Xeikon has announced its new Folding Carton Suite, which will be demonstrated during drupa 2012, taking place in Düsseldorf, Germany, May 3-16, 2012.
Xeikon defines a suite as having five elements: print engines, substrates, workflow, toners and finishing elements. At the core of the suite is the Xeikon 3000 Series of digital color presses, designed and developed for the label and packaging markets. The other elements of the suite, many of which are supplied by Xeikon's Aura partners, are all stringently tested, ensuring customers are fully integrated.
Since the successful launch of the Xeikon 3000 Series of digital color label presses in 2008, Xeikon has developed a strong position in the label and packaging markets. Key to its success has been a strong Xeikon Aura partner network. The company has built a large network with leading industry providers of substrates, workflow solutions, and finishing equipment. In addition, Xeikon has developed a number of production solutions for specific market segments, including the self-adhesive suite for the label market as well as the heat transfer label suite for the decorating market.
"Customer intimacy is one of the core tenets at Xeikon. By working closely with our customers since our inception, we've learned that they aren't just looking for a digital press from us. The full production solution is what enables printer service providers to make a finished product," says Filip Weymans, Xeikon's Director of Segment Marketing for Label & Packaging. "All the different production solution elements that a printer needs are available in the market. However, to make it easier for our customers, we have built a strong partner network to enable us to bundle specific elements together based on their requirements," explains Weymans. "This offers our customers the highest level of comfort. They know that the solution will live up to their expectations. Plus, they won't have to spend time and effort in building the network themselves."
According to Sean Smyth, Consultant at Pira International, "I took an in-depth look at the digital packaging market for Pira's study at the end of 2011. Our research indicated strong growth prospects for digitally produced cartons. We forecast worldwide growth rates of over 30% between 2011 and 2016 for digitally printed cartons. Digital technology can significantly help brand owners and retailers improve their supply chains and make packs more appealing to specific groups of consumers, who will buy more and at premium prices. This trend will accelerate and Xeikon's ability to deliver a very high quality B2 sheet means it is very well positioned to help printers and converters grab a piece of this attractive market space. The decision by several of Xeikon's label customers to move into cartons should pay rich dividends. In addition, I think some of the security features Xeikon provides will make its technology well suited to pack many short run, high value products."
Xeikon 3000 Series at core of Folding Carton Suite
At the core of the Folding Carton Suite is a Xeikon 3000 Series press, which has the capability of printing up to 350gsm paperboard (550µ/21.65mil), with a web width ranging from 200mm (7.8") to 516mm (20.3"). The consumables used in the Xeikon press have been specifically modified to handle the rough structure of paperboard. An in-line densitometer ensures a consistent print quality over time and across the presses.
"The folding carton production environment differs from self adhesive labels in many ways," says Weymans. "The self adhesive labels are common in a roll-fed environment whereas a carton is a single piece, situated in a sheet-fed environment. The Xeikon press has a distinct advantage in this regard since it's able to produce sheets of variable length. This minimizes the amount of material wasted," explains Weymans. "Xeikon has been working in this market for more than 14 years since we first introduced our B2 technology. This has enabled us to gain a wealth of knowledge and experience in folding carton production."
Pre and Post Printing equipment
Xeikon's jumbo unwinder ensures high levels of autonomy. The unwinder is equipped with a web cleaner which collects all the excess paper dust generated by paperboard ensuring the press is not contaminated. A web finishing module (WFM) is placed after the press to recondition the paperboard. This unit also holds the cutter unit to convert the web into the appropriate sheets defined by the imposition scheme. Finally, a stacker collects the printed sheets and separates any type of waste in a separate tray.
Workflow designed to drive digital production
The Xeikon press is driven by the X-800 Digital Front End to drive the digital production workflow. The X-800 is built around the Adobe APPE RIP and incorporates post imposition software and color managements tools. To maximize the substrate usage, carton designs are nested on the sheets. This requires special imposition schemes that are enabled by Impactor, an X-800 plug-in.
The paperboard substrates incorporated in the Folding Carton Suite are all supplied by Xeikon's Aura Partners, including M-real, Iggesund, Stora Enso, International Paper and Sappi, none of which need any special pretreatment. All substrates have been certified by Xeikon guaranteeing they will work seamlessly with the Xeikon presses.
Toner and consumables
Xeikon's QA-I toner, a dedicated toner for the label industry, offers significant benefits in terms of image quality, light fastness and food safety. Alongside the QA-I toner, the Folding Carton Suite includes a range of other certified consumables providing the best solution for varnishing, laminating and other post print processes.
Customers visiting the Xeikon booth at drupa 2012 will have the opportunity to see the Folding Carton Suite in action. Drupa 2012 takes place in Düsseldorf, Germany May 3-16, 2012. Xeikon will exhibit in Hall 8A, Booth B44.