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Trade Secrets

Kingfisher Graphics

Brendan Perring delves into the impact that new technology from HP has had on Kingfisher Graphics as it continues to meet the demands of a competitive industry

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The HP Latex 1500 is an important part of the production arsenal at Kingfisher Graphics

Kingfisher soars on latex wings

The print and graphics industry is a rapidly evolving area of the UK manufacturing sector, and remaining competitive is a real challenge for almost every business with it. That is why Kingfisher Graphics has revealed an investment into a HP Latex 1500, which has been a vitally important factor in staying one step ahead.

When it comes to revealing ‘trade secrets’, this really is a pivotal one for Kingfisher, which has carved out a name for itself by producing a cornucopia of different products that range from branded and spot colour matched cushion covers through to massive wide-format murals for huge brands such as Coca-Cola.

The choice of Latex ink technology as the foundation for this new addition to its production department is also an interesting one, and it perhaps reflects the focus of Kingfisher on interior projects, rather than outdoor applications.

The company’s managing director Gareth Evans comments: “With more than 30 years’ experience, Kingfisher Graphics has successfully adapted and grown with each change in the large-format digital print industry. Our production facility is well equipped with the latest print technology, and our experienced management team have all the experience needed to help make our customers’ print projects become a reality.”

Printing at speeds up to 74sq m/h (800sq ft/h) in outdoor production mode and up to 45sq m/h (480sq ft/h) in indoor mode, the HP Latex 1500 maintains quality print after print with 1200dpi HP Thermal Inkjet print heads, auto nozzle replacement, an optical media advance sensor (OMAS), as well as an embedded spectrophotometer.
 
The printer also features the productivity benefits of third generation HP Latex technology, delivering prints that are completely dry and scratch-resistant immediately after printing.

Eye on the future

Evans continues: “Over the last few years Kingfisher have invested heavily in environmentally-friendly printing presses, and now actively seek to offer green alternatives to traditional print methods. Our website contains an overview of our diverse product range, which includes printed display items for both interior and exterior use. In a fast-changing world, new materials and products are constantly coming onto the marketplace. As such, Kingfisher’s aim is to help our customers make sense of the available large-format print options—enabling them to promote their company in the most effective way.”

In a fast-changing world, new materials and products are constantly coming onto the marketplace


Additionally, the HP Latex 1500 has been designed to help firms such as Kingfisher reduce running costs and stay in control for both long and short runs. This is achieved through unattended printing capabilities and cost-effective 5l HP ink cartridges, an accessible print zone that features LED lighting for easy loading, as well as an internal print server and a status beacon that enables at-a-glance production monitoring.

Customers can also select from a variety of add-on options. These include a dual-roll kit, in-line slitters, and a roll-to-freefall kit, which allows users to start finishing initial prints while the job is still in progress. A double-sided day-night kit also enables users to automatically print double-sided backlit applications. Finally, an ink collector kit for porous substrates such as textiles and mesh banners is also available.

A recent comment by Evans on the firm’s industry blog is indicative of how technology such as HP’s plays to the strengths of Kingfisher: “Interior design has come a long way in the field of digital print. There are almost endless possibilities with designs and materials. Create antique finishes in an instant, or create a polished look with digital prints.

“At Kingfisher Graphics we can print on materials as high spec as glass, giving a great finish to your interior, or as easy to fit as wallpaper.

At Kingfisher Graphics we can print on materials as high spec as glass, giving a great finish to your interior, or as easy to fit as wallpaper


“One piece wallpaper also gives a fantastic professional looking finish—just think, no more joins or colour drops. One piece of wallpaper across the whole wall. This sort of design is great for public spaces where customers or patients may wait. There are no joins for bored children to pick at, and the wallpaper is durable enough to last a life time.

“We have printed one piece wallpaper for massive companies like Coca Cola Enterprises, The Village Hotel, and many more, this really is a growth sector for us.”

A delicate touch

Kingfisher has also based much of its growth and success on being able to cater for a discerning clientele, and recently did a project for an exhibition of Whitworth wallpaper designs of the 1950s and 1960s.

(Above & below) Kingfisher Graphics has an impressive portfolio of work, proving its flexibility and production scope



Evans continues: “At the heart of the exhibition were papers from the ‘Palladio’ range that signalled wallpaper’s revival after it fell out of favour with modernist architects. Including designs by Roger Nicholson, Audrey Levy, and Lucienne Day, the wallpapers on display also took you through abstraction, pop, op-art, and psychedelia.

 
 
 

















"The Whitworth’s collection is made up of more than 5,000 examples, the bulk of which were given to the gallery in 1967 by The Wall Paper Manufacturers. The Whitworth felt like a fitting home for the products of an industry whose mechanisation, like that of textiles, was pioneered in the North West. Since the 1970s, further donations and purchases have helped make the collection one of the most important in the country.”

 
 

















What is clear is that Kingfisher has kept flexible and light on its feet in a sector that’s competitive demands continue to mount. By focusing on a specific area of production, while making sure it can still cater for a wide breadth of work, it has ensured a healthy and diverse clientele. Its choice of technology is also standing it in excellent stead, and is possibly one of the most important decisions any printer can make today above choosing the right staff. So will Kingfisher continue to soar? Why yes, yes it will.







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