With Expanding Digital Print Portfolio, Xeikon Determined to Grow Leadership Position
With a focus on its varied digital print portfolio in both inkjet and toner, Xeikon hosted an online press briefing on Thursday, Feb. 22, in which executives detailed the company's goals to expand its leadership position in the industry.
The briefing provided a glimpse into Xeikon’s top initiatives for 2018 and beyond, an update on its strategic partnership with EFI to sell and service Jetrion inkjet label presses, and a preview of the upcoming Xeikon Café events in Europe and North America.
Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s VP of marketing, began the briefing with an overview of the print segments that are Xeikon’s current strengths, and segments it plans to expand in. He stated that the company is particularly strong in the label segment, but also plans to further its footprint in folding cartons. Additionally, he explained that on the commercial printing side of the business, the company is focusing on what it has deemed high-value applications, such as educational books, direct mail and wall coverings.
A key aspect to Xeikon’s business, Weymans said, is that it offers both inkjet and dry toner technology, allowing Xeikon to steer its customers in the direction that makes the most sense for their specific needs.
“Many other colleagues are betting on one specific technology,” Weymans said. “We feel by providing this broader offering, we will be able to take more of a leading or advising role in this environment.”
Having become an established supplier of electrophotography technology, Weymans said Xeikon is now expanding its position in inkjet, and has launched an Inkjet Competence Center in Antwerp, Belgium. Weymans detailed that more than 20 employees are working in the Inkjet Competence Center, with some working on Xeikon’s current offerings, such as its Digital Combination Presses and Panther UV inkjet series.
Others, he said, are exploring water-based inkjet technology, which the company envisions it will implement into the corrugated and flexible packaging segments.
“Corrugated and flexible packaging, if you want to go to the industrial level, inkjet and specifically water-based inkjet, is a technology we believe will stand out and deliver solutions the market will be expecting.”
In the inkjet label segment, Xeikon made two major moves within the last year, launching its Panther series at Xeikon Café and more recently, entering into a strategic partnership with EFI to take over the sales and service aspects of the Jetrion line of digital presses.
Weymans explained that Xeikon has been able to expand on the service strategy for Jetrion customers, providing repairs when necessary, but also becoming an advisor for customers to grow their digital printing business.
“The main thing with service is it goes beyond day to day repair of a machine,” he said. “It’s more in helping them on their business development and application development, looking into how things can be much more automated, how color management tools can be implemented and how color management procedures can be implemented in a production environment to ensure consistency and reduce costs.”
Additionally, David Wilkins, Xeikon’s VP of sales and marketing for the U.S. and Canada, explained that Xeikon is also now able to introduce Jetrion customers to the Panther inkjet series, and become a provider of toner options to serve additional digital printing needs.
“There have been quite a number who have expressed interest in branching out into food safe applications and pharmaceutical,” Wilkins said. “Looking at our dry toner technology and its FDA compliancy and Nestle certification gives them a new avenue for growth within their company and the opportunity to take advantage of that technology.”
With the launch of the Panther inkjet series last year, Xeikon is now seeing the platform in action. Jeroen Van Bauwel, Xeikon’s digital product manager, said that the first Panther beta site has been in operation for more than six months and the first early adopter of the technology has received its installation in Belgium.
Additionally, he said that the first Panther delivery to a U.S. customer will take place this summer. While he did not say who the customer was, Van Bauwel stated that they have placed an order for three PX3000 presses.
Lastly, after the success of hosting two Xeikon Café events last year, the company announced it will again host Cafés in Belgium and in the U.S. Xeikon Café Packaging Solutions will take place March 20-23 at Xeikon’s Antwerp, Belgium location, while Xeikon Café North America will run from May 15-17 at Xeikon’s Itasca, Ill., facility near Chicago.