Stephens & George Print Group in Wales, UK has returned to Heidelberg for folders after a short break with another supplier. It quietly installed a first Stahlfolder TH82-P in November and, following on from its great success, it will add a second in March.
Everything at Stephens & George is about speed and efficiency – it is a truly industrial printer. With a battery of five Speedmaster XL 106 presses (10-, 8- and 5-colour) all highly specified with spectral measurement, CutStar reel to sheeters and enhanced plate-changing, it needs finishing operations that can keep pace.
“In one 11.5-hour day shift the TH 82-P produced 150,000 sections and that was matched again by the night shift, meaning 300,000 in a 24-hour period. This was for a long run job but even with changeovers the productivity of this folder is very, very impressive,” says Andrew Jones, managing director.
Heidelberg says its Stahlfolder TH 82-P which features the PFX shingle feeder can output up to 16,000 16 page A4 sheets an hour at a machine speed of just 150 meters a minute. The shingling or overlapping of sheets allows the machine to fold a higher quantity without ramping up the speed – which means better sheet control and higher output.
Stephens & George currently has ten folders. The first TH 82-P is handling 16pp sections, the second will handle 32pp sections. At this stage how many “life expired” folders these two high output machines will replace remains to be seen.
Staff have adapted to the new Stahlfolder TH 82-P and the higher output mindset. The Stahlfolder TH/KH 82-P series of folder was launched at drupa last year and it was seen and evaluated there by Andrew Jones and his colleagues.
Stephens & George handled 14 million 16pp sections and 4 million 32pp section in January. The print for The Magazine Printing Company, a company which Stephens & George, bought last year, is now handled at the Merthyr Tydfil plant and nine of the MPC staff have moved across to the Hoddesdon base which handles customer services and administration.
Stephens & George continues to expand and is reporting a “very busy” period of trading. Today it has a staff of 231 it has a turnover of £27.5m. The company operates a 24/7 production service attributing 40% of its work to magazines, 40% to commercial contracts and 20% to other one off jobs.
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