Stephens & George to invest £4 million in technology from Heidelberg

Sixth Stahlfolder TH 82-P adds to the folding machine park

166
Heidelberg
At the end of 2020 Stephens & George will commission a peak performance press Speedmaster XL 106-8-P with an inline sheet sheeter CutStar Gen 4. Photo Heidelberg

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 comprises a Stahlfolder TH 82P automated Stahlfolder and a new P-Stacker. This is their sixth TH 82P automated Stahlfolder. The investment also includes a new Speedmaster XL 106-8P with Generation 4 CutStar, which replaces an existing XL106-8P 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 a 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 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 Stahlfolder TH 82-P automated folders,” says 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.”

Stahlfolder TH 82-P keeps pace with Heidelberg peak performance presses

Heidelberg
Stephens & George is one of the first printers in Europe to operate a total of six Stahlfolder TH 82-P folders.
Photo Heidelberg

Stephens & George has invested in many generations of Stahlfolder, ranging from the 66 and 78 formats through to the 82 formats 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 great customer and service support of Heidelberg. The TH-82 P folders have enabled us to stay right up behind our fleet of XL 106 push-to-stop presses. The Stahlfolder TH 82-P 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 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,” 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 its 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. 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 many long-term Heidelberg 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 latest technology of Heidelberg.”

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 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.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are grown similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

For editorial info@ippgroup.in — for advertisement ads1@ippgroup.in and for subscriptions subscription@ippgroup.in

– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

Subscribe Now
unnamed 1

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our Newsletter

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here