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Stephen & George First to Install the New Speedmaster XL 106 Perfector

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Press release from the issuing company

Stephens & George will be the first company in the UK and the world to install the new Speedmaster XL 106 perfector since it went into serial production. In a 15,000sph configuration the eight-colour press will be delivered to the Merthyr Tydfil plant within days of the end of drupa and will be followed by an 18,000sph version, a straight five-colour with coater, in August. 

"Within six months we will have 14 units of Speedmaster XL 106 and 20 units of XL105," says Andrew Jones, whose company celebrates its centenary this year. It has had a history of technological firsts and his thirst for innovation appeared unabated at this drupa. 

The new Speedmaster XL 106-8-P will be equipped with a CutStar reel to sheeter, Inpress Control automated register and colour control and Autoplate XL simultaneous plate-changing. 
"When we moved from Speedmaster SM 102s to Speedmaster XL 105s with CutStar and Inpress Control we increased our output by 50%. When we installed Autoplate XL for the first time in 2010 we found that, with 17,500 makereadies a year saving us five minutes a makeready, we had created an additional month's worth of production. It is staggering. We now makeready our presses in just five to ten minutes. This will only be equalled or bettered by this latest press," adds Andrew Jones. 

Stephens & George holds Heidelberg ISO 12647-2 certification already and the reputation for colour control and consistency it has is underpinned by the use of Inpress Control. It has closed loop colour and can run accurate colour across a full gamut of papers, producing top quality and saving waste. It was the first UK company to adopt the Net Profiler software to recalibrate four of its long perfecting presses online. 

The specialist five-colour and coater will be Stephens & George first 18,000 sph XL machine, an increased press speed that will give it 20 % higher output. This is a specialist press that will handle a high volume of covers for the magazine printer. The coater can switch between UV and conventional finishes so that top gloss levels can be achieved with ease. Andrew Jones says that at current growth rates it would be quite feasible for a further XL 106 long perfector to be ordered for installation early next year. 

At the same time the company is upgrading its folding capacity and taking two combination machines out in favour of two Stahlfoder TH82 buckle machines. These machines are networkable and Stephens & George will now introduce Prinect Postpress Manager to run in tandem with its existing Prepress Manager and Pressroom Manager workflows. Production manager Paul Enoch uses the iPhone App that enables him to monitor production remotely, even from drupa! The new finishing products will be delivered in July, just ahead of the second XL 106. "We will be able to monitor the productivity of the machines and review discrepancies between the pressroom and folding department. It will give us valuable production data," says Andrew Jones. 

Spear-heading the company's centenary celebration is Vanessa Jones, his wife and the company secretary of Stephens & George. In addition to a Staff Wayzgoose on the Thames, a Customer Celebration Day and a Family Day with a Marquee and a range of activities the company is also marking this major anniversary by launching the Stephens & George Centenary Charity Trust which will provide literacy schemes and bursaries (covering sport, academia and arts) for underprivileged children. The company has even challenged its 230 staff to each raise £100 which could contribute a further £23,000 to the newly created fund.


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