Stephens & George to advance automation on new Polar

Rhys Handley
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Stephens & George is to take on a new Polar 115N Plus guillotine from Heidelberg as it continues its programme of investment for the second half of the year.

The system will be installed in late October and replace a Polar 115ED, which was bought in 2003, in order to further automate operations at the Merthyr Tydfil-based magazine printer.

It will be integrated into Stephens & George’s MIS to further its JDF capabilities and will come to the plant ahead of an eight-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 that will be installed at the company’s new 1,160sqm extension to its 11,150sqm plant later in the autumn.

Managing director Andrew Jones said: “The new Polar is basically an upgraded version of what we already had, which makes sense as it puts us on the right platform to take on future developments.

“It is quicker and much more modern, which is in line with our focus on computerisation and making things easier for our operators.

“We have a very long-standing relationship with Heidelberg as our preferred supplier. Through their R&D, they have enabled the print industry to become more efficient and making the most of that is all linked to having a good relationship.”

Capabilities on the Polar N115 Plus guillotine boast a cutting width of 1.15m and a knife speed of 45 cycles/min. Mainly used for medium-format applications, it will aid with the production of perfect-bound magazine covers at Stephens & George.

Set to run alongside a Polar PACE 200 cutting line installed two years ago, the N115 Plus runs automatic graphic programming and graphic operator guidance in order to automate processes for a busy shop floor.

With work on its extension set to complete shortly, Stephens & George is now looking to re-enter the cycle of its replacement policy, which involves machines being upgraded at six- to seven-year intervals. The firm employs 231 staff and turns over £30.7m.

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