Xeikon to launch digital corrugated

15 June 2020

Xeikon is launching into the corrugated printing market with Idera, a new fully integrated digital solutions platform for corrugated packaging converters.

The new platform is a post-print, single-pass printing press, using certified food-safe water-based inks on coated and uncoated corrugated sheets, up to 1.6 m wide x 2.8 m long at up to 150 linear m/min. The inks are manufactured by Xeikon itself.

It has been designed as a solution for a corrugated box market with decreasing lot sizes, shorter lead times, and ever-increasing demand for high-quality packaging.

Xeikon says Idera will deliver higher print quality than flexography and enable printing of both short and long runs with all the benefits of a digital print-on-demand solution, including reduced waste. Idera also has the ability to customise and version.

From September onwards, the Idera solution will be available at the Global Innovation Center in Lier, Belgium for customer evaluation and testing.

“It is no secret that we are seeing rapid changes in the behavioural patterns of consumers, brands and retailers,” Sebastien Stabel, market segment manager for Carton Packaging at Xeikon, said.

“The exponential growth of e-commerce and the increasing pressure on sustainability are underlying forces that drive creative innovation in the digitisation of packaging to higher levels of productivity. Ever rising consumer expectations for instant, unique and entertaining products continue to set the bar higher within the supply chain for decreased lead times and even faster delivery,” Stabel said.

Xeikon enters a market that has EFI with its Nozomi and HP with its Pagewide leading a field that will also soon include other industry heavyweights such as Screen, Domino, and others. However, Xeikon is owned by Flint, which is the world's biggest supplier to the flexo industry, giving it unrivalled entry to the market. Xeikon also already develops and supplies flexo platemaking equipment.

Xeikon points to the McKinsey report from a year ago, No ordinary disruption – winning with new models in packaging 2030, which warns, “This is the time for companies in the packaging industry to buckle up and get ready. They have less than two years to prepare”. With that in mind, companies need to change their focus with an intuition reset and review their business models and markets.

Xeikon believes that migrating from corrugated post-print to digital corrugated printing is the optimal way for forward-thinking businesses to set themselves up for future success.

It says its Idera solution “provides the winning combination of a best-in-class, single-pass digital press for the corrugated sector, food-safety patented ink technology, and an open architecture system for third-party integration.”

To develop Idera, Xeikon relied on its long established in-house digital expertise, and on the experience and manufacturing footprint of its parent company, Flint Group. As the number one supplier of inks for corrugated packaging, Flint has a deep understanding of the corrugated market.

Stabel said, “We are working closely with Flint Group, our partners, and most importantly our customers, to customise the software, hardware and ink sets and address more closely the needs of the corrugated market. At the same time, we add our digital expertise to what is already a solid base product.”

Lode Deprez, VP Digital Inks & Imaging Technology said, “In our R&D Competence Center for digital inks, our engineers develop, formulate and produce our own high-performing, food-safe, water-based inks. This includes our new and patented technology used for pigment dispersion that guarantees the best performance and a cost-efficient solution.”

Filip Weymans, Xeikon vice president of marketing, said, “With more than 30 years of innovation and experience in digital printing, we are still leading the way. Xeikon is recognised as an advisor in many key markets, such as graphic arts and labels, and now in the corrugated market. Xeikon is a technology-agnostic advisor in the digital transformation that print manufacturing processes are undergoing. We are excited to be bringing Xeikon and Flint Group knowledge and expertise to the corrugated market with Idera and our broad range of consulting and advisory services.”