The firm described it as “a much-delayed homecoming” after its original plans – with a builder set to start work in March 2020 – were stymied by the pandemic and its knock-on effects. The firm had a record year in 2019, when it was also the winner of Printweek’s Company of the Year.
The £3m-plus spend has involved completely refurbishing its 1,300sqm facility on Goswell Road, which is owned by the business, and includes a host of environmental initiatives.
A new industrial power system, LED lighting, insulation, company-wide atmospheric control and electric vehicle charging points have contributed to a significant reduction in carbon usage, while at the same time the refurb has retained the unique features of the 1920s building, which was originally constructed as a factory for C&A.
“This is a 100-year-old building and we’ve achieved a B rating on our EPC,” said managing director Paul Manning.
“We’re as efficient as we can be and it’s a key selling point.”
The production revamp has involved an investment in four six-colour Xerox Iridesse sheetfed digital presses; a top-of-the range SwissQprint Nyala 4, also with fluorescent ink capability, two Canon M-series Colorado roll-fed printers with white ink, and a Canon ImagePrograf 6100.
The family-owned firm previously ran HP Indigo digital presses, but prior to that had been a long-term user of Xerox tech.
On the post-press side, Rapidity has added a Horizon BQ280 perfect binder which joins recently-purchased VeloBlade Volta 69+ digital cutting table with VeloTaper taping system, and a Matrix MX-370MP digital foiling and special effects device.
The pre-media setup at the £8m turnover, 36 employee business has been boosted with the addition of XMPie variable data software.
“We’ve replaced almost all of our equipment. We know all about Xerox and we felt that toner has really come on. The Iridesse is the best all-round press that suits our business – the quality is amazing. And the Nyala is just the best bit of display kit we’ve ever had,” Manning said.
“We’ve reduced our power usage, and we can still have specials like pinks and metallics.”
He added: “We’ve had the luxury, and it is an absolute luxury, to design our building from the ground up and lay everything out exactly how we know we need it, and we’ve invested in equipment that we know ticks all the boxes.
“More importantly we’ve had a chance to go out and look at equipment and technology that uses less energy and is more efficient – it makes sense environmentally and financially. Customers want to know about energy use.”
He said the firm’s overall use of power was down by 60%.
Rapidity offers a range of value-added, fast turnaround services including packaging, influencer marketing, display, creative printing, and transactional and programmatic mailings.
Manning said the London market was now “much busier” with people returning to their offices, and more footfall at events and exhibitions.
The firm aims to make the most of its proximity to key customers in the capital, and on the fact that a number of former competitors in London have either fallen by the wayside or moved out of London altogether.
The Sidcup site Rapidity took on with the acquisition of Lefa Print in 2018 was rented, and is now up for rent.