Print Innovation Asia caught up with Xeikon CEO, Benoit Chatelard, to delve into the new launches for the Asian region.
Xeikon recently launched new products in line with original drupa dates; the SX30000 digital commercial press based on new Sirius technology, and the new label press CX300 based on Cheetah 2.0 technology.
“With the two launches, we are introducing high end, high throughput, high speed products for both graphic arts and label. We will be bringing some new products to market prior to drupa in order to make the latest technology available to our customers. By drupa 2021, we expect to have even more innovation available to announce and exhibit so customers can be well-prepared for the recovery that is sure to come,” said Xeikon CEO, Benoit Chatelard.
“What we see is a slow start from China. My people are able to go and visit customers. We have many activities in Singapore, and in Australia too. But Taiwan has really been the most active in the business, since the very beginning,” said Chatelard.
“We are growing in Asia. This year, the business is stunted from the COVID-19 pandemic. China closed quickly, followed by Singapore and some other Asian countries. We are just restarting, in fact, Taiwan has been very active,” Chatelard continued.
As the COVID-19 lockdown has lifted in some cities in China, Chatelard confirmed that the Innovation Centre in China at the Shanghai University of Printing has already reopened.
Japan and Taiwan expressed 'Sirius' interest for new platform
The Xeikon SX30000 press based on the new generation of dry toner technology for the graphic arts industry, Sirius. The single pass duplex machine that is able to run at a printing width of 508 mm on a broad range of substrates at 30 meters/minute, 404ppm on A4. It boasts an average speed increase of more than 50% throughout the range of 40-350 gsm versus the previous platform.
“In digital printing, the heavier the paper, the lower the speed. This has been fixed very nicely. The machine can deliver two to three times more into the high grammage. The way it is positioned now, this is something that can only happen every five to seven years. We are now addressing a segment that is not existing for us,” said Chatelard.
Chatelard added that Xeikon’s graphic arts presses are experiencing a good demand in Asia driven by Japan’s need for high quality. There is also demand in China and Taiwan, driven by the need for books on demand and large volumes of direct mail.
“There was always this compromise: do you go a little bit lower quality with expensive investment inkjet, or do you go with the offset quality of Xeikon? With the throughput of this machine, we can now address the very high volume segment, so I think we have a high demand for the Xeikon SX30000 for Asia. And in fact, we are already in proposal for both Taiwan and Japan,” said Chatelard.
The dramatic reduction of activities in graphic arts now due to COVID-19 has potential to delay the progress of the launch, though Chatelard remained optimistic: “I hope this will be resolved by drupa. We still have the intention to release sales by then. At this stage we should have already done much more external testing, but to balance it out we have done much more homework with internal testing.”
China is a focus for Label
On the other hand, the label industry is very active at this time, “because we serve the pharmaceutical and food industry. We are what we call an essential industry part of the supply chain, for supermarkets as an example,” said Chatelard.
Xeikon also released the new digital label press based on next-generation Cheetah 2.0 technology. The Xeikon CX300 is designed to achieve the highest possible OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) and is even more productive than the Xeikon CX3 first generation of Cheetah presses. With Cheetah 2.0 technology, Xeikon focused on combining high production speeds with a high OEE, ultimately resulting in maximum sellable output.
“Our focus has always been label industry for China mainland, more than graphic arts. What I observed is the trend of relatively entry level in the label industry,” said Chatelard.
“I believe the digitalization of digital printing for label is still relatively small compared to the rest of the world. This is because of the ratio of manpower in conventional; the costs is still low compared to Europe or the US. The volume of digital label activity in China is not that big at all, so for us it's a high growth potential. It’s very unique to China,” Chatelard concluded.
[Also read: Xeikon announces IDERA postprint digital corrugated solution]