Heidelberg Customer Invests In Latest Digital Press Technology

Heidelberg Customer Invests In Latest Digital Press Technology
Stephens & George will commission a peak performance press Speedmaster XL 106-8-P with an inline sheet sheeter CutStar Gen 4.

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. The company has come back from the pandemic stronger than ever, investing in Heidelberg’s technology and innovative solutions.

Their new order comprises 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 XL 106-8P with Generation 4 cut star, which replaces an existing XL106-8P with Generation 3 cut star.

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.

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

‘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’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’.

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 game changer. We are so confident about the ROI of this latest technology that we have invested in four Stahl 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,’ said Marcus J. Partridge, Group Director of Postpress at Stephens & George.

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,’ affirmed 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,’ said Jones, ‘and we will always make use of their latest technology’.

‘We’ve worked closely with Stephens & George for decades,’ said Ryan Miles, Managing Director, Heidelberg UK. ‘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 & George, and Miles said 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 magazines, 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 operate their own fleet of delivery vehicles.

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