27 March 2017 Digital Printing Technologies

Xeikon ploughs on with toner developments

Of all the presses at Hunkeler Innovation Days, Xeikon's was the only non inkjet press. Consequently there are no questions about the quality of output.

Xeikon was the one press manufacturer on the floor not focusing on inkjet. Ricoh and HP had examples of their C9110 and Indigo electrophotographic presses, but as cut sheet machines not as machines operating with Hunkeler equipment attached.

This set the Belgian company apart, running its top of the range 9880 on a print job demonstrating a range of security print features, from microtext printing to the use of UV reflective inks that respond only to specific wave lengths of light.

Xeikon user Fedopress had won an award for the quality of the tax stamps it prints for the Belgian government prompting Xeikon to demonstrate its anti counterfeiting features on a concert ticket.

“It uses elements that Xeikon has had for many years,” says VP marketing Filip Weymans. “The award that Fedopress won was because it could print the whole job in a single pass rather than print, hold and overprint the traceable numbers. As each of the stamps can be worth €2,000, security is a major issue, and before switching to Xeikon the customer always had a lot of waste. Now Fedopress will only print what is required.”

The application uses security software from Agfa to create the intricate designs that the press can print.

This was the first Hunkeler event for Xeikon since acquisition by Flint and its area was labelled as Flint. The new owners have helped accelerate the company’s penetration of Far Eastern markets and the establishment of a subsidiary for Australia and New Zealand. Sales in the US and Canada reached record levels last year. “Flint has provided the investment to deliver a stronger return,” says Weymans.

Flint’s presence in label printers through plates and inks has helped promote the Xeikon technology. “We sold two 3500s to a customer in India through Flint’s narrow web division. And there have been sales in North America that have come to us because of Flint. The deal has been good for us and good for them.”

There was no Trillium press on show, though Xeikon was happy to discuss progress with the project to develop a high speed, high quality digital press using high viscosity liquid toner. “After Drupa we did a thorough evaluation of the project, the market and its position in it. And we realised that there would be an issue with the safety of mineral oils that we used in the toner over the longer term as the ink makers association expects these to be outlawed.

“At Drupa we had used standard mineral oils on the press, so we decided to make the change now rather than with machines in the field. We have now switched to a vegetable derived oil which overcomes the issues, and this has brought with it a lot of advantages in terms of process stability.

“The project is still very much alive and we continue to think that liquid electrophotography has significant advantages over aqueous inkjet.”

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Xeikon at Hunkeler

Xeikon at Hunkeler

Xeikon had the only non inkjet digital web press at Hunkeler Innovation Days. It was producing security tax stamps at a resolution that webfed inkjet cannot yet achieve.

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