Wihabo the first to invest in a digital cutting and creasing machine, the Highcon Euclid IIIs
Wihabo is an innovative printer in Brabant, the Netherlands who has been working hard for thirty years. The second generation, Joris and Ruud Bosch, together with father Willy, are at the helm of the company. The pioneers in digital production recently decided to invest in digital finishing. Wihabo is the first company in the Benelux to use the Highcon Euclid IIIs digital cutting and creasing machine. The machine is an Israeli invention which allows unique cutting for each production by using 3D printing. It has two computer managed Co2 lasers for cutting and slitting.
Wihabo started as a traditional offset print shop who did their finishing in-house. Joris: “We have always kept up-to-date on the developments in the market. When digital printing became popular and our clients asked for it, we bought an HP Indigo printer in 2006. The big difference between offset and digital print is the fact that digital offers a wider range of possibilities. It is faster, allows for printing smaller or bigger quantities and on top of that it has a lot of possibilities for personalization. Apart from investing in the HP Indigo digital printer we continued to automate our processes. We now have a completely automated production process with the HP Indigo 10000 digital printer at the heart of it: the first digital press of a B2 format.”
Breaking with tradition
“We are never old-fashioned in our thinking,” says Joris. “You see that companies that break with tradition are the most successful in the industry. My father and uncle, who founded the company, weren´t printers, but a teacher and food scientist. It all revolves around the way we treat the customer and how the customer feels. Developing products that generate money together with brand owners. Cooperation is super important.” Wihabo has a wide range of clients. From big clients, such as Tony´s Chocolonely and Heijmans, to advertising agencies, other print shops and individuals for special celebratory cards or their thesis. The production facility of 2,250 square meters employs 400 people.
The 2017 calendar produced by Wihabo is a collection of unique print products. Joris: “It contains some specimens with a combination of finishings which will surprise many people. We made 5,000 pieces, with professional finishing and it is a real eye catcher. We really like to make beautiful things. Our customers are always looking forward to our annual calendar. We even won a few calendar awards. It gives us the opportunity to show what we can do and that´s a good thing. Apart from that it´s practical as well.”
On the second floor of the Wihabo premises you will find an experience room. A special route takes the visitor through a huge amount of creative printing. There is something for everyone, from beautiful books through to tenders, and the books of the Constitution which were used at the coronation of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. In many of these items the Highcon Euclid IIIs plays a role. The variety of digital cutting and creasing makes every product unique, whilst the production process is fully automated.
Made-to-measure becomes the standard
The power of Wihabo is that made-to-measure work becomes standardized and automated. Joris: “One example is the PUR binding we make in three varieties of which the end products can all be different. It is a matter of thinking things through and only doing what is necessary. A good example is the personalized wrappers for Tony´s Chocolonely which we produce. All different, but with automated production”, explains Ruud.
Last year Joris and Ruud visited Dscoop: a small gathering in Israel of HP Indigo users. “We were looking for a machine that could deliver variable finishing in small quantities at high speed. At these gatherings, you meet many suppliers who use digital. One of the suppliers was Highcon, who produces digital finishing machines. When we saw the technology, we were very impressed. The machine was not only able to laser cut, but can also produce a variable crease.
In this same period one of our loyal customers asked if we could also take care of fulfillment. This customer, big in Christmas hampers, needs personalized packaging for each client. The wish to automate this process was born and the Bosch brothers went on a search for the solution. At first via the internet, but then they visited drupa to see all suppliers who could offer variable packaging. Joris and Ruud Bosch also visited the Highcon stand. “That was exactly what we were looking for in combination with a folding gluing machine“, says Ruud. “If you do the one thing you need to do the other. You can have a variable folding gluing machine, but if the cutting isn´t perfect you are still left with a problem. The Highcon Euclid IIIs is the first machine that can replace a cylinder flatbed machine. In the end, we just took the decision to get all machines ready for the Christmas season. It was quite something, but end the end turned out perfectly.”
Now, after a few months, Joris and Ruud Bosch are very happy with the Highcon Euclid IIIs. The support is remote and works very well. “We have YouTube, Skype, WhatsApp and the like. We directly talk to people who are very knowledgeable. If we have a problem or need more information, we get the support we need within a very short time. The times that you had to wait for someone to drop by are over. We can do a lot of it ourselves. The great advantage is that we get to know the machines very well and that means that we also get to know all its possibilities.”