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Stephens & George invests £4 million in technology and innovative solutions by Heidelberg

Finishing Solutions

Stephens & George has invested £4 million in technology and innovative solutions by Heidelberg. The new order comprises a TH 82 P automated Stahlfolder and a new P-Stacker. This is the company’s sixth TH 82 P automated Stahlfolder. The investment also includes a new XL 106-8P with Generation 4 cut star, which replaces an existing XL106-8P with Generation 3 cut star. As reported in March 2021, the new Generation 4 cut star will offer further benefits. The new press is due to be installed towards the end of December 2022, after which the oldest press at Stephens & George will be just over two years old. Since 2018, Stephens & George has invested in five presses that all use full ‘push to stop’ technology.

During consultation with Heidelberg, the company observed that productivity in its bindery tended to drop during a 12 hour shift. Therefore, it invested in robotics to standardise the processes and maintain the same level of productivity through the shift. Automation is the cornerstone of the bindery today.

Since the pandemic, Stephens & George has been heavily investing in robotics and automation, and is now confident about the use of robotics in the bindery. ‘We now have four P Stackers and six TH 82 P automated folders,’ said Andrew Jones, chairman and managing director of the company based in Merthyr Tydfil, ‘and we are one of the first printing houses in Europe to have six of them! We firmly believe that automation in general, and specifically these folders, is the way forward for industrial printing and finishing production.’

Stephens & George has invested in many generations of Stahlfolders, ranging from the 66 and 78 format through to the 82 format and now onto the range topping fully automated TH 82 P format. The company has been impressed by the reliability and build quality of all the variants.

‘I have been consistently impressed by the user friendly interface, and Heidelberg’s great customer and service support. The TH 82 P folders have enabled us to stay right up behind our fleet of XL 106 push to stop presses. The TH 82 P Stahlfolder coupled with the Stahl P-stacker has been a real industry gamechanger. We are so confident about the return on investment of this latest technology that we have invested in four Stahl P-stackers. The folding team has bought into this innovative tech as it enables them to work smarter and they are less fatigued at the end of their shift. This latest investment is testament to our confidence in Heidelberg’s overall suite of solutions,’ said Marcus J Partridge, group director of post press at Stephens & George.

The company expects to become even more efficient and productive thanks to the new technology, further increasing the overall equipment efficiency stats.


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