How Highcon turned paperboard into snow

They say it takes two to tango, but to create this year’s greeting card it actually took three world class performers. Apart from Peter Dahmen’s dazzling design and the ever so great functionality of Invercote, the unique post print process provided by the Israeli company Highcon contributed to the brilliance of the Snowflake greeting card.

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Just a couple years ago it would have been a highly time-consuming and expensive process to create such an intricate cut-out design, but thanks to a recently developed Highcon machine the printing and finishing techniques did not stand in the way of Peter Dahmen’s creative vision. Quite the opposite, the Highcon Euclid II digital cutting and creasing machine was key to making the Snowflake into what it is.

We asked Yaron Eshel, application specialist at Highcon, to give us the lowdown of the production of the Snowflake greeting card.

What was your first thought when Peter told you guys what he wanted to achieve?

– Highcon has been working with Peter Dahmen for a few years now, and we always jump at the challenging designs he makes. He has a true understanding of our technology and our desire to push it to extremes.

What it is that makes the Highcon Euclid II so unique?

– The uniqueness is the ability to not only laser cut the intricate cut-outs but to combine that with the digitally driven mechanical crease that is necessary to keep the right tension. This type of pop-up has always been possible to do by hand but only Highcon machines can get the same quality at production levels. By any other process, a conventional die-cutter would have been used for the major cutting and creasing and then a laser machine would have cut the rest. This would probably have been a much slower process than Highcon where each sheet is creased and cut in one pass.

The Highcon Euclid II series of digital cutting and creasing machines, allows folding carton manufacturers and print service providers to achieve both profitable production as well as rapid response to customers' requirements for design flexibility.

Would the Snowflake have been possible with traditional cutting and creasing?
– Actually, a conventional die-cutting machine would not be able to make these delicate cuts at all. So it would have needed to have two stages of cutting and the cost and time to do the tooling.

What was the most challenging part in the production?

– There are hundreds of delicate cut-outs that need to be removed which was performed automatically by the built-in Highcon Integrated Digital Stripping unit. (With a short print run this can be made manually, but with a long print run the manual element actually makes a traditional approach more expensive).

“The paperboard stays strong after the cutting and with no burn marks.”

Yaron Eshel, Highcon

What made Invercote a good paperboard to produce the Snowflake with?

– The key to a quality piece like this is the quality of the paperboard itself and Highcon and our customers have all worked frequently with Iggesund’s Invercote to produce amazing applications. The paperboard stays strong after the cutting and with no burn marks. Invercote is one of the only paperboards that can handle a large amount of folding back and forth without cracking.


The story behind

Every snowflake is unique and what each one looks like depends equally on chance, temperature and the route from the cloud to the ground. At the end of the 1950s physicist and snow researcher Ukichiro Nakaya gave snowflakes the more poetic name of “Letters from the sky”. Peter Dahmen, the designer of this year’s unique greeting card from Iggesund, visited Iggesund on a snowy day in November when it literally poured down “letters from the sky”.

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The brain behind

How does Peter Dahmen think as a designer? What is important and how does he showcase the properties that are important to highlight in the chosen technique? In this article Peter himself describes the considerations behind this year’s greeting card from Iggesund. 

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Iggesund expertise

Iggesund Paperboard has a tradition of making sophisticated, designed and specially printed greeting cards where we try to demonstrate the ultimate performance capabilities of our paperboard. The cards are also a project that many of our colleagues have opinions about. Anna Adler, graphic specialist and Senior Project Manager with Iggesund’s Marketing Communications, has been responsible for producing Iggesund’s greeting cards for the past decade. How does she handle the challenge? 

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