Stephens & George celebrates another milestone
S&G’s two NELA plate bending lines have produced over 2 million press-ready Agfa Azura TU chemistry-free plates since they were installed in 2010. The machines have run for over seven years and there are no plans to replace them.
Whilst S&G’s production of Azura chemistry-free plates has increased year-on-year, the NELA bending lines have performed virtually trouble-free for more than seven years without the need for major parts. “We installed two new Agfa Avalon N8 plate setters along with the latest Apogee workflow in January 2016 but the NELA bending lines were not upgraded. In fact, we don’t even have to maintain the NELA lines – they just work,” commented Jamie Awford, prepress manager at Stephens & George.
Both Avalon fully automatic plate setters have auto-loaders with five cassettes each holding one hundred plates.The two plate lines are linked to fully automated NELA bending systems, both with four stackers. Each stacker holds 48 press-ready plates, which reduces handling and potential plate damage. “With faster printing presses, shorter print runs and the need for quicker set-up times, plate production is constantly under pressure. The NELA bending lines have proved to be a real asset in meeting these demands,” explained Awford.
S&G has five Heidelberg multi-colour presses with a total of 40 units producing approximately 1,200 jobs per month. Keeping these presses continually supplied with press-ready plates is essential to the performance of the overall business.
About the NELA SF-Bender
This device has been specifically designed for the needs of sheet-fed printers. The plates are registered by means of an electronically controlled stop pin system that matches with the stop system of the CtP-line. The SF-Bender bends the plates according to the requirements defined by the press manufacturer.
The bending system in combination with plate stackers for automated plate sorting is part of NELA’s Plate on Demand concept, providing sheet-fed printers with the means to deliver complete plate sets to the right press at the right time – and without damages or scratches caused by manual handling.
About Agfa Azura TU
Since the launch of Azura over ten years ago, Agfa Graphics’ chemistry-free plates have been the leading technology in sustainable platemaking. With Azura TU, Agfa Graphics has expanded the reach of Azura to serve all sheet-fed commercial printers.
Caption (l-r) Nathan Davies, plateroom operator at S&G, Mark Kahler of Agfa Graphics, Jamie Awford, prepress manager at S&G and Lee Russell of Agfa Graphics.
Author: Agfa Graphics, UK