Stephens & George is one of the first printers in Europe to operate a total of six Stahlfolder TH 82-P folders.
- Sixth Stahlfolder TH 82-P adds to folding machine park
- Four P-Stackers relieve staff and boost productivity
- Speedmaster XL 106-8-P with inline reel sheeter CutStar Gen 4 replaces identical press with CutStar Gen 3
- Significant OEE increase expected
- Decades-long partnership with HEIDELBERG to continue
Stephens & George has come back from the pandemic stronger than ever, investing £4 million in technology and innovative solutions by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (HEIDELBERG). The new order includes a TH 82-P automated Stahlfolder and a new P-Stacker. This is their sixth TH 82-P automated Stahlfolder. The investment also includes a new Speedmaster XL 106-8P with Generation 4 CutStar, which replaces an existing Speedmaster XL 106-8P with Generation 3 CutStar. As reported in March 2021, the new Generation 4 CutStar 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 have invested in five presses that all use full ‘push to stop’ technology – including three long perfectors with CutStar.
P-Stacker ensures production stability at a high level
During consultation with HEIDELBERG, the company observed that productivity in their bindery tended to drop during a 12-hour shift. Therefore, they invest in robotics to standardize their processes and maintain the same level of productivity through the shift. Automation is the cornerstone of their 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 their bindery. “We now have four P Stackers and six TH 82-P automated folders,” says Andrew Jones, Chairman & Managing Director of the company based in Merthyr Tydfil, “and we’re 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.”
Stahlfolder TH 82-P keeps pace with HEIDELBERG peak performance presses
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. They have been impressed by the reliability and build quality of all the variants.
“I’ve 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 ROI of this latest technology that we have invested in four Stahlfolder P-Stackers. The folding team have 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,” says Marcus J. Partridge, Group Director of Postpress at Stephens & George.
Repeatedly chosen for “best technology from HEIDELBERG”
The company expects to become even more efficient and productive thanks to the new technology, further increasing their OEE stats. It’s all about obtaining maximum efficiency and productivity during each working shift with quality standards that everyone aspires to. “Our team of highly skilled drivers relish the challenge and continue to set new targets and goals. The effective teamwork with key suppliers is paramount to our ongoing success story and we will continue to produce the very best products for our customers,” affirms Paul Enoch, Manufacturing Director at Stephens & George.
Stephens & George is one of HEIDELBERG’s many long-term clients, consistently opting for HEIDELBERG technology after comprehensive competitor analysis. “We believe that HEIDELBERG equipment is the best in the marketplace,” says Andrew Jones, “and we will always make use of HEIDELBERG’s latest technology.”
“We’ve worked closely with Stephens & George for decades,” says Ryan Miles, Managing Director, HEIDELBERG UK, “and we’re proud of the longevity of this and so many other of our customer relationships. Our target is to deliver consistently high levels of satisfaction,” HEIDELBERG is delighted to continue to be the partner of choice for Stephens and George, and Ryan says that the relationship is as strong as it could possibly be. “In the years to come, as well, we look forward to offering Stephens & George the support and consultation they need to make the best possible decisions for their business.”
Stephens & George operates a 24×7 production service and attributes 56% of its work to contracts, 34% to commercial contracts and 10% to other one-off jobs. Within their purpose-built facility they offer printing, folding, saddle stitching, perfect and PUR binding, mailing and operating their own fleet of delivery vehicles.