In this INKISH film, we visit an amazing packaging printing company in the southern part of France – Autajon/Haubtmann. Autajon is huge global printing group with 36 sites in Europe, in the US, and in Asia – and the reason for our visit is due to their recent investment in the Highcon Beam. For those who don’t know the Beam – it’s an industrial grade Laser Die Cutting machine that can do creases, die-cuttings, half-cuts, and combinations of above at a speed of up to 5.000 sheets per hour. The actual speed depends on the complexity of the die-cut but pretty fast and in amazing quality.

Plant Manager Xavier Boutevillain explains why they did this investment and also how they see the need for machines like the Beam in a changing market. Smaller print runs, faster setup time, more complex designs are just a few of the challenges Haubtmann is now ready to work with.

What is of course, also interesting is to see the Beam in a working environment with huge Heidelberg machines, Bobst machines, Glueing machines, and more – and apparently fits so well into this mix of equipment.

It was great to get the chance to meet the team from Haubtmann and I hope you enjoy the film. It was sponsored by Highcon – so thank you also to Highcon for this opportunity – and as usual – we did film the way we wanted it to be done – always on YOUR side.

Watch, Like, Share – thank you!

I’m the plant manager of Haubtmann which is part of Autajon Group. It’s a company of 215 employees. We have a turnover of €32 million and we are producing boxes mainly done on board.

Company was created in 1935 by Mr. Haubtmann.

36 sites in the group around the world, in US, in China, and mainly in Western Europe.

Yeah, we are working with different markets, so all markets but not pharmaceutical and health and personal care, which means that we have opportunities to do different things with the different market and to cross, to have cross IDs between the chocolate market or industrial markets and to use things coming from the chocolate market to, I don’t know, something else, wine industry or something else.

Yes, yes, it will help us to develop new products, which are not existing currently. So this will create a bigger market share with some products that are today not existing. We are developing, creating new products or new ideas to increase this market share which is slightly stable.

It’s a laser light machine. So we have invested in this machine to have a new technology compared to the conventional machine that we have, and we are experimenting new production with this machine.

It’s still new, still new. We are still learning a lot of things on this machine, but we are also producing with different customers and we are doing standard production. And we are trained in the meantime to do some innovation with different customers.

Initially for technology because we want to be always let’s say with new technology to see what will be on the market in two years. So this is first point. Second point is to create new products that are not today on the market. And the last point but not least is that today market is decreasing in quantity, and with the laser light we are doing more smaller one and this is perfect for this kind of [inaudible 00:02:54].

Our customers today are changing slightly. Today nobody wants to have any stock. They want to change the product the most they can. In the past you can get a product for years and years. Now after six months the product is old and they need to change it. And for prospect when you arrive with standard packaging, you can’t really compete because everybody today can do more with the same products.

Today we are working mainly with brands that are working themself with supermarkets and all supermarkets are asking to have a special service only for them. So our customer are creating a model of packaging only for a specific supermarket. This is, yeah, fragmentation of packaging.

All our customer we are saying, “Okay, you have to invest in digital because digital is the future and so on,” and that we are all meaning printing. We were examinating this market to say, “Okay, if we print in digital, is it really worth or not,” and we have done some calculation and think that, “Okay, the difference between digital printing or offset printing is not so big because we always have a bottleneck afterwards.” So that’s why we try to invest in the finishing before the printing.

This machine will replace totally the conventional one. I’m pretty sure. In few years it will be the future.

Yes, we are. Of course, yes.

It was a quite long process. It took I would say around one year to … before taking the right decision because we have investigating on all the laser light that were on the markets. So we have seen what are the pro and con for each suppliers and we have defined that it was a beam which was more in line with what we are doing today in our company, and the second point, so this was the first point to identify the right supplier. And the second point was to see if economically it could be feasible or not. And this took quite long. We have done trials with Highcon, we have done trials with another owner of a beam machine, and after all this calculation we managed to do the investment.

This is already something which is not new from now. It’s already few years that it’s changing. We have worked quite a lot on conventional equipment to improve this, to reduce the setup, to be more efficient in the setup and not only on the running speed. And today we are arriving to a point where it becomes really, really hard to improve it even better, and new technology is helping us quite a lot.

It’s likely both. So we need to have the demand to get at least an economical return, and also the new technology to know it, to know the technology, to be already in the market before our competitors, to know what we can do, what we can’t do, what we can improve, and this is helping us quite a lot. And we have chosen a Highcon also due to this partnership which is existing and we can both improve ourself.

The relationship with Highcon is really good. And when we tell them we have a problem, they usually find a solution pretty quick.

We have constant updates so we know where they are and what’s been doing and so we are not kept in the dark, so that’s really good for us, and we can work with them on about, just about anything. So that’s very interesting for us. It’s been really good working with them.

They are really, really good. They are amazingly good on anything that is the core of the machine itself. The laser and the cutting is absolutely perfect.

It’s always the case. I mean, it’s a good relationship. If when I work for me, I also work for you, then we have a good relationship and I can … I expect you doing the same. They’re working for themselves but they’re working for us right now, so that’s good. That’s good interaction.

Of course, we can do the creasing and the die-cuts which are the standard, but we can also combine them. So we can do a perforation on the creasing line which impossible with a conventional. We can do half cuts and with a laser it’s very, very precise, which it doesn’t with conventional because we can’t guarantee all the run that the half cut will be exactly the same. And this is very, very interesting. Yeah, perforation and we can also do stripping bands for easy opening products, which is very impressive when you compare to conventional.

We are progressing and we have different questions from our customer, so we know that new project are coming more complex, different, and so on.

But more and more we have different project with really interesting things that they are challenging even also us with new, new, new shape, new things.

Yeah, today we can do five of the die-cuts for the beam and we print when print [inaudible 00:10:18], so we don’t have to think about having the tools and to … or to optimize badly because we already have the tool and to find a way. Here we can be very precise on the [inaudible 00:10:27], yes.

With them the process, we get an order on a Friday and we have to deliver them 10 days after. So we need to create the [inaudible 00:10:41], we have to print, we have to die-cut, we have to glue and to deliver.

I don’t think that the market is changing due to the fact that we have an Highcon. I think the market is anyway going into this direction and that the beam is more a tool, it’s more something that we have that will help us to follow the market. Anyway, it’s a market direction which is taken now and we have to go into this direction. We don’t have any choice. And this is a tool that we, yes, beam is a tool that will help you to reach this.