Xeikon is on a roll. The Belgian digital press provider has noted a 15% increase in sales in 2018, says CEO Benoit Chatelard. “This is driven by expansion in China and mainly by expansion in in the US where growth was 40%.
“This was helped by the acquisition of Jetrion, but with growth in new sales of 40%, it’s not only growth through acquisition.
“We sold out production of the CX500 last year and have almost sold out this year.”
Jetrion, acquired from EFI, has the largest user base of inkjet label press in the world, which Xeikon has taken over. It has added its own Panther UV inkjet press, which uses Xeikon ink. Jetrion continues to source ink from EFI. “Almost half the R&D efforts in directed to inkjet business,” says Chatelard. And a good chunk of this is going to a corrugated machine being developed in collaboration with an unnamed partner.
The machine is timetabled for an introduction at Drupa in little more than a year. Before then Xeikon is planning its biggest presence at Labelexpo in September, backed by the resources of parent company Flint.
It will be bringing its flexo platesetters alongside the label presses, Chatelard explaining why the company needs a larger stand. It will underline the continuum from digital label printing to flexo printing on labels, flexible packaging and corrugated where Flint is market leader. “Labelexpo will be a step towards Drupa where we have booked twice the space we had last time. We need this to display our corrugated machine.”
Chatelard was speaking ahead of the fifth Xeikon Café at its headquarters in Lier near Antwerp last week. The event, combining Xeikon lines dedicated to different applications, equipment from partner suppliers and presentations from both Xeikon experts and outside contributors.
Two applications stood out this year: first, producing coffee cups that can be recycled through a partnership with Kotkamills and second, production of flexible pouches, pioneered by CS Labels in the UK.
Xeikon was hoping to register more than 1,000 visitors from all parts of the world, and the number of people from south Asia indicated that it was successful to this extent. There were also visitors from Mexico, preferring to come to Europe rather than attend the smaller US edition of the Xeikon Café in a few weeks' time.
Xeikon is now planning to package the features that underlie the event to take it on tour to different customer sites to highlight a specific application.
By Gareth Ward
The 2019 Xeikon attracted more than 1,000 visitors, from 242 label converters to the head quarters factory and showroom in Lier where eight toner and inkjet lines were producing a wide range of applications.