Stephens & George is to install a fourth Stahlfolder TH 82-P from Heidelberg to accommodate increasing demand.
Due to be delivered in February next year, the new folder will take its place in the second of two pairs of the matching machines. It will give Merthyr Tydfil-based Stephens & George three pairs of high-speed folding machines to run alongside its battery of five B1 presses – the third pair is made up of two MBO folders.
It follows the installation of a £4m Push to Stop Speedmaster XL 106-8-P press that was installed in June and has led to an increase in output for the litho operation, which has been in business for more than a century.
Managing director Andrew Jones said: “When it came to taking on a new folder, we did not consider anything else other than the Stahlfolder.
“Clients put pressure on us to deliver jobs in the shortest possible time and its technology enables us to produce work significantly faster than before.
“Our relationship with Heidelberg goes back to 1987, when we last reignited our business with them as the press side of their technology took a significant leap forward. Their machines are reliable and efficient, which has a massive impact on helping ensure our quality of print and maintaining our ISO-accredited standards.”
Stephens & George holds ISO 9001 quality, ISO 12647-2 colour and ISO 14001 environmental standards, as well as FSC and PEFC certification. Each month, it handles around 16 million 16pp sections and 4 million 32pp sections, which P-series Stahlfolders are designed for.
The new Stahlfolder, set to be taken on with a PFX shingle feeder, can process up to 16,400 16pp A4 sections per hour at a machine speed of 140m/min. The shingling function allows the machine to fold a higher quantity without increasing speed which ensures better sheet control and higher quality folding.
Over the next year, £30m-turnover Stephens & George will also be investing in a 1,160sqm extension to its 11,150sqm plant which will accommodate its next printing presses, according to Jones.
He said, however, that the firm was not interested in moving into the digital market for the time being and would focus on its primary output of magazines and brochures.
Stephens & George employs 231 members of staff.