdrops

“We always have so many positive things to say about the HP engineers that we deal with - they consistently go above and beyond with the level of support, and practical expertise they can bring to an issue,” Murphy says.

If you have an interesting story or a view on this news, then please e-mail news@printmonthly.co.uk

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“Crucially, the HP printers are well-positioned in the market and hit the right price point for us as a business.”
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