Stephens & George in £4m 'Push to Stop' Speedmaster investment

Jez Abbott
Thursday, April 19, 2018

Magazine printer Stephens & George is looking to increase its output by investing £4m in a new 'Push to Stop' Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106-8-P.

The new press, which runs at 18,000sph, is due to arrive in late June. It will replace another XL 106, a six-year-old model that runs at 15,000sph.

The new arrival will mean all five Heidelbergs – three eight-colour machines, a 10-colour and a five-colour – at the Merthyr Tydfil-based company will run at 18,000sph.

Managing director Andrew Jones said: “This has all the bells and whistles, and running at 18,000sph is a no brainer. We have a lot of short-turnaround work, so the speed and productivity will give us an edge. This is part of an ongoing kit replacement strategy.

We focused on post-press for two years, replacing folders, stitchers, binders and guillotines. Now we're back to the presses, but this is it for the time being.”

The new machine marks Stephens & George’s eighth Speedmaster XL 105/106 long perfector investment since the press was launched in 2008.

The company has 231 staff, a £27.5m turnover and operates a 24/7 production service, with 40% of its work magazines, 40% commercial contracts and 20% made up of other one-off jobs.

To deliver this output the company industrialised its operation with the 10-colour, the five-colour and the three eight-colour B1 Speedmaster XL 106 presses.

In the last two years Stephens & George has added a Polar PACE cutting line and three Stahlfolder TH82-Ps, the most recent of which was installed last month.

“Our operator is going to Germany to look at the press and to familiarise himself with the Push to Stop concept,” added Jones. “Everything here is about productivity.”

With Push to Stop technology a press will process a queue of jobs in a controlled and productive manner. Prinect Intellistart 2 software calculates the shortest makeready to maximise productivity.

Stephens & George highly specified the press: it comes with Autoplate XL 2 and Inpress Control 2 spectral colour measurement and control as well as CutStar reel-to-sheet technology.

“It’s been challenging for 20 years but we still produce 1,000 magazines. Across magazines and commercial work we output about 14 million 16-page sections and four million 32-page sections a month,” said Jones.

News Henry Stone is in administration has led to a number of calls from more potential customers wanting to get on press in the next few days. We are flat out, so some we have had to turn away.”

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