Banbury Litho is in transformation mode. The journey started 18 months ago expressly to transition the company towards a strong new future vision. As part of this, it has invested in a Mimaki JFX200-2513EX flatbed UV printer and an Esko Kongsberg X24 Edge digital cutter with i-Cut software from CMYUK.
Matt Plant, Commercial Director says “Essentially, what we are building at BL is the look and feel of a creative branding agency with a state-of-the-art production facility. We are developing the front-end of the business, but naturally you need to invest in your production facility as well.”
Oxford-based Banbury Litho was founded 42 years ago, and is on a journey of growth and diversity, which has completely revised its company culture.
“Internally, we've created real meaningful values for the business that we all work to every day,” says Matt.
“We’re developing ourselves into a customer centric organisation, where we now have a true understanding of our clients’ businesses – what they stand for, what they're trying to achieve, and what their purpose is, so we can help guide them. We’re using our knowledge and a consultative approach to create the right results for our clients,” he says.
Alongside this, the company has introduced a new in-house creative design facility that joins a technical innovation and solutions team, which focusses on web-based business tools, all topped off with a rebrand, the collective upshot of which, saw the company grow by 14% prior to Coronavirus.
Market demand, new equipment
Like many digital print businesses, Banbury Litho has navigated the challenges of Lockdown successfully. It was quick out of the traps registering www.coronavirusprint.co.uk offering a number of COVID-related products such as signage and display, posters, floor graphics, face masks, visors, gloves and sanitisers to its wide variety of customers.
This in turn led to high demand for floor graphics and other types of safety signage, pushing the company to purchase the Mimaki flatbed and Esko cutter.
Banbury offers a wide range of print solutions, and has a plant list that includes two B2 Litho presses, one of which is a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL75 LED, in addition to Xerox iGen and Iridesse presses.
On the wide-format side, the company runs a Mutoh ValueJet printer, Mutoh Valuecut cutter and Vivid laminators. With this equipment it was able to produce some wide-format print in-house but substantial quantities, or anything that required higher quality would be outsourced.
New wide-format capability
“Everything we do here needs to add value in some way, not just be a production machine,” says Matt, which is one of the reasons why the company chose the Mimaki JFX200-2513EX as it offers white and clear inks.
“It’s a good flatbed starting point for us offering very good quality and speed,” he says.
In concert with the Mimaki, the sheer versatility of the Esko Kongsberg X24 Edge is set to drive the company towards the diversification it desires.
“The Esko Kongsberg is one of the best cutting tables on the market. If you've got the right specification, the right tools, you can produce such wonderful work on it. We want to be doing more packaging concepts, short run packaging, point of sale material, reboard furniture and more.
“We are looking to diversify. With our consultative approach, in-house design capabilities, value-added services and now this new equipment, we are ready for the new markets that have opened up to us,” he adds.
The CMYUK partnership
The relationship with CMYUK is a new one but one that Banbury has high hopes for, not least because its ethos in many ways reflects the latter’s own.
“What I like about CMYUK is its service level – nothing is too much trouble. If you need extra training, extra support, a query answering, if you want to go up to their showroom and test something, they are very accommodating. When I talk about consultative approaches, adding value, etc, there is a lot of value in this relationship. We're actually partners and I put a huge amount of value to partnerships. I want CMYUK to be by our side to advise when we need that advice. They should be by our side all the way,” says Matt.
Into the future
With a recruitment drive happening in the new year, and newly refurbished premises with new client consultation areas, Banbury Litho is more than ready to start welcoming clients and potential new customers face-to-face.
It has begun talks with CMYUK to further invest in roll-to-roll equipment, opening up the world of textiles for soft signage, décor, interiors and more. The company has also just produced a new resource for all its clients – a 160-page physical book that demystifies the many aspects and processes around printing – helping its clients to understand their own requirements better.
Banbury’s Coronavirus website is still currently up and running but will eventually close and be turned into something else. With this company’s drive, ambition and vision underpinned by an impressive arsenal of printing equipment, it will be very interesting to see what that might be.