05 April 2020 Digital Printing Technologies

Xeikon turns focus on commercial printing

Xeikon believes there is scope for dry toner digital printing because it reaches areas where water based inkjet struggles.

Xeikon is returning to commercial print with the introduction of its Sirius platform developed to provide the productivity needed by book, direct mail and commercial printers.

The aim had been to introduce the first Sirius machine, the SX30000, a 520mm four or five colour press tuning at 30m/min, at Drupa. Instead the company has brought forward the announcement rather than wait for the rescheduled event next year. The first installations are scheduled for later this year following extensive beta testing.

The Sirius platform uses a new style of toner and comes with improved quality controls, internal systems aimed at consistent quality and the versatility to handle a wide range of substrates, thanks to conditioning and fusing technology.

But rather than taking on high speed inkjet presses, Xeikon positions the new press as complementary to "high speed water based inkjet”, according to market segment manager Dimitri Van Gaever, “where more quality is required and where wider substrate versatility is required”.

It will suck up work from several other toner machines, consolidating a machine park into fewer machines to look after, and by implication, enables growing companies to cope with growth without investing in more machines.

And with a print speed of 2,500 double sided B2 sheets an hour, it would allow commercial printers to move to a more productive digital press where they might not have been able to justify the cost of doing so.

Xeikon is not naming a price as yet, configuration and territory will determine the local price. Where it scores for a commercial printer is in being able to print a B2 or longer sheet which can be finished on equipment that is likely to be present.

The company’s presence in commercial printing has been limited to the 18m/minute 9880, having pulled out development of its Trillium liquid toner technology. Part of the issue with this machine was a build up of heat inside the press when running at speed, which had a negative impact on quality.

While the SX30000 is not running at the same speeds, Xeikon has addressed the heat issue with water cooled chill rollers. The fusing unit uses radiant heaters rather than a ceramic drum. This is far more responsive and heats and cools rapidly, which was an issue for ceramic coated drums. The new approach is designed to last for the life of the press.

The machine uses 1200x3600dpi LED imaging bar. A conditioning and quality assessment system will make any adjustments on the fly to keep colour consistency. Cameras monitor small print marks to manage register with an on board spectrophotometer is used to manage colour. The platform uses a new, fully recyclable toner with a faster fusing system to cope with the print speed. This has no VOCs.

It will print to 350sgm with no loss of throughput and thanks to the conditioning unit will cope with poorer quality papers down to 60gsm for direct mail and book applications, where higher colour coverage is needed than suits inkjet printing.

Xeikon believes in the value that dry toner brings to the graphic arts segment, especially for high coverage, high quality in books, general commercial print and direct mail because of its versatility into retail point of sales and security print segments,” says Van Gaever.

In recent years Xeikon has been concentrating on the labels and now flexible packaging opportunities. It has offered 30m/min throughput in labels with the CX3 Cheetah technology and has introduced inkjet narrow web printing alongside toner.

Now with the same 1200x3600dpi imaging head across different width, it has come up with Cheetah 2.0: “Xeikon's future platform for the label industry”. The first implementation is the CX300 which replaces the CX3. Like Sirius, a beta has been identified though not yet named.

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Xeikon is using a 1200x3600dpi LED last print head on the SX30000 to achieve a high quality print result in combination with other technologies to make the press suitable for high coverage digital printing.

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