Stephens & George

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Stephens & George take delivery of UK’s first 21,000 sheets per hour XL 106-8P with CutStar

05th June 2024


Stephens & George has taken delivery of the latest XL106-8P 21,000 sheets per hour from HEIDELBERG. This first-of-its-kind technology in the UK, delivers consistently high quality with steady production speeds of 21,000 sheets per hour.

Investment in the latest technology improves operational efficiencies while demonstrating our company’s commitment to delivering excellence. It enables faster turnaround times, helping Stephens & George stay ahead of the curve in a highly competitive marketplace.

In November 2022, after the announcement of the 21,000 sheets per hour speed package for HEIDELBERG XL 106 packaging presses, Stephens & George realised there was more potential in the configuration of HEIDELBERG XL 106-8P presses with CutStar. As S&G already produced high-quality magazines and brochures at the previous highest maximum speed of 18,000 sheets per hour.

HEIDELBERG determined that the next natural step was to provide Stephens & George the ability to produce at 21,000 sheets per hour on their next investment of XL 106 perfecting machines and CutStar, reel to sheeter (also redesigned to produce at 21,000 sheets per hour).

A comprehensive decision-making process was followed, which included extensive consultation with HEIDELBERG and analysis of market trends. The team at Stephens & George made an informed decision to invest in the UK’s first 21,000 sheets per hour XL 106-8P with CutStar.

After a successful test at HEIDELBERG’S Wiesloch R&D laboratory, the stage was set for the new arrival.

The noise-cancelling Speedmaster installed at Stephens & George significantly improved working conditions on and around the press. “The operators commented on how quiet the press is, and with the new direct drive feeder, the press is noticeably reducing makeready times.” In addition, to the working conditions around the press, HEIDELBERG and Stephens & George partnered together to reduce spray powder usage on and around the new press by developing a new highly efficient spray powder system which ensures our working space to be cleaner and our spray powder usage significantly reduced.

The press is highly competitive, as it is built with the highest automation and AI capabilities, lowest waste figures and user experience efficiency. The automatic bearing care system reduces maintenance time and delivers more uptime, freeing up over 60 hours per year to deliver further printing output.

The press has been in full production from day one, ever since the HEIDELBERG service team installed the press in May. “This machine is 15% more productive than the previous presses in use, this could allow to produce over 8 million additional sheets per year, which is equivalent to over 2000 additional sections per year, which makes the HEIDELBERG Speedmaster the most productive and efficient machine we have ever had,” said Paul Enoch, Manufacturing Director.

Stephens & George is one of HEIDELBERG’s many long-term clients. Stephens & George consistently opts 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 of HEIDELBERG’s latest technology.”

Stephens & George operates a 24×6 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, 7 Stahlfolder TH82-P paired with 6 Stahlfolder P – Stackers support the Press output, saddle stitching, perfect and PUR binding, and mailing. We operate our own fleet of delivery vehicles. In December 2022, the Magazine and Production Print Group Stephens & George (S&G) announced that it acquired its neighbour and long-term competitor, the Pensord Group, which comprises Pensord Press and Cambrian Printers.