Xeikon Café: Day 1-3 review

Xeikon Café

Converting Today had the pleasure to attend with members of the global press sector a series of meetings on packaging innovation hosted by Xeikon with live demonstrations of finishing and digital equipment as well as converting machinery. In addition, partners throughout the supply chain were in attendance to talk about latest trends, process efficiencies and innovation available to the whole L & P printers (folding carton, self-adhesive labels, heat trasnfer labels, in-mould labels, paper cups, leaflets and wet-glue labels.) There follows a day by day review and summary of the three days attended by Matthew Rogerson.

Day 1 kicked off with an incredible key note by Rafi Albo who spoke on how to make print engaging and sexy. It’s easy and simple according him. You just need to create an experience. He detailed how Coca Cola’s versioning campaign made an impact by printing names on the bottle. Digital was the chosen method because of the number of SKUs.

Rafi says the next level is 'apprinting' – using Internet and Facebook to create a message. One such campaign encouraged mums to upload pictures of their children for a shoe catalogue and the printed result was collected in-store. The response rate for this campaign was 92%! Unsurprisingly four other similar campaigns quickly followed.


Technical Conference : Food Safety
Rob Veraart, scientist at Keller and Heckman, gave an overview of today’s migration testing and limits while also underpinning the importance of maintaining required documents of compliance (DOC). Every stage in the supply chain has to take responsibility for the process it manages and ensure there is a valid DOC. Printers can undertake migration testing based on the information received from suppliers. They should not be afraid to ask for the required documentation. 
Talk Show topics 

 Sean Smyth moderated the interesting first Xeikon Café Talk Show with guest participants Rafi Albo, Shawn Desmarchais and Rachinda Semail. The topics covered were diverse and ranged from the need to be aware of compliancy regulations wherever you are in the world to the lucrative opportunities complimentary digital print created and the need for printers to push their products in amazing ways.

The show concluded with an exciting prediction from Rafi about the how the iPhone 8 is likely to make in the market with Augmented Reality. This will make the industry fly to the stars.


Neal Livermore, Douglas Storrie Labels
“We bought a Xeikon 3300 ten months ago and I have a few ideas about what we would like to do.  I have come to see how we can make those ideas work. Part of that is looking at finishing. Here there are all the partners you can talk to and I can get all the help I am looking for.”

Tsan Wan Tsung and Wu Yi Hsin, from a Taiwanese Printing Company
“We installed a Xeikon 9800 in May and we are looking for information around substrates. This will help us improve how we serve the markets we are already in and allow us to look at new markets."

Ahmed Almajdoub, Maher Graphic
“It is my first time at the Xeikon Café. We are looking at investing in digital print and moving into labels production. I am looking at the productivity, efficiency and quality. This is the first step of the project.”

Davide Torresin, Rotas Italia
“We have two presses Xeikon 3300s and I am here to see what is new and look at fresh case studies. It helps us push what we can do. How we can improve plain labels. Seeing all the partners gives me a chance to get a good view on what the latest technology can go, like the new Xeikon PX3000.”.”

A Brand's perspective on moving packaging into the digital age
The world has changed dramatically since 2005 said Jan Duffhues from MARS Europe: ‘Just look at smartphones and smart cars’. Change has also resulted in the trend for shorter run lengths, greater customer choice, print on demand and interactive shopping. He stated whatever the process, customers know and need to recognise Mars red, Twix gold and M&M yellow. It is vital that digital print meets these challenges
Digital Production of cups
Global paper cup consumption is expected to grow from 252bn per year to 272bn in 2021. This growth is gaining momentum because of ease-of-use, higher biodegradability and the growing food service market. To meet this demand, Xeikon works with its partners to create a complete end-to-end solution, which was highlighted at the technical conference.

One who already discovered the benefits of digitally produced cups is Jack Willemsz. ‘Each paper cup has seven minutes exposure. This is more than any other printed media,’ he stated in his presentation. Starting up his company, Cupsz, Jack visited high-volume cup producers in China and found they had a six to eight week delivery time, one standard design and poor quality. With its digital solution, Cupsz can do highly creative runs of 1.000 or more, in high quality and delivered in five days.

Food Packaging design and its effect on online shopping
Online supermarket sales are not that big yet but they are going to be huge predicted Leonie Van Tienen who has researched the effect of packaging on online shopping. She stated online retailers are trying to make their products more attractive. Her research also found that they should consider clear communication of product names and quantity indicators and modest colour deviation. She found packaging shape had no direct effect on buying decisions but deviations may impact the brand and product perception
Folding Carton: pharmaceutical, bakery and confectionery
There is a lot of ‘fuss’ surrounding digital folding carton production which maybe ‘unnecessary’ or ‘excessive’ but there is certainly a lot of excitement as proven in the technical conference where the discussion focused on how the pharmaceutical, confectionary and bakery sectors can capitalise on the technology. It helps manage volumes, delivery times and different applications. 
Luis Amozarrain, Igamo Packaging Spain
“It has been very interesting. We came to look at digital print and learn more about what Xeikon is doing about it. Some of the partners are very interesting and we liked the die-cutting technology which is a very new for us.”
George Laudis, CS LabelPrint, Greece
“We were keen to learn more about the new Xeikon PX3000. It was very interesting for us to see the new development. We already work with Xeikon but there are a lot of new things we wanted to learn about. Attending the Xeikon Café was very important for us. It also gave us the opportunity to meet new partners.”
Keith Hamilton, James Hamilton Group, Northern Ireland
“This is my second time and last time we bought our first Xeikon – a 3300. We wanted know more about the different applications. We especially wanted to find out about cup forming. We are already selling the cups and we want to manufacture them in short to medium runs. We didn’t realise there were so many side shows going on. It is now a mini-exhibition. That is a bonus.”
Short-run product packaging and prototyping
Developing a successful approach to short runs and prototyping is a matter of evaluating every aspect of the business Phil Edwards of PrintSure told the Xeikon Café conference attendees. First is choosing the right partner to help develop the right solution. He initially worked with Xeikon to create heatset laminated glossy and soft touch pouches. He was particularly keen on the benefits of FDA compliance and the white toner that is comparable to silkscreen ink.

Next was getting paid 50% upfront, on all projects, with the balance on delivery. This aids financial health. Phil also underlined the importance of SEO and social media for printers to be available to answer customer queries and constantly engage new customers.

Evolutions in the European label market
There was encouraging news from Niklas Olsson when he shared insights from the latest FINAT RADAR reports. He explained that while 91% of label production is conventionally printed, the 9% that is digitally printed delivers 22% of the revenue. In short, it offers a better price point. He also pointed to falling run lengths but this was across both processes. Interesting, too, was that 85% of European brand owners surveyed intend to stay with their supplier. And that converters are offering the three main things customers are looking for: cost effective solutions,  thinner materials and a wider range of solutions.
Ghent Workgroup new PDF standards
Ghent Workgroup creates standards that promote good processes and best practices. Next under development is a standard for packaging that will be published next year. It will also become an ISO19593-DIS. It allows the reliable exchange of data in PDF form of the production steps outside print production. It will incorporate legends, die-lines, cut lines and varnish (excluding the glued areas). This means there can be a production master PDF for print and one for non-printing. In particular, this is a huge advantage for graphic designers who can easily see if they have everything they need and it is in the correct place.
Andrzej Lyczkowski, Drukarina Franczak, Poland
“We are a flexo house looking to buy our first digital press with offline finishing. I have been researching the purchase for a year. There are lots of questions and I’m here to get some answers. There is a lot of knowledge presented at the Xeikon Café with many partners here to help me get the info I need.”
Mimouni Abdelhamed, Magicom, Algeria
“We bought our first digital press this month, a Xeikon 3030.  I’m at the show to see what the possibilities are. I’m interested in the finishing options and the materials we can run. I think the Xeikon Café is a excellent idea, especially all the partners we can talk to.”
Lars Kjaerholm, LabelCo, Denmark
“It’s my first time here and I think it is a very cool event. I was interested in the special solutions and wanted to look at the opportunities for digital labelling. I was also excited to see the new UV inkjet system. It is a new player in the market and it was definitely something I wanted to look at to see if it is a potential fit for us.” 


Is digital production moving from intriguing to compelling?

As the industry continuously innovates, consultant Kevin Karstedt discussed how folding carton and label producers can keep up to speed and decide what digital print investments they should be making. The need for shorter, faster turnaround runs makes digital print intriguing for those looking to adapt their processes. He then detailed research into trends and predicted growth that makes the technology compelling. Research also pointed to many operations reviewing how the can expand their opportunities for growth by embracing new markets.


Chatzichrysos Avgerinos, For Labels, Greece
“This is our third time at the show and every time we take something new away. It also allows us to repeat some learning and that is important for our knowledge and education. The organisation this year is very good with the partners, business conference and technical conference. There are lots of interesting things to learn.”
Siaphop Lamchan, Simat Label Co, Bangkok
“We are looking to invest in a digital press in the next six months so I came to learn all I need to know. I have collected information on the folding carton applications and machine capabilities as well as details from the partners. I have also enjoyed the business seminars that have highlighted the trends in digital print.”