“He saw the need for an independent ink maker to continue the process of making ink from ‘dry color’ pigments rather than from the newer technology of pigment flushes in the 1970s,” Mr. Crain said. “The advantage of blending inks from pre-made dispersions was often compromised by weaker inks. Cranfield’s reputation was therefore built on providing consistently high-strength inks in a rapidly changing market.”
Cranfield Colours remains a small independent family firm based in South Wales in the UK. “Customers for conventional litho inks are largely within the UK, but specialist lightfast formulations and inks for unusual applications such as collotype and letterpress are exported around the globe,” said Mr. Crain.
Much has changed in ink technology and press speed conditions in the years since the company’s inception, but Cranfield still maintains a steady position as a provider of high strength litho inks with competent technical support. Mr. Crain believes that smaller players are in a unique position to meet the needs of printers in a recessionary environment.
“In good times, ink buyers are persuaded by the marketing and image of the larger providers. When times are hard, printers are not concerned if the ink is made by one man, a bucket and stick,” he said. “They simply want a good ink to arrive at the right time and at a sensible price. With ISO standard for both quality and environmental care, Cranfield meets the buying criteria of the responsible printer whilst having the commitment and flexibility to turn an order around quickly or take on the complex and difficult requests.”
Cranfield has managed to remain successful in a highly competitive market.
“The unmistakable strengths of the company are built on 30 years of good financial control and a committed and energetic team,” said Rachel Blanks, sales manager at Cranfield. “Cranfield does seem to consistently hit the target without missing the point. We enjoy working together, have a good rapport with our clients and have the added excitement of remaining busy in turbulent times.”
Cranfield has a number of exciting plans for the future. The company fully intends to maintain its independence, and has recently completed a major restructuring of plant and machinery to include a newly fitted UV laboratory. Cranfield has also recently signed an intent to work with Sun Chemical as the “Rapide” partner for Wales and the West of England to supply Sun Chemical products alongside its own manufactured ink. “This is an exciting development and allows Cranfield to compete favorably in the larger printer, and those whose group purchasing arrangements insist that they purchase from one of the industry giants,” said Ms. Blanks.
Cranfield Colours Ltd.
NP44 5BB Wales UK
Tel: 44 (0) 1633 861421
Fax: 44 (0)1633 864354
Specialties: Sheetfed lithographic inks, heatset lithographic inks, UV inks and varnishes