Stephens & George signs Agfa plates deal

Stephens & George (S&G) has signed a five-year contract with Agfa to use its Azura TU chemistry-free plates.

According to Agfa, the plates are environmentally friendly and can reduce water usage by 95% when used with the Azura CX clean-out unit, compared with conventional processing systems.

S&G pre-press manager Jamie Awford said this is an example of why the Agfa plates are a good fit for the company.

Since the company began using the plates 18 months ago “chemical waste has been reduced from 19,000 litres per annum to just 400 litres of gum waste per month with the CX clean units requiring no mains water,” according to Awford.

“Maintenance has also been reduced from four hours per week of valuable production time to clean a conventional plate processor, to just half an hour with the CX gumming unit,” he added.

Managing director Andrew Jones said of the deal: “It helps us to remain competitive, as we always have been. We’ve worked on optimising the environmental qualities of our presses for many years.”

S&G previously used Agfa’s Energy Elite plates.

The company's latest press, a 10-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106, was installed at the 120,000sqm Merthyr Tythyll premises in the first week of July to meet growing sales. It joins four other XL 106s: three eight-colour machines and a five-colour. 

Awford said S&G enjoys a long-running relationship with Agfa that has stood for more than 15 years.

He added that the company is researching the latest technology in folding equipment with a view to improving post-press efficiency.

Stephens & George has a turnover of £25m and around 230 staff. It counts Haymarket Media Group and auction house Christie’s among its clients.