Rapidity expands into B2 digital

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, October 26, 2018

Rapidity has added B2 digital printing capabilities to its service portfolio for the first time after taking delivery of an HP Indigo 12000.

Installed this week at the firm’s 1,400sqm Sidcup site, which it expanded onto with the acquisition of Lefa Print just under a year ago, the additional press will be operational from the start of November.

The machine, which is specified with the white ink and thick substrate kit options, is one of two B2 Indigos that SP Group had installed just weeks before it closed in August.

Rapidity production director Ben Manning said “it had only just gone through commissioning and was then turned off so it had hardly done any impressions and is more or less brand new”.

“The biggest thing that’s held us back over the years is the fact that we were only operating out of one site in central London so we couldn’t physically fit the machine in,” Manning added.

“The purchase of Lefa Print gave us the opportunity to look at the space that we’ve now got with the second site and that’s what has given us the opportunity to make the investment now.

“The most obvious route to go down is short-run packaging – we don’t expect much of the work that currently goes through our two Indigo 7900s to migrate onto the new press, we’re going to treat it as a totally separate sort of work away from that.

“We’re going to be migrating some of the shorter-run work from our litho press as well – folders and posters as well as packaging. We are aware of the opportunities that the press will open up to us so we were quite keen to get it in and start exploring those avenues after.”

The 12000 has joined a fleet of kit including a six-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster 74, a Muller Martini stitching line, two MBO folders, a Heidelberg Cylinder and a Bell and Howell six-station inserter at the Sidcup base.

A Xerox iGen4 digital press at the site will be sold next month; the work from the machine has already been moved up to Rapidity’s main London operation.

“The Indigo will just complement everything that we do and allow us to grow into other markets that we’re not currently in due to the format size,” said Manning.

“We’re building our Tharstern MIS now to automatically plan and send work to the press; it already automatically works out what the most economical route for the job to go down in terms of price is.”

The business also looked at alternatives including Fujifilm’s Jet Press but found that the capabilities of the Indigo 12000 – including its ability to print on both sides of the sheet – best fit its requirements.

Rapidity now employs nearly 60 staff – 46 in London and the remainder in Sidcup – and is set to turn over just under £10m this year. The business had last revamped its digital offering with a £1.75m re-equip in late 2017.

“In the last 12 months our large-format department, which is in London, has shown the most growth,” said Manning.

“This machine is quite a good fit for large-format in the sense that it can take some of the short-run posters and pieces like that – it all ties in quite nicely.”


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