Christie Digital – This Company Really Knows How to Make Video Projectors by Christopher Maione

6/27/2011 5:56:37 PM
By PSN Staff

Christie Digital is more than just video projectors.  For those of you that don’t know all of the facets that Christie gets involved in, they have video and immersive solutions for:
•    3D / Advanced Visualization
•    Business
•    Cinema Solutions
•    Commercial & Public Displays
•    Managed Services
•    Medical
•    Simulation Solutions
•    Video Walls

Christie has been around for over 80 years, and has enjoyed a stellar reputation in the industry for providing excellent service and support for its digital projection and display technologies.  The company says it prides itself on its ability to “listen” and respond to customers with products that prove their ability to be innovative, reliable and affordable.  I think they are right on point.

As part of this “listening” Christie recently held an important round table event at its Kitchener office, located outside of Toronto.  I was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of this think tank, and I was duly impressed with the company, the people behind it, their technology and their commitment to the environment.

christie blog chris maione 

Here are some of my take-away’s from my trip and time with Christie:

Christie is owned by Ushio, who is also committed to unsurpassed customer service.

Christie got its roots in the cinema industry, originally manufacturing film movie projectors and equipment.  Then they grew. And grew.  And grew.

In sales last year, Christie approached ¾ of a BILLION dollars.  That’s a lot of video projectors!

Having acquired Electrohome in 1999,  Christie took over the Kitchener facility in 2003, and since then they have essentially rebuilt the entire interior of the building into a technical marvel, testing mecca and house of ingenuity.  Their building is 300,000 square feet and sits on 23 acres of “green“ property which is across from a national park.  The offices are very accommodating with a nice “corporate” feel to them.  Their warehouse is monstrous and their production / assembly lines are contained in a true clean room environment.   

Christie assembles their video projectors in a Class 10,000 cleanroom and manufactures the light engines in a Class 1,000  cleanroom.  To put things in perspective, that’s 1,000 particles of .5 microns or larger per cubic foot of air compared to a typical office building which contains 500,000 – 1,000,000 particles per cubic foot of air.

Christie projectors are RIGOROUSLY tested – they are dropped, banged, shaken, tumbled and each and every projector is “burned in” in a room that looks like they are hatching little alien robots.  As I peered into the dark room through a glass viewing window I saw projectors lined up on tables in neat rows from front to back waiting to be put through a variety of tests to ensure quality and performance.  These guys are tough!

Christie’s noteworthy testing facilities also include an anechoic chamber used for testing and measuring noise levels.  Now I ask you, what other video projector manufacturer has their own anechoic chamber?

Christie is “committed to sustainability” and maintains strong environmental protection programs.  They actually care about the environment and look to find environmentally friendly methods in all aspects of their business.  They have a dedicated Manager of Integrated Management Systems – Quality & Environmental, Peter Pekurar.  This guy focuses on EVERY aspect of the company and its employees and finds way to do things greener.  Peter, I give you a lot of credit for what you have accomplished – and thank you for being available and willing to share this with others in our industry.  (Peter also sits with me on the AV Systems Energy Management group working to develop the Infocomm / ANSI standard.)
 
Their efforts and success include:
•    Recycled heat used to heat the facility
•    82 percent of materials recycled in the manufacturing plant
•    Corporate Environmental Action Plan spanning multiple sites
•    Award winning manufacturing facility - InfoComm GreenAV 2010
•    MediaCorp Canada’s Greenest Employer Award 2010 and 2011

Christie is a “model” company in the AV industry; a leading technology provider, with impressive products and a solid core for environmental responsibility.  Christie makes being a high tech and environmentally responsible manufacturer look easy.

Christie also maintains a sales, support and distribution office in Cypress, CA.  Both the Kitchener and the Cypress facilities are ISO14001 certified.  This internationally recognized standard monitors environmental management within an organization that is audited by a 3rd party to ensure that they comply and continually improve.  For more info on ISO 14000: iso.org.

Christie believes and supports solutions that are environmentally friendly and that follow  RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) regulations.  They are big on conserving energy and early adopters of including stand-by-modes for digital cinema projectors to reduce power consumption when the equipment is non-operational.

In addition, Christie’s corporate culture supports car pooling, biking to work, and conservation practices – such as setting printer defaults for double sided printing, using only recycled papers from responsibly managed forests and reducing trade show materials for an overall reduction in paper usage.

Even on the road, Christie is impressive and their booth at InfoComm – a show stopper.  Showcasing their robust line of video projectors, they were recently ranked #1 for Large Venue Projectors and #8 for Conference / Classroom Projectors.  At the show, their main display this year was a 3 projector edge blended and custom cropped two story high image of a slot machine.  Light from the three projectors produced over 70,000 lumens.  

For some quick shots of their InfoComm booth, click here.    

I was honored to lend my voice and expertise to the discussions at the Christie round table, but the visit gave me with so much more.  I was truly impressed (not an easy feat) with the sales team that invited me out, the engineers I met with, the executives who briefed us – and probably most relevant – very impressed with the way they manufacture, assemble and test video projectors.  

So let’s cut to the chase.  Architects, engineers, designers, consultants and end-users, if you are considering a specifying or installing new video projector, check out Christie Digital – the company is the real deal and their video projectors stand apart from others as clearly being well made with superior performance.

One other side note – and proving that their innovation runs more than “skin deep” - Christie developed a medical technology device which looks like some sort of document camera – but when pointed at your body parts, allows you to see through your skin and into your veins and actually see the blood flowing through them. Where do they come up with this stuff?
 
The very cool Veinviewer product is on their web site here.




Christopher Maione, CTS-D, is president of Christopher Maione Associates, a firm specializing in all aspects of AV business, technologies, emerging trends and marketing strategy. An industry guru and resource, Maione strongly supports the strengthening of the AV industry by continually setting benchmarks for improving the quality of the products and services AV manufacturers and professionals deliver.  With his global experience in AV / IT and architecture, he is an often sought after speaker for industry events and a frequent contributor to various industry trade publications.  Serving as an Infocomm Adjunct Faculty member since as well as on several standards committees, he continues to promote the betterment of the AV industry through his extensive involvement.  Reach him at: cmaione@chrismaione.com

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