Under Chatelard’s leadership, the company announced several organizational goals at Xeikon Café North America, which took place in October 2017. Xeikon has placed an emphasis on its Graphic Arts, Labels, and Carton Packaging segments. The company wants to continue developing its electrophotography technology while mastering inkjet.
“It’s good to re-emphasize how Xeikon is going forward and what our vision is and how we’ll start to implement it,” explained Filip Weymans, VP of marketing at Xeikon. “More software integration will allow us to assist and advise customers on how to make the right choices to make the transformation into the digital manufacturing arena.”
Based on the success of Xeikon’s Café events, the company has announced two more editions. Xeikon Café will take place at the company’s Lier, Belgium headquarters from March 20-23. In addition, Xeikon Café North America is slated for May of this year. The event will tale place May 15-17 at the Westin Chicago Northwest and Xeikon’s Innovation Center, both located in Chicago, IL. This will be the second Xeikon Café held in North America and builds on the success of the inaugural event, which attracted 175 attendees from the United States, Canada and Latin America.
These events are designed to connect with customers, partners, packaging convertors and print service providers. They will include live demonstrations, presentations, workshops and discussions where participants can receive first-hand, actionable information and advice on industry innovations and trends.
During the webinar, Xeikon also announced its first early adopter of Panther technology in the US. A converter has ordered three PX3000 machines that are due to be delivered before the summer. The purchase includes two 4-color units and a 5-color press. Labels Unlimited has also acquired two new CX3 presses, and a Minnesota-based converter has added asecond Jetrion platform to its portfolio.
Xeikon is still focusing much of its attention on labels, where its partnership with Flint Group will play a critical role. “The real focus market for us is clearly labels, a market where our mother company Flint has a strong position,” adds Weymans. “With the actions we’ve taken, we’ve solidified our position in the labels segment, and our ambition is to challenge for No. 1 in the digital labels space. While many of our colleagues are betting on one specific technology, Xeikon provides a broad knowledge in multiple spaces.”
Xeikon will continue to develop its converting equipment, digital embellishment units and software while striving to serve as an industry advisor for all things digital, be it dry toner or UV inkjet.
The company is also planning a long-term strategy for water-based inkjet technology. Its technological developments will include an inkjet competence center in Antwerp, Belgium, where more than 20 people can develop these platforms–including Xeikon’s patented Panther technology–on a daily basis.
Both Weymans and David Wilkins, VP of sales for North America, believe the partnership with EFI will enhance Xeikon’s position in the labels and packaging market. “One of the surprises was Xeikon’s takeover of the Jetrion customer base,” Weymans emphasized. “We became the owner of the biggest install base of UV inkjet machines in the labels space. This provides us with a strong and solid service network to serve all digital printing needs. Xeikon has been able to build out a global service network of more than 100 service experts around the world. This was an area where EFI was struggling in the labels space, so we married two good things together. EFI wanted to focus more on other aspects in the inkjet environment, and we want to grow in the label environment, so this was a unique opportunity for us.”
According to Xeikon, customers have responded favorably to the merger. In 2018, volume has grown since the acquisition, compared to last year at the same time. Wilkins described the merger as “a whirlwind 90 days,” but the move gives Xeikon the opportunity to engage customers on Xeikon’s capabilities and provide new avenues for growth, as well as explain why inkjet can serve as the perfect technology for durable labels and food and pharma applications.
“It’s been a terrific boost for North America,” said Wilkins. “The level of activity and interest in the Jetrion customer base with Xeikon has been greater than even I expected. They’re seeing a focused response in service and support, as well as an opportunity for state of the art inkjet technology and support to the current platform. There are also opportunities for upgrades and migration.”
In addition to the tweo Xeikon Café events, the company will also be well represented at the Digital Inkjet Summit, FTA Forum & INFOFLEX, the Digital Print for Packaging Conference, and Labelexpo Americas, which is scheduled for September 25-27 in Chicago, IL, USA.
“Labelexpo is coming up, and that will be a key event for us later in the year,” said Donna Covannon, director of marketing for North America. “You’re going to see Xeikon there in a major way.”