The Rapid Plas story is one that illustrates the approach we still take today in engineering, and manufacturing tough but smart looking products for the harsh Australian environment.
The founder, Michael Firth born in 1936, grew up on their family farm just west of Tamworth. After winning dux of Tamworth High school in his last year, he studied as a cadet engineer in the Parry Shire. He began his working life as a civil engineer after starting a company building roads and bridges around country NSW. But as the farming blood ran so thick, in 1975 he sold the bridge building business and bought a farm about 30km out of Tamworth called Apple Tree Flat. Here he ran a cattle feed lot of over 1500 head and later ran a sheep feedlot.
Battling through life as cattle and sheep farmers during this time was hard work and tough stuff. So, using his engineering experience and with the help of his sons, they designed their first “Rapid Sheep Handler” which made it so much quicker to turn the sheep on their backs, so they could trim their hooves. Many farmers in the area quickly began to see the benefit and began to use them too.
During this time the rotational moulding process for plastics was introduced into Australia. Being an innovative person and with an engineering background, he delivered a visionary alternative to the rural industry and successfully entered the rotational moulding industry. With the help of his sons they built their first oven to mould the still popular plastic longline water trough….and so in the year of 1990….’Rapid Plas’ was born. Plas being short for plastic.
ENGINEER + FARMER = PRODUCTS ENGINEERED TOUGH FOR FARMERS
Today, Rapid Plas is still led by two of his sons, David and Jim, and now employs over 60 local staff. Michael’s engineering experience has been the backbone of the Rapid Plas toughness and we continue to strive to build products to the high standard he set for us. He has always had a strong focus on selling only through the rural dealer network and supporting local communities, really pioneering the dealer network we have today. Rapid Plas has continued to hold to this principle of supporting local businesses and local jobs.