After a 40-year career with Agfa-Gevaert, where he was instrumental in forming the company's Electronic Imaging System Department, De Schamphelaere wanted a new challenge. So, in August 1988 he established the limited liability company, Ellith NV, which started with just five employees. That name would soon be changed into Xeikon NV, the composition of the Greek words "xeros” (dry) and "eikon” (image).
“We were so saddened to hear the news of Lucien’s death,” says Wim Maes, Xeikon CEO. “He had an amazing passion for digital printing and unstoppable drive that led him to achieve such an incredible amount in his lifetime. His dedication and pioneering approach remains a key cornerstone of Xeikon today.”
De Schamphelaere was born on April 3rd, 1931 in Gijzenzele, Belgium. He graduated in 1952 as an engineer in electronics and started working that same year for the N.V. Gevaert Photo-Products physics lab. In 1958, he transferred to instrumentation, a young department that had been created to automate machines and workflows at Gevaert. The department changed a lot during the 14 years De Schamphelaere spent at its head. It grew from a small group of employees to a department of about 100 employees, and at the beginning of the 1970s, Agfa-Gevaert was far ahead in automation.
In 1988, De Schamphelaere was awarded the Otto-Bayer Medal, the first in a series of international prizes he would receive over the years for his contribution to digital imaging. De Schamphelaere received multiple distinctions for his pioneering work in the graphics industry, including the GATF-award, the IS&T Award and the prestigious Cary Award (1997).
The continuous search for new challenges was a constant in his career. “Once a project gets rolling, I tend to lose interest. I’m happiest at the start of it, when I can develop what doesn’t yet exist," he said in an interview with newspaper “De Tijd."
From 1986, as president of Agfa’s Venture Capital Fund, he was given the time to look for the most promising applications in digital imaging. By 1988, he had a blueprint ready for what would later become "Xeikon".
By the summer of 1993, the time was ripe and Xeikon introduced the DCP-1, a digital color printing press that could print without an ink sheet. The magazine Seybold called it a "new standard for the color printing market. The impact of the DCP-1 on colour printing is probably as big as the impact Apple LaserWriter had on black and white printing”.
In 1996, Xeikon got listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market, it was the second Belgian company to ever take such a step. At the age of 67, De Schamphelaere retired from his position as chief executive officer and in 1998, he left the presidency of Xeikon.
In 1999, De Schamphelaere established Triakon, a printing centre used to further develop digital color printing. All these years, he was a member of the Boards of Directors of Imec, Option, Melexis, Materialise and Hydrogen Systems.
Over his whole career, he remained very socially engaged; he was involved in his local parish and supported charities such as the “Rijsactie” to help local missionaries.