“We are an expanding company, having last year acquired MPC,” says Andrew Jones, managing director. “We have added two binders, two stitchers and five folders in our quest to put through higher volumes, more quickly. That’s good for us and good for our customers. This folder is the last piece of the jigsaw.”
Stephens & George runs five highly specified Speedmaster XL 106 presses. Each month it handles about 14 million 16pp sections and 4 million 32pp sections.
The first Stahlfolder TH 82-P was bought for 16pp section work and the second for 32pp work. This third will further beef up 16pp folding capacity. The company retains ten folders in total but Mr Jones concedes that some will be made redundant by the much higher output capability of this latest generation folder from Heidelberg.
The Stahlfolder TH 82-P with PFX shingle feeder can output up to 16,400 16 page A4 sheets an hour at a machine speed of just 140 metres 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 quality folding along with much greater output, says Heidelberg.
Ian Trengrouse, finishing product executive at Heidelberg UK, says: “The success of the TH/KH 82-P model has been staggering. We are now approaching 100 installations of our ‘P’ machines worldwide.”
The TH 82-P is a folder that can attain a net output of 12,000sph 16pp sections. According to Heidelberg, the only limit to output is logistics and the operator!
Earlier this year, the company replaced two Polar Flowlines (guillotines with materials handling) with one £350,000 Polar PACE 200, an acronym for Polar Automation for Cutting Efficiency, with Prinect Cut Manager and Polar Compucut. Reams are now taken automatically from the jogger and the gripper systems then automatically turn and position the paper in the cutter before delivering the finished product to the Transomat Downloader.
Stephens & George retains a staff of 231 and 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, says Heidelberg.