Xeikon and Flint Group Bring Digital Print to the Corrugated Industry
Xeikon and Flint group today announced the launch of IDERA, a brand-new digital solutions platform for corrugated packaging converters. One of the cornerstones of this platform is a post-print, single-pass printing press. This press uses certified food-safe water-based inks on coated and uncoated corrugated sheets up to 1.6 m wide x 2.8 m long (5’ 3” wide x 9’2” long) at up to 150 linear m/min (492 ft/min). It is an ideal solution for a corrugated box market with decreasing lot sizes, shorter lead times, and ever-increasing demand for high quality packaging. 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, Xeikon states. With a much smaller and more environment-friendly footprint, IDERA also has the ability to customize 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,” explains Sebastien Stabel, Market Segment Manager Carton Packaging. The exponential growth of e-commerce and the increasing pressure on sustainability are underlying forces that drive creative innovation in the digitization 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 believes there is more change yet to come. In its May 2019 study ‘No ordinary disruption – winning with new models in packaging 2030’, the consulting firm McKinseywarns, “This is the time for companies in the packaging industry to buckle up and get ready. They have less than 2 years to prepare”. With that in mind, companies need to change their focus with an ‘intuition reset’ and review their business models and markets. Migrating from corrugated post-print to digital corrugated printing is the optimal way for forward-thinking businesses to set themselves up for future success. Xeikon’s 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 continues, “We are working closely with Flint Group, our partners, and most importantly our customers, to customize the software, hardware and ink sets and address more closely the needs of the corrugated market in Europe and North America. At the same time, we add our digital expertise to what is already a solid base product.”
Lode Deprez, VP Digital Inks & Imaging Technology adds, “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.
Key benefits of Xeikon’s IDERA platform for corrugated packaging printers and converters:
- High throughput with a post-print, single-pass printing press. Ready to print on uncoated and coated boards
- Xeikon developed food safety compliant water-based inkjet inks to drive print performance and cost
- An open ecosystem that works together with various best-in-class partners – peripheral equipment, workflow, camera inspection, and more – to get to the best-integrated solution
- A true digital transformation capability supported by Xeikon’s X-800 workflow for corrugated packaging
- Colour management and profiling tools as well as integration with third-party manufacturing and MIS software
Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s Vice President of Marketing, states, “With more than 30 years of innovation and experience in digital printing, we are still leading the way. Xeikon is recognized as an advisor in many key markets, such as graphic arts and labels, and now in the corrugated market. Xeikon is a true 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.”