Knocking on open customer doors

Höhn Display + Packaging GmbH was founded as a newspaper and book printing office in 1910 by Dr Karl Höhn. The highly diversified company has about 180 employees and specialises in the manufacture of board games, displays, and packaging. To maintain control over the quality of its products and ensure on-time delivery, Höhn Display + Packaging, headquartered in Ulm, Germany, relies on a high level of in-house production. On April 1, 2019 the division Displays+Packaging, formerly of HÖHN GmbH, was acquired by the Ludo Fact Group, the second-largest manufacturer of games in Europe.

In the autumn of 2021, Höhn Display + Packaging installed the BOBST NOVACUT 106 ER, the world’s first flat-bed die-cutter with the new ACCUREGISTER ‘contactless’ sheet-register system.

Today it could be a 2.4mm litho-laminated corrugated board, tomorrow 100-gram paper, after that environmentally-friendly solid or recyclable cardboard – Höhn Display + Packaging GmbH works with a wide range of materials. “Our extensive product range poses a real challenge to the flexibility of our machine technology, particularly in die-cutting,” explains Markus Laepple, Operations Manager. “No matter which material the new machine is processing, the quality is consistently at the top level. The register precision and flatness of our gameboards, for instance, stands out on the market. The procurement and quality managers of our customers see the difference.”

A reliable path to high quality

It’s obvious that innovative technology plays a key role. Höhn considers Accuregister one of the main performance features of the Novacut 106 ER. “Accuregister underscores our high quality demands. And our products confirm that we really are a tad better,” states Laepple.

The new sheet-register system is based on the optical POWER REGISTER. For the Accuregister, Bobst has adapted the best attributes of the Power Register specifically to the Novacut line. The new sheet-register system enables short setup times in the die-cutting process. At the same time, it minimises stops caused by the feeder. Waste is reduced in both the setup process and during production, which also makes the production process and the products more sustainable.

Accuregister aligns the sheets at full speed, without mechanical stops,  and ‘contactless’. Laepple adds, “Accuregister reliably exploits this, especially with thin paper and material laminated on both sides.”

Bobst offers various options for the Novacut line to make the processing, and thereby the register precision, of different materials even more flexible. Höhn Display + Packaging uses the antistatic device for processing paper, and the heavy board equipment for processing sheets that are not entirely flat.

Crucial competitive advantages

Laepple continues, “High register precision is increasingly important. For instance, just recently a customer carefully checked the accordance of braille embossing on the front and back sides of a box. But we do not have to worry about register precision since using Accuregister.” During the alignment of the cut-to-print register the system even compensates for print tolerances.

“The list of audit questions our customers ask is getting longer. Their queries typically concern conventional errors which we have eliminated by using the Novacut 106 ER in our die-cutting process. Our customers realise this and adapt their audit questions accordingly. This means that we no longer address certain issues in future audits,” Laepple explains. “We proactively communicate the benefits of our new technology to the market and explain which errors can no longer happen in our process. A frequent question, for example, is whether the high register precision of Accuregister means layouts and fonts can be set closer to the rills. The Novacut 106 ER has indeed made that possible.”

Quick production changeovers

Production runs at Höhn Display + Packaging range from 700 to 600,000 sheets, at an average of 9,000 sheets. For efficient execution of large orders, the company has selected a Novacut 106 ER with an hourly output of up to 8,000 sheets. Today, the machine runs in three shifts and depending on the job, the machine is changed over several times a day.

The ease of use of the user interface (HMI SPHERE) also supports short setup times. It features a largely self-explanatory guided menu. “We needed only two days training for it,” says Laepple . Another reason for the short setup times is that Höhn Display + Packaging acquires its die-cutting tools only from manufacturers certified by Bobst. Höhn furthermore has its tools fitted with TooLink. This means that chips are built into the die-cutting tools which then register the data of every die-cutting job. The next time the tools are introduced into the machine, the data is read directly into the HMI, allowing for immediate identification of individual die-cutting jobs and automatic setting of HMI values.

Looking at the big picture

Laepple believes Bobst has its finger on the pulse with a view of industry that builds on the pillars of digitization, automation, connectivity, and sustainability. This will always open new perspectives for process optimization, and is particularly true for the Bobst Connect platform. In addition to the remote technical support Helpline Plus, Höhn Display + Packaging is already using the productivity apps Remote Monitoring and Downtime Tracking. They help to fully exploit, and continuously boost, the performance of its new die-cutter by using data-based analyses.

Höhn’s facility in Ulm, Germany.


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