Shoei Star SHK112

What does the machine do?
It is a pallet-fed, fully computerised folder, with a vertical press stacker, which will fold up to 32pp sections. All the common folding impositions are preset in the machine and accessed via a graphics display. An additional 200 jobs can be stored in the memory. The machine also has camera reading of bar codes to ensure the security of each job.

Why did you make the purchase?
The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) is a government trading fund and part of the Ministry of Defence. It produces an average of 20,000, 380-680pp copies of approximately 60 new publications annually, plus reprints. Until 2006, the printing and finishing of these publications was outsourced. In order to reduce production lead times, thereby ensuring that the data was up-to-date on publication, we brought the job in-house.

Did you look at any other similar machines?
The UKHO works to the Government OJEC standard. They advertised their requirements and undertook an in-depth technical and performance evaluation of a number of folders before making a decision.
Why did you choose this particular machine?
We specified a pallet-loaded folder, which had to produce 32 A4 sections. It had to have slot perforation to provide compact, tight sections to maximise performance on the Muller Acora binding line and speed of set-up was also important. In addition, it had to operate within specified noise levels and to a high, consistent output speed. Technical support and service were essential, as was the supply of spare parts. Satisfactory references were taken with Shoei customers to confirm Encore’s competence in providing the service, training, support and availability of spare parts.

What features do you particularly like?
We like the speed and ease of set-up via a touchscreen display, which is operator friendly. It is a fully automated, quick-change folder. Although we standardised on 32pp sections on 90gsm matt stock, from time to time we do have a need to fold 16pp and 8pp sections, making automation useful.
Is there anything you dislike?
No. It does everything we expected.
How fast is it?
We are currently running it at 5,000sph, but we will increase the speed as the operators become more proficient.
How easy is it to use?
With full automation, it’s easy to set up and operate. Encore provided us with full training.

What’s the quality like?
Very good.
Has it won you any new work?
In our type of operation, we already have the work. The key is to ensure that we purchase the right equipment to maintain our heavy production schedule, particularly during peak periods. Our loading is already showing 85% utilisation on the Shoei, which is why we are keeping the old folder as back-up. We are currently working double-day shifts and will probably move to 24-hour operation.
Would you say that it offers value for money?
It is a competitively priced machine for the features and speed it offers.
What about the pre- and after-sales service?
We have been pleased with the service, training and support that Encore has given us. The planned installation date was very tight. Encore worked late into the evening to get the folder up and running to meet our schedule. While the machine was bedding in, the call out was very good.  

Who do you think the machine is right for?
Any printer who has a requirement for high-volume, high-speed 32pp A4 sections and needs quick set up and job change.  
Under what circumstances would you buy another?

Subject to our purchasing criteria, I would certainly consider buying another Shoei folder.

User’s verdict   
Speed 4/5
Quality 5/5
Reliability 5/5
Value for money 5/5

Supplier’s response    
Mike Biggs, managing director of Encore Machinery, says: “This computerised folder is ideal for any high-volume printer who wants the benefits of fast and simple automatic set-up, repeat job memory storage, the facility to fold L and I 32pp sections on the same machine, all at a very competitive price and with our service, support and training.”
Price TBA

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