10 March 2019 Print Companies

Stephens & George takes lead on paper mailing

Welsh magazine printer Stephens & George is converting a wrapping line to handle paper reels in answer to demands for a more environmentally friendly solution from publishers.

Stephens & George will this month begin conversion of a Sitma wrapping line to deliver paper wrapping for magazines. It will be the first in the UK to offer this with a large paper reel fitted, and will join YM Group in being able to offer an environmentally friendly alternative to LDPE film.

The company has put the technology through its pace at Sitma helped by consultant Matthew Valentine. He told delegates at SGA Live, the annual conference organised by Stephens & George for its customers, that testing had gone well. “After that we decided to invest,” said S&G technical manager Mike Donovan.

“Other companies have also been looking at conversion of their wrapping lines to move away from polywrap and the pressure to do so increased following television programmes last year,” said Valentine.

Sitma distributor Engelman & Buckman has converted a machine at Chantry Web and has another shipping to a customer in the Midlands in coming weeks. More machines are on order for next year. Stephens & George is the first with large diameter reel capability.

It will accept the same sized reel as those for a Heidelberg CutStar. Depending on the weight of the paper chosen, up to 60,000 magazines can be wrapped, enough to run for six hours. After wrapping the envelopes will pass beneath inkjet heads for addressing and any codes for Mailmark discounts.

It is not possible to print these with enough clarity on polywrap to qualify for the discounts. S&G will be testing this quality once the the line is up and running. This is expected to be in place in May. Publishers will be charged more.

“The cost of using paper is more expensive that existing polywrap, though not as expensive as some of the alternative film wraps,” says Valentine. “The paper wrap could add 8-10g to the package weight.”

But the additional cost could be mitigated by the sale of advertising on the outside of the pack says managing director Andrew Jones. But that will not be until the system is proven to work.

Before then an extension to the press hall will have been completed ready for a new press, replacing one of the older machines, before the end of this year.

By Gareth Ward

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Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones says that there are no immediate plans to print on the paper wraps that Stephens & George will be offering this year following conversion of a Sitma line to handle paper.

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