Highcon Announces New Digital Die Cutting Solutions with Advanced Features for Mainstream Folding Carton and Corrugated Production

Highcon today announced a new portfolio line-up ahead of drupa 2024, addressing the fastest-growing segments of paperboard packaging. Responding to a global market with continuously growing demand for smaller production batch sizes, faster delivery, increased sustainability and enhanced customer experience, the company’s new portfolio accelerates Highcon’s strategy of mainstreaming digital die cutting by focusing on productivity, efficiency and quality. The new portfolio line-up includes:

–        For Folding Carton, the Highcon Beam 3 with optional new Beam Writer for offline writing of DART foils, will allow customers to produce around 50% more per shift than with Beam 2 – while delivering higher and more consistent quality[2]

–        For Corrugated Packaging and Display:

o   The Vulcan1, a revolutionary next-generation system with 1.4 x 1.7 (55” x 66”) sheet size, still under development, will enable the full benefits of digital die cutting to mainstream corrugated production.

o   An upgrade to the Highcon Beam 2C that delivers up to 50% enhanced productivity when paired with the optional Beam Writer and facilitates the expansion of Highcon’s footprint in the short- and medium-run corrugated market – especially for POS and web-to-pack.

New Highcon Beam 3

The new Highcon Beam 3 has been developed to respond to the feedback of both customers and prospects over recent years. It is packed with innovations and enhancements that will allow customers to be more productive and address a broader range of applications. A converter will be able to run 10 jobs with an average run length of 1000 sheets every shift. This will typically drive an ROI for customers of less than two years in a two shift operation.

Prior to the first Beam 3 shipping to drupa 2024, Highcon will be performing a field upgrade to an existing Beam 2 system at Eurographic, in Poland. “We’re excited to be the first customer to receive the Productivity & Quality Boost Package that will bring Beam 3 performance to our system.” said Bartosz Nowakowski, GM of Eurographic Group in Poland. “The surge in production per shift is poised to make a significant impact on our operations.” 

New Highcon Beam Writer

The new Highcon Beam Writer, compatible with all Highcon Beam systems already installed, enables customers to create creasing rules using Highcon’s proprietary DART system and 5th Generation Consumables offline. For every 100 jobs per month, Beam Writer can free up more than 16 hours of Beam capacity, or two full shifts, improving productivity and increasing capacity.

“I’ve always believed that there is a place for an offline DART writing system” said Charles Linney, Director of Linney. “Although the current inline system works very well, the offline Beam Writer could save us 10 minutes per job, which equates to over 50 hours a month.”

New Highcon Vulcan

The new Highcon Vulcan will enter mainstream corrugated production and address a painful gap in current solutions. It has a maximum sheet size of 1.4 x 1.7 meters (55” x 66”) and supports boards up to 5mm, including microflute, B-, C-, and EB-flutes. Like all Highcon systems, Vulcan will combine true physical creasing with laser cutting, and will have a maximum throughput of 3000 full-size sheets per hour (up to7000 sqm/hr or 75,000 sqft/hr). It will have a job changeover time of 5-10 minutes. 

“Highcon’s Vulcan will find a very broad footprint across the corrugated industry, complementing analog die cutting and solving the intractable problems of fast reaction, small orders and eliminating MOQs,” said Richard Brown, President of The BoxMaker.

As product development started, four “Foundation Customers” including Thimm, The BoxMaker, UDS (Poland) and Grupak (Mexico), placed deposits on Vulcan systems in 2022. In 2023, Schumacher Packaging joined the Foundation Customer program and signed an MOU to purchase 5-10 units of Vulcan from Highcon before 2030.

“Schumacher Packaging is an innovation leader and digital visionary,” said Bjoern Schumacher, CEO. “We are very pleased with our Highcon Beam 2C, but Vulcan is the system that can start the inevitable digitalization of corrugated finishing. Seeing is believing, and the demonstration of the prototype that I saw in Israel last June, convinced me that Vulcan will be game-changing for us.”

During the tough economic environment of 2023, Highcon slowed down the Vulcan development with the intention to resume the program fully before the end of 2024. During 2026, the first Vulcan unit is targeted to ship for Alpha testing at a customer site. 

Highcon is offering thought-leading customers the option to secure a finite number of early delivery slots. These slots will only be converted into binding orders following a successful production demo.

Upgraded Highcon Beam 2C

Based on a running speed that is ~15% faster[3], the upgraded Highcon Beam 2C offers higher productivity for corrugated customers with faster sheet throughput. When used in conjunction with the new optional Beam Writer, it will offer corrugated customers approximately 50% higher productivity per shift for typical customer job baskets. It also includes the Digital die cutting Workflow Package (DWP) for smoother, more effective and automated integration into a site’s production workflow.

drupa 2024

At drupa, Highcon’s booth (Hall 9, B24) will showcase its customers and their work as well as Highcon’s new solution portfolio, together with samples from the breakthrough Vulcan prototype. 

“In this challenging environment, Highcon’s customers are successfully using ‘the right tool for the right job’ to optimize their plant productivity, overcome capacity limitations, improve agility, cost-effectiveness and efficiency and better serve their customers – all while maximizing their return on investment,” said Shlomo Nimrodi, Highcon’s CEO. 

“Inspired by our amazing customers, their feedback and how they’re using our solutions today – as well as inputs that we’ve received over several years – Highcon will be demonstrating how digital die cutting is becoming mainstream. The time to die cut digitally has arrived.”