Xaar aims at a larger slice of the Indian market

Xaar aims at a larger slice of the Indian market
Samples of print output achieved with Xaar printheads. Photo IPP

Xaar Plc., a leader in industrial inkjet technology, presented its range of premium inkjet printheads and products, and announced its new strategy for the Indian market. Speaking at a press conference at Hotel Trident in Gurugram, Haryana, the chief executive officer of the company, Doug Edwards, confirmed that Xaar is strengthening its business in India with its wide portfolio of inkjet printheads and new technology for a variety of print applications. Xaar dominates the printhead market for ceramic tiles in India with over 80% share but now it intends to penetrate the other segments of the printhead market. Edwards said, “Our focus over the last two years has been to broaden our horizons into a wider range of print applications, all of which are of significant interest to our customers and partners in India. Results from the first half of this year show that we are making good progress.” 

The recent printhead launches from Xaar have begun to shift the company towards a broader reach of the printhead market. Of particular interest to the Indian printhead market are the Xaar 1201 and Xaar 5501, both of which are capable of handling aqueous inks. Hence, OEMs producing graphics or textiles printers who use water-based inks now have access to robust and reliable technologies. According to Edwards, “Product revenues outside of ceramics are growing by 60%; global sales in the graphics sector grew by 33%, and we have also made good progress in our packaging and product printing markets, where global sales jumped by 54%. We expect the packaging and product printing area of the business to be about a third larger than ceramics by the end of this year. In addition, we have seen an increase in our Asian business, which now makes up 47% of the company’s overall sales.” 

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CEO of Xaar, Doug Edwards, speaking at the press conference. Photo IPP

The Xaar 1201 is a thin film Piezo silicon micro electrical mechanical system (MEMS) technology printhead for printing wide format graphics (WFG) and textiles with dye sublimation, eco-solvent or aqueous inks. It is ideal for OEMs looking to design graphics or textile printers for banners, soft signage and POS applications. This compact printhead delivers high quality print combined with high productivity and is easy to integrate, thereby minimizing the time to market. Colorjet, an Indian OEM manufacturing a range of wide format printers, uses Xaar 1201 printheads for its printers, one of which named Aurajet was displayed at the Shanghai International Ad & Sign Technology & Equipment Exhibition in March 2017. 

The Xaar 5501 delivers high print quality using proven bulk piezo technology in coordination with Xaar Drive Electronics. It is ideal for OEMs that want to deliver cost-effective scanning digital printers with a high quality output. It is lightweight and offers a resolution of 1200 dpi printhead, which makes it useful for a range of water-based digital printing applications, such as graphics for banners, posters and displays as well as for wide format printing like soft signage. The Xaar 5501 has 5,544 nozzles, each producing 5 pL sub-drops giving an impressive 115 mm print width for high quality print at high productivity. The printhead has a robust construction, which makes it compatible with a range of fluids including aqueous inks, low viscosity UV or solvent-based inks. 

Xaar also has a feature-rich printhead, the 501, which delivers good reliability, high production up-time and good print quality. It also features PrecisionPlus, a unique architecture which optimizes the printhead actuator performance to provide more uniform drop formation across the print swathe. Xaar offers its the optional TF Technology for reliability, particularly in harsh environments. Using the Xaar 501, it is easier to obtain value-added effects such as printing on transparent or colored substrates with white ink or varnishes. The mounting features on the Xaar 501 are quite accurate, which enable multiple printheads to be rapidly mounted together with minimal adjustment. 

Edwards is quite optimistic of Xaar’s ability to move beyond ceramics and make an impact in the wide format and commercial printing segments in India. He specifically outlined the importance of the Indian market to his company’s global goal of reaching annual sales of £220m by 2020. Considering the size and potential of the packaging sector in India, Edwards feels that just a tiny fraction of this market would be enough for him to achieve his global revenue goals, thereby making it clear that India is going to be a crucial market for Xaar’s future growth.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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