Posts Tagged ‘digital print’

  • Memjet powers new Gallus label press

    The Gallus Smartfire is unveiled at the company’s Innovation Day in St Gallen, Switzerland.

    Gallus has unveiled a new low-cost digital label press using Memjet ink head technology. The Gallus Smartfire will complement the Heidelberg subsidiary’s existing Labelfire press.

    The Smartfire, launched at the Gallus Innovation Day held at the company’s HQ in St Gallen, is an entry-level inkjet label press which allows converters to get into the digital space without needing to invest in the high-end Labelfire. According to Michael Ring, head of digital solutions at Gallus, the Smartfire is easy to use and an ideal ‘starter model’ for digital labels. “With the Gallus Smartfire, we are focusing on new target groups who are looking for a smart entry into digital label printing. The Memjet technology allows us to offer an inkjet printing press that produces labels with a quality of 1600×1600 dpi while still keeping the investment costs at a low level,” he said.

    The press prints in CMYK with food-safe water-based ink, and, like Gallus’ other presses, also includes an in-line finishing unit with lamination, integrated cutting plotter, and semi-rotary die cutter. It has a compact footprint and a low power requirement, needing only a standard outlet, and its water-based ink means no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted during operation, removing the need for an exhaust system.

    The Innovation Day event also featured existing Gallus kit. As well as the Labelfire, Gallus’ conventional presses were on show: the high-powered Labelmaster Advanced, the benchmark RCS 430, and the popular ECS 340.

  • Digital labels are on a roll – Print21 Magazine

    Digital labels are booming as demand increases for shorter runs and variable data printing.

    With plenty of inkjet, dry toner and Indigo liquid toner presses going into label and print shops across Australia, it’s clear that digital labelling is undergoing a surge in popularity.

    In the latest issue of Print21 magazine, Jake Nelson delves into the growth of the digital sector and finds out why more and more converters are choosing to invest.

  • Outside the brown box – Print21 Magazine

    Posters printed on the EFI Nozomi C18000 digital corrugated packaging press.

    We’re used to corrugated boxes being utilitarian beasts: brown cardboard, printed on flexo in one or two colours. With digital print making inroads into the packaging sector, however, the days of boring boxes may be behind us.

    In the latest issue of Print21 magazine, Jake Nelson takes a deep dive into digital print for corrugated packaging and what the future might hold.

  • Iridesse is in ‘a class of its own’: Pettaras

    Theo Pettaras, Digitalpress, with the Fuji Xerox Iridesse.

    Sydney’s Digitalpress has long been at the forefront of digital printing innovation. Now, with the addition of the new Fuji Xerox Iridesse press, the bespoke printing house and its owner Theo Pettaras are able to push the limits of digital technology in a way they never could before.

    When Theo Pettaras sets his mind to something, it’s difficult for anything to get in his way. Two years ago, he decided to do something about his health, and this year he won two championships in natural body-building. “I’ve learnt from bodybuilding that you have to have a goal and stick to it. It’s taught me about focus,” he said.

    Failing to reach his goals – in his personal or business life – is now no longer an option for Pettaras, and it’s this drive that led him to replace his aging digital press with the Fuji Xerox Iridesse, launched last year in Bangkok. “We thought about it for a long time, we made careful consideration,” he said. “We’re very happy with our decision, we feel Fuji Xerox have the infrastructure to be able to support us. It’s a great fit for us, and as we continue to grow, we believe they’re the one to help us with that.

    “When you weigh it all up, the overall benefits of all the different features that the Iridesse has, it’s in a class of its own compared to any other machine that we’ve seen.”

    Roger Labrum, Fuji Xerox.

    One unique selling point of the Iridesse press is its capacity to print using metallic gold and silver toner. When these are combined with CMYK, the press can print most Pantone metallic colours, according to Roger Labrum, graphic communications marketing manager at Fuji Xerox. “The press can underlay silver, gold or white through the first station, then mix this with CMYK colours to create what we call Metallicolours,” he said. “The final station within the press can deliver gold, silver, white and clear as a spot for any embellishment requirements – an industry first.”

    Applications for this could include products such as luxury car catalogues, suggests Labrum. “The information sent through from the customer could be translated into a variable data brochure full of the customer’s preferences on the vehicle. Fulfilled via the Iridesse, the application would be on-brand, but more importantly, the correct metallic colour of the vehicle would be represented correctly,” he said. “Advertising will form a large part of the applications this press will deliver to end users. Things like jewellery, cars, watches, fashion – all of these will benefit from the value-add of metallic.”

  • Dragon Printing ignites 2nd Labelfire

    Paul McCullum, (centre) pictured with Chiara Prati and James Rodden earlier this year at the Dragon Printing factory.

    A massive remake of the Mascot-based company’s printing hall is transforming the well-known trade label converter ahead of the installation of its new Gallus Labelfire 340 hybrid digital press.

    One of the best kept secrets in the closely-knit label converting industry is out in the open with Dragon Printing owners Paul McCullum and Fareydun Pourshasb revealing they are the buyers of the 2nd Gallus Labelfire 340 press in Australia and the 1st in Sydney. (The initial press went into Rapid Labels in Victoria last year.) Putting an end to months of speculation as to their identity, McCullum laughs about the level of interest and questions he’s fielded in recent times.

    “People were calling me up all the time. I told them it had nothing to do with me. But now that the engineers are actually here installing the press, it’s time to come clean,” he said.

    The installation is the final stage of a major revamp of the company’s production facility, with the entire press hall remade. New water, air and power supplies are now in place in the climate-controlled factory as the Gallus-Heidelberg installation personnel get to it. McCullum expects the new press to be in production by the end of the month.

    “We’ve been looking at digital for a long long time, but I’ve never been happy before about the quality or the speed. We knew we had to move, to make the change to digital sometime,’ said McCullum.

    “There’s always been work we’ve avoided. Short runs and other jobs we’ll be able to do now. Some job preparations are complex and can run into the thousand of dollars. The Labelfire will extend our offering to customers.”

    McCullum is convinced he’s made the right choice with the inkjet hybrid press after travelling extensively to Europe and beyond to observe different digital presses in operation. Quality and speed were main factors in his decision.

    “The output from the LabelFire is just astronomical. I first saw it three or so years ago and I’ve been keeping a close watch on it ever since. I’ve seen it in action at numerous sites in Europe, especially in Strasburg. We’ve waited ‘til they ironed out the bugs. I didn’t want to be the first.”

    The Gallus Labelfire 340 is the digital flagship of Heidelberg in the label sector and is the latest in a long line of Gallus presses for Dragon Printing. Its arrival makes sense of some aspects of the earlier ECS press already in production here.

    “We had the ECS 340 here and there were certain parts of that that didn’t make sense to me. I asked myself, ‘why the hell have they done that?’ Now I know. They’ve been working towards this for a long time.

    “Look, it just fits in with what we do. It’s a hybrid machine and there are finished products coming off the end. I always said we’d never consider digital unless it had inline converting.

    “I believe it’s got higher quality than any other technology on the market. The output is not too bad at 50 metres per minute no matter how many colours you’re running.”

    Once the press is in place, there’ll be some weeks of training from the Swiss instructors to bring Dragon Printing people up to speed. After that, there’s likely to be an Open House for customers.

    McCullum is looking forward to powering up the new press and getting back to business. “It’s a lot of work but we know it’s going to be worth it,” he said.

     

     

     

     

  • Revolution fires up Australia’s 2nd KM-1

    Revolutionary partners in print: John Schreenan (left) and Leon Wilson.

    High-energy Ballarat printing company Revolution has thrown away the rulebook by installing the high-end, high capacity B2 inkjet press in the Victoria regional centre. Fired up printing partners and co-owners, Leon Wilson and John Schreenan, say they are hugely impressed with the productive power of the latest Konica Minolta inkjet digital technology. Two months after settling the press into its new air-conditioned home, the throughput is driving a massive growth in volumes.

    The pair are rightly dismissive of the notion that regional printers should be conservative in their technology choices, pointing to their early digital entry, a benchmark web-to-print strategy and national delivery footprint as ample justification for the new press. Traditional is not what the blokes at Revolution do: they’ve even decorated the new press in company livery to inject more excitement around the installation.

    As far as Wilson is concerned it’s all about changing the conversation and the perception of printing as a stick in the mud trade, especially in the regions. ‘Revo’ the über company mascot designed by a local artist, is everywhere, on walls, on marketing collateral and especially in the mindset of the two directors. He epitomises the freewheeling culture of Revolution and its determination not to be typecast as just another printer.

    “We don’t want to be the same as everyone else, to do the same thing printers have been doing for ever. We’re a technology company with a lot of energy and attitude. Our culture is more important than the technology we buy,” said Wilson.

    Culture and attitude are two words used a lot at Revolution. They go a long way to defining the drive and enthusiasm that has powered an impressive 50 percent growth in revenue over the past year. With 70 percent coming over the web, the local market still accounts for almost half of the total. The previous 12 months saw the partners expand the business with two acquisitions, one in Echuca, Victoria, the other in Goulburn, NSW.

    The AccurioJet KM-1 is destined to become the main production engine relieving the load on its two Fuji Xerox machines while complementing the capacity of the Shinohara offset press out the back. Bedding in a new printIQ production system, Revolution is set to reap the rewards of daring and belief in itself. The next tranche of investments will go to upgrading Horizon digital finishing equipment to keep pace with the multiplying numbers of jobs.

    “I’m thriving on the energy. The past two years have been without a break, but we’re on a mission here,” said Wilson.

    Part of that mission is to continue to differentiate Revolution from the rest, not only in technology investments such as the AccurioJet KM-1, but also in continuously refining of the company’s software, both in-house and online. The two owners are justifiably proud of their online presence, attributing much of the company’s success to their web-to-print operation.

    “People buy a software package out of a box and they think, problem solved. That’s why ninety percent of them stay on the shelf, because they don’t have somebody vested in the business that’s willing to spend the time,” said Wilson. “You’ve no idea how many hours I spent just thinking about it before attempting to actually set it up and make it work. That’s the investment. Ultimately it’s what makes a successful business.”

    It might be different in the metropolitan areas but in Ballarat, the onus was squarely on Wilson to make the thing work. There are few consultants in the area and even if there were he’s not impressed with that solution.

    “I did it all myself. It was a massive job. Some people say to hire a consultant but I don’t think they can do it. They don’t know the business. They’ll never understand internally what your drive and motivation is and how you want to run your business.

    “You also need to know how to manipulate the software, because if you’re pitching to a client and they ask you can you do something, you know straight away how it can be done, because you built the darn thing. It’s about having that confidence.”

    Revolution is a very differentiated printing company but in many ways it fits a normal commercial profile. It prints a wide range of materials, ready to take on everything and outsource what doesn’t suit its production. According to Schreenan, much of the difference is what happens to the jobs once they’ve been downloaded.

    “We go across a range of products and a lot of other printers do as well. But where it’s different is what happens once it gets to us and then how it gets to print,” he said.

    “Our business philosophy is very ‘can do’. Our attitude is extremely different. Seventy percent coming through online is a pretty big percentage. We know it’s a massive number. That’s something we’ve worked hard at for a long time. Leon took the base system of online and developed it. We made it work the way our customers need it to work. The software is not one size fits all.  That’s the unique side of our business.”

    There’s a very natural synergy between the two directors with Wilson first working in the business and then buying in as an equal partner four years ago. Very much the high-energy entrepreneur, he revels in the role of visionary and evangelist. Schreenan is more in the traditional style. After a long career with Fuji Xerox, he came back to Ballarat and transformed the company by investing in digital printing. He’s now the customer service side of the business giving Wilson air to constantly look towards the future.

    There are more investments on the cards for Revolution apart from the Horizon finishing kit, but they’re taking a step back from their usual full-on speed. “We’ve obviously made a bunch of investments. There will be more, maybe other acquisitions but lets’ bed this in first. The growth curve is massive and we’re trying to manage that,” said Wilson.

    “Updating our MIS is a massive project. We’ve moved across to printIQ, which is the system that will decide the most appropriate route for every job that comes in. But you must realise we’re only using fifteen percent of our true automation capability. We have so much potential ahead of us. “

    As only the second Accurio KM-1 in Australia (the first went into Jossimo in Melbourne late last year) Konica Minolta is understandably keeping a very close eye on the operation and lending as much support as required. According to Sue Threlfo, GM production & industrial print, inkjet is such a relatively pioneering technology at the high end of the market that just about everybody in it is new. 

    “That’s why an innovative organisation such as Revolution has a real market advantage.  When the KM-1 technology is paired with such dynamic forward thinkers as John and Leon, it shows just what can be achieved in the printing industry,” she said.

    Sue Threlfo (right) with Leon Wilson and Anthony Jackson, industrial print sales specialist (left).

    “The AccurioJet KM-1 is already very quickly having a positive effect for Revolution.  It has the ability to produce such a wide range of jobs so efficiently. Textured stocks, right through to forms and letterheads are proving there are significant productivity gains to be had with the KM-1.  We appreciate Leon and John sharing their passion for the Konica Minolta KM-1. 

    “John and Leon first saw the KM-1 at drupa in 2016.  From there they reviewed all the available solutions in the B2 inkjet marketplace, and decided that the total offering from Konica Minolta was the superior option. It seems their decision has been a great choice.  At Konica Minolta we are excited to see where the future takes such the energetic innovative organisation as Revolution Print.”

  • Heidelberg launches global Digital Unit

    Heidelberg has set up a 50-strong Digital Unit at its Wiesloch-Walldorf plant to oversee its digital products and services portfolio.

    Offset press giant Heidelberg has stepped up its push into digital with the launch of a 50-strong Heidelberg Digital Unit (HDU) to coordinate the marketing of its expanding digital products and e-commerce business.

    ‘More direct communication to market’: Richard Timson, MD Heidelberg Australia

    Branches have already been established around the world and Heidelberg Australia MD Richard Timson says the local unit is working closely with the HDU team in Asia.

    “We had a meeting in Bangkok two weeks ago and company representatives were there from Germany to outline the new digital strategy. They’ve set up a complete marketing division to work on more direct communication to market, including using all sorts of different social media platforms, and they’ve pulled some specialist people out of social media companies to drive this increased marketing focus. We’ll feed off the Asia team to help us in our drive to market locally.”

    Heidelberg says it is looking to use the HDU to significantly increase its global e-commerce sales, which currently amount to €100 million.

    The HDU will operate as a subsidiary of Heidelberg at the company’s Wiesloch-Walldorf site. “It takes the form of a digital start-up with a modern workspace in an old factory building and harnesses synergies with the company’s IT and software expertise at this site,” the company said in a statement. Branches have already been established in China, the United States, and Asia.

    “We founded the Heidelberg Digital Unit to create a platform that gives our customers the world’s leading digital ecosystem in the industry,” says Professor Ulrich Hermann, board member and chief digital officer at Heidelberg. “In an initial step, customers can order and pay for all key consumables, services, spares, and wear parts required for print shop operation online on dedicated websites. We’ll gradually be extending the portfolio in the direction of our new digital business models such as the subscription model.”

    Heidelberg’s exclusive partner for the digital initiative is Munich-based IoT (Internet of Things) specialist iQ!, which will provide access to digital and e-commerce expertise.

    The HDU will be headed by Rainer Wiedmann, owner and founder of iQ! and also chief marketing officer at Heidelberg. “We see Heidelberg as being ideally placed to create the print media industry’s number one ecosystem,” he says. “The company’s leading position on the global market and the executive management’s commitment to the digital transformation are key factors in this respect. We’re also contributing our experience from over 20 years of digital marketing, including the creation and operation of e-commerce platforms.”

    Meanwhile, Heidelberg officially launched its Primefire 106 B1 inkjet packaging press.“With this range, Heidelberg cements its position as the leader in packaging printing and provides answers to current and future requirements in the age of digitization,” says CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. “The answer to the trend towards declining run lengths and mass customization through personalization and individualization is the seamless integration of digital processes into existing offset landscapes.”

    The Primefire 106 has been undergoing field testing since January 2018 and offers high-quality digital printing in combination with sheet finishing using existing die-cutting tools in 3b format.

  • Canon back in the game with new imagePRESS C800

    It is seven years since Canon brought a totally new digital print engine to the market but the new team at the imaging company reckons it’s been worth the wait.

    At a time when product cycles generally revolve around the two to three year mark, the absence of Canon from the market with a new engine was notable, especially for its customers. The once dominant supplier slipped in market share as rivals, Fuji Xerox and Konica Minolta debuted a series of products.

    Now the wait is over and according to Michael Boyle, senior general manager, Canon Professional Print, the market can expect a new era and a new level of strategic partnership from CPP.

    At what he termed, “a colourful night of inspiration” at Canon’s schmick new headquarters in Sydney’s North Ryde, Boyle emphasized the commitment and dedication of his team to wining back its preeminent position in digital colour printing.  “I want you to see us as a proven committed partner that takes as much pride in print as you do,” he told the audience of customers, refashioning the launch slogan.

    The launch of the new imagePRESS C800 confirms Canon’s mastery of colour performance with Henryk Kraszewski, product manager, pointing out the image quality – “best in class,” – productivity and flexibility of the new machine. “Almost two thirds of all digital colour production presses sold in Australia are in the 80 page per minute range and it is the sector where there is most growth,” he said.

    He particularly directed attention to the productivity enhancements of the imagePRESS C800, which he said has industry-leading job turn around. “Productivity is not about speed, it’s about how many jobs you can produce,” he said.

    First cab off the rank in NSW for the imagePRESS C800 is Theo Stamatopoulos, Gold Leaf Framing, PIcton (left) pictured with Andrew Ward, manager - northern region graphic arts CPP.

    Canon expects the first shipload of the new engines to arrive shortly with the first installations either later this month or in early August. There are already a number of sales confirmed.

    Undoubtedly the imagePRESS C800 is a very fine digital colour engine and the printed evidence at the debut proved its capability, but as guest speaker on the night, Paul Clitheroe, financial analyst and presenter said, “a machine like this, no matter how good it is, is a commodity. What makes the difference is the service that goes along with it.”

    It was a sentiment echoed by Boyle who closed the friendly, nicely casual evening, with a promise that the Australian printing industry has in CPP a partner re-committed to the long-term advancement of its customers.

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    Enjoying the 'friendly, nicely casual evening,' (from left) Henryk Kraszewski, CPP, Theo Stamatopoulos, Gold Leaf Framing, Paul Clitheroe, speaker, Michael Boyle, senior general manager CPP and Rowan Brown, Deakin University.

     

     

  • The other digital toner company – Print21 magazine

    When it comes to high-end digital printing engines, the spotlight is usually focused on the big players—Fuji Xerox and HP Indigo. However, Xeikon, the Belgium-based company that was in at the very beginning of the technology in the early 1990s, is still very much in the game. It is now making a bid to steal the limelight at drupa with the launch of its intriguing but highly secret Quantum technology, combining the advantages of electrophotography and inkjet. Patrick Howard went to visit Xeikon in Belgium to get some background on the iconic brand.

    The Xeikon toner plant at Heultje in the flat Belgium countryside backs onto an Agfa plant, a solid reminder of the history of digital imaging development. As with so much Belgium-based technology, Agfa was part of the genesis of Xeikon when it first came to market as a high-end digital printing press at the Ipex trade show in Birmingham in 1993—the same year Benny Landa introduced the world to the Indigo. Much has changed since the subsequent departure of Agfa, with Xeikon roller coasting through two decades of innovation, R&D, financial turmoil and buyouts. Today it is a stable and progressive graphic arts manufacturer, with a decent spread of technologies—basysPrint UV platesetters and flexo CTP—in addition to its core digital printing presses.

    On this damp, cold February afternoon, I’m getting a deep dive instruction on the secrets of toner production from Dr Lode Deprez, vice president consumables, Xeikon (pictured in at the toner filling line). An amiable chemist who has been with the company since day one, he takes pains to walk me through the process. For instance, did you know that when they’ve mixed and extruded the toner combination of pigment and resins, it is broken into micron-sized particles in high-speed mechanical mills operating faster than the speed of sound? The subsequent toner particles are separated; nine microns and above and five microns and below are returned to the mixing vat. Only those within the desired tolerance are processed further, to be coated with specially designed surface additives that are mounted to the surface of the toner particle. In the process the rough edges are smoothed, becoming what the company describes as ‘form-adapted toner’. This innovative ‘potato-shaped’ toner is further refined into the almost flowing state of dry toner that is the heart of the Xeikon imaging process.

    Toner manufacture is one of the important secret ingredients to the success of Xeikon. That, and its decision to focus on web digital printing, have gained it a substantial and loyal following in both the packaging/label and document sectors. Its one-pass LED-based printing technique delivers 1,200dpi resolution on the widest range of substrates.

    Ah yes… but!

    There is no mistaking the enthusiasm and dedication of Dr Deprez. In addition to the plant tour, I get a PowerPoint presentation on the innate superiority of dry toner over inkjet for quality, environmental friendliness and utility over the widest range of substrates. He enumerates a number of milestones of Xeikon toner development, lingering over the 2006 breakthrough that resulted in the form-adapted toner (FA) and onwards to the quality adapted (QA) toner that is the current benchmark technology of the company. This means there is a toner specially adapted to focus on the two core Xeikon markets; labelling and packaging, and document printing.

    Sometime during the afternoon, an air of unreality starts to creep into our conversation, despite Dr Deprez’s affable hospitality. It begins to dawn on me that despite making the journey to this chilly spot in the Low Countries, I’m not about to get any inside running on the upcoming new Xeikon imaging technology, Quantum, to be announced at drupa.

    This is a new twist to the toner saga whereby inkjet is combined with the pigment-based toner. Significantly it is technology that Xeikon bought from its inventors, a break from the tradition of in-house R&D. Without knowing what will be released at drupa, my best guess is that it is either toner delivered in a similar manner to inkjet, but without the liquid, or a lighter coverage of toner that retains superior image quality while increasing the speed to match inkjet.

    It is touted as being the foundation on which Xeikon will develop all its future product lines for document printing.

    The safest of them all

    The new technology is aimed squarely at the high-speed document business in commercial printing. This is where speed matters most. But it also means the company’s current self-manufactured toner will remain the key to its burgeoning packaging and label business. Xeikon is perhaps the only real competitor to HP’s dominance in digital labelling. Its engineers have developed many aspects of packaging and labelling print, including the unique one-pass opaque white for transparent or metallic media. According to Dr Deprez, there are unequivocal advantages in using toner-based digital printing for labels and packaging. Apart from the inherent quality differential that is enhanced by the application-tuned toner (QA-l), he believes it presents far fewer challenges when used in food packaging applications.

    This is a thorny issue for printing in general and inkjet in particular. Few inks and toners are given clearance for all types of food packaging and labelling. Despite some extravagant claims to the contrary, it all depends on individual cases. Certainly Dr Deprez is not about to claim that Xeikon toner is safe for every instance of food contact, but he does insist that it is the safest on the market. He claims this is an aspect of toner’s superiority, even to offset ink, when it comes to labelling and packaging. Xeikon toner meets FDA guidelines in the USA for direct and indirect contact with dry food substances.

    The decision to concentrate on web-fed printing is another defining characteristic of the Xeikon process. Across both the industrial and document sectors, it prints using a web in perfecting or simplex mode. This one-pass patented technology is hugely productive giving up to 260ppm (15,600 pages per hour). Where this will end up with the new Quantum technology is a matter of speculation, but even with the existing format it is a very fast digital press.

    It tends to be forgotten in all the hoopla about the new digital B2 presses to be introduced at this drupa that Xeikon is a B2–format digital press and has been for years. With its 500mm imaging width and the ability to image documents of almost any length, it is a remarkably versatile press. This has given Xeikon a handy niche in large format poster printing as well as making it a highly productive engine for everything from transpromo to magazine work.

    Whiter shade of paper

    During the afternoon, Dr Deprez returns to the environmental story of Xeikon. It is obvious he sees the ongoing recycling problems with inkjet and electro ink as a decided advantage for dry toner.

    For those who came in late, the problem derives from the difficulty of de-inking inkjet paper. This is a vital part of the recycling process necessary for the production of most printing paper. It has caused a furore in Europe where, in 2008, the inkjet manufacturers, such as Océ, HP, Kodak and Ricoh, formed the Digital Print De-inking Alliance (DPDA), in part because of dissatisfaction with the pre-existing paper manufacturer-backed International Association of the De-inking Industry (INGEDE). Water-based inkjet print can only be separated from paper with considerable difficulty during the widely-
    used flotation process—mainly because there are no particles to float to the top. DPDA advocates adding a bleaching process to the proceedings, something which INGEDE says is expensive and doesn’t actually change the composition of the fibres, so the colour may reappear. It also advocates that electro ink paper be only recycled for cardboard.

    This debate could be seen as fairly academic at present as inkjet represents such a small part of the overall paper mix, but if the projections for the new generation of high-speed presses are met that will change dramatically. DPDA says this window gives it plenty of time to come up with a solution but Dr Deprez is not so sure, as the small amount of inkjet already causes a decrease of the whiteness of recycled paper.

    He believes dry toner, such as Xeikon’s, is the only environmentally responsible digital imaging process. It is easily de-inked and has no volatile organic compounds or heavy metals. He maintains the new Quantum technology will be equally green.

    Up and down and around

    When the former Punch Graphix changed its name to Xeikon last year, it not only added weight to the brand, it also drew a line under the sometimes troubled financial past of the company. Xeikon now is a relatively broad-based graphics manufacturer, active not only in digital presses but also in UV-offset plate imaging and flexo plate production. It is a mid-size technology firm, financially secure with an established user base around the world and, importantly, now has access via the flexo plate business to many more label printers who may be scoping the advantages of digital printing.

    In Australia and New Zealand, Grish Rewal’s Melbourne-based Absolute Electronics represents the brand and services the 15 or so machines in the market. He is delighted with the renewed energy and profile of Xeikon and is confident in the technology, especially for industrial and label processes.

    There is much in its IP portfolio that Xeikon keeps under wraps. The toner plant at Heultje has no-go areas, while the details of Quantum technology remain obscure. On the way back to Antwerp, I made a last attempt to wheedle more information from Dr Deprez but without success. For the details of Quantum we’ll have to wait until drupa.