Xeikon consolidates its operations in Belgium

Growing its digital production

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Xeikon returns to its Belgian roots

Established in 1988, Xeikon started digital full color printing out of a former Agfa production site in Mortsel, near Antwerp in Belgium. There it built the very first DCP-1 machine that was to be launched at Ipex 1993.

In 2002, it moved its headquarters – including R&D, manufacturing and innovation center – from Mortsel to a brand new building in Lier, Belgium. Since 2008, the company’s head office is based in Eede, the Netherlands, just across the northern Belgian border.

Last year, Xeikon celebrated its 30th anniversary and 25 years of digital printing. Under the motto ‘PastPrintFuture’, it also got ready for a new future with Flint Group as its new owner, and inkjet technology as an added part of its broadened digital portfolio. In 2018, it opened both an inkjet and a toner technology competence center in Lier to strengthen its R&D efforts and stay ahead at a technological level. The consolidation to Belgium is the next logical step in the consolidation process to continue growing in chosen digital production applications.

Benoit Chatelard, who took the helm in 2017, is convinced that Xeikon is in the right position to leapfrog the competition, and he is making sure the company is in the right shape and in the right place to do so. The transfer to Lier is a gradual process that started in January 2019. The main activities will be transferred by 1 July 2019, and at the end of the year, the Eede location will be closed. All customers, partners and suppliers will be informed in due time.

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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