Central London-based Rapidity has installed a Canon Océ Colorado, as part of a £1.75m large-format and digital reequip.
In the past few weeks, the company has installed the Colorado, which was launched earlier this year, along with a Canon Océ Arizona 2280 XT, an Océ VarioPrint 6320, a Foliant Mercury laminator, from Intelligent Finishing Systems, and a Trotec laser cutter.
It is also due to replace its two HP Indigo 7600 Digital Presses with Indigo 7900s in the second week of December.
The Arizona and VP 6320 replace a 480 XT and a Xerox Nuvera respectively, while the Colorado is additional capacity, with Rapidity production director Ben Manning citing a 300% rise in large-format sales, which over the past six months has grown to account for 25% of Rapidity’s overall sales.
Manning said: “Large-format has been the biggest investment area, the others are essentially replacing existing machines, but we’ve added to large-format because of growth.
"We’re doing more work with the retail sector now, which requires faster turnarounds on installs in Central London, so need to produce work quicker.”
Intended for indoor and outdoor applications, the 1.6m-wide Colorado, which uses Canon’s patented UVgel curable ink system, can reach speeds of 159sqm/h, the fastest in its class, according to Canon.
Manning added: “It’s amazing. There’s no heat, no distortion of media, the inks are much more durable, the colour is more vibrant and there is a continuous tone, so for retail work when printing skin tones there is a much better image quality, and it is the fastest roll-to-roll on the market.
“The reason we’ve invested earlier than we planned to with the Arizona is that the old one was a bit too slow for us now, as we have a bit too much work. The new machine is twice as fast.”
Along with the Arizona, the Indigos have been upgraded a year early due to the volume of work being put through them – the two Indigos run 24-hour shifts Monday to Friday and have printed around 300m impressions in four years, according to Manning.
48-staff Rapidity also runs a Ricoh Pro C9110, an HP Latex 360 and a range of finishing equipment. The £7.5m turnover firm is growing at a rate of £1m per year and Manning believes it is now one of the few commercial printers left in Central London.
Last year, it acquired media and production agency Tapestry's print wing.
However, according to Manning, much of the firm's growth has been organic.
“It’s due to us really being the only commercial printer in Central London. We always retain pretty much everything we have, so we only have to add a bit on at a time and every time we add something we grow.”