Best in Test: how do we ensure the quality of your paper?

This month, we delve deep into the world of Stephen O’Brien, our Technical Sales manager and laboratory expert.


Hi Stephen. As Technical Sales manager, how would you summarise your role in 18 words or less?  

I provide technical support for our customers, helping them with problem solving, complaint handling, press passing and technical advice.


As part of your job role, you run the Gould Paper testing lab. What exactly do you test, and why is this important?  

There are a lot of tests we can do. These include grammage, caliper, brightness/whiteness, gloss, opacity and smoothness.  Given we deal with over 30 categories of graphic paper and over 300 grades as a group, it’s vital that the customer gets exactly what they ordered, and within the technical trade tolerance guidelines.


What are the main benefits to the outside world that come from the services that you provide?  

Our customers know they are in expert hands as our collective knowledge is exceptional. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and honesty.  The results that we are able to achieve from our laboratory are respected throughout Europe.

Do you offer training for customers? 

That we do.  We can tailor training to meet the customer’s needs, be that in how paper is actually made, what paper to choose and the various different finishes those papers will give. We can also fulfull training in how we actually test paper using our calibrated lab at Leatherhead.

Can you offer technical services outside of the Leatherhead lab?  

Absolutely…we love to get out and about! We visit printers to follow up with any issues in person, and we attend paper trials so we see for ourselves that the printers will get the best results. We also provide press passing services, something which can otherwise be time consuming for customers.

We understand you were once a semi-professional cricketer. Have your experiences on the pitch ever helped you in the lab?

What can I say? I have played cricket at an excellent but unspecified level for the last 26 years, and it’s taught me that you only succeed when you pull all resources together and learn to work as a team, which is exactly what Gould are…a TEAM!  And a good one at that.