Rob Prough, Signature Folder Operator (left), with Brent Tracy, Operations Manager.
Kennesaw, Ga., – Results have exceeded expectations in the wake of Hagg Press’s recent installation of a Stahlfolder TH 94 signature folder with the oblong-feeding, “frog” option in the 2nd station and vertical SBP delivery stacker.
Hagg Press has seen the benefits of one recently introduced folding solution, developed by Heidelberg, which achieves both top folding quality and dramatically improved productivity by combining lower-speed production with a high number of cycles, based on a simple turn of sheets in the feeder. Depending on sheet format, oblong feeding can lead to an increased performance of approximately 30 percent at the same machine speed, due to the shorter infeed length of the sheet.
“Wow!” exclaimed Kern W. Hagg, president of the short-to-medium-run publication business based in Elgin, Ill. “Try taking a sheet of 24”x36” 80 lb. gloss text, fold it in half the long way and then a right-angle half-fold and then half again. Make sure the folds are tight and corner-to-corner square. Then, try to do five of these in one second! The first long fold (36” in my example) is unusual, but all page crossovers are dialed in tightly with just the first parallel fold. The dual stream delivery into the right angle unit can easily handle such blistering speeds with its user-friendly vertical stacker.”
When Demand Outstrips Capacity….
According to Hagg, Heidelberg’s Stahl TH 94 folder performs exactly as advertised, delivering 18,000 folded, 16-page signatures per hour.
“With two chain stitchers and an 18-pocket perfect binder, our conventional folders were able to generate only about 40,000 pieces each per 8-hour shift,” he said. “Our three voracious finishing machines demanded folded signatures faster than we could produce them. Instituting carte blanche overtime helped, but our operators were rapidly tiring of six- and seven-day workweeks.”
Located in Northern Illinois, Hagg Press serves wholesale print buyers throughout the Chicagoland and larger five-state area. The company specializes in short-to-medium-run publications. As such, “Folded signatures are necessary with most jobs we produce,” Hagg said.
The Oblong Advantage
Until now, the limitation of oblong feeding has been transferal of the speed problem to the second folding station: Because there was no reduction of the infeed length, the full sheet length still had to be transported. To resolve this problem, Heidelberg developed a pneumatic twin-lay device that enables the alignment and transport of folded sheets in the second folding station at two parallel side lays, reducing the speed of the second station by 50 percent. In so doing, the sheets travel over or “leap frog” one another in order to align with the register of the twin lay. While the first station runs at full speed; therefore, the second station functions in a different way to increase productivity.
“Heidelberg’s Stahlfolder TH 94 with second station “frog” folding significantly increases overall output when running oblong signatures,” said Steven Calov, Postpress Product Manager for Heidelberg U.S. “While the results of the folding process are still the same, the overall result of folder automation has been a dramatic reduction in makeready and changeover times, with productivity inching upward to benchmarks set by today’s ultra-high-performance presses.”
Good Riddance to Bottlenecks
Long story short, Hagg’s backlog and overtime issues ended the day after the Stahlfolder TH 94 was installed. “We had better, more consistent folds, and near perfect cross-overs at more than triple the hourly production of our previous generation of signature folders,” Hagg said.
In the short term, Hagg Press intends to complement and enhance the action of the new feeder by adding a POLAR pile turner. This addition will present loads that are flatter, better jogged, and contain less spray powder than loads sent directly from presses.
Unfortunately, “I cannot testify as to the quality of Heidelberg service and support for our new folder because the TH 94 has performed flawlessly for almost a year since installation,” Hagg said. “What I can say from experience, however, is that Heidelberg sales and service operations always stand behind every Heidelberg, POLAR and Stahl machine in our production operations. The TH 94 truly has exceeded our most optimistic expectations.”
Senior Vice President - Equipment
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