Powering short-run book printing with Xeikon

Xeikon’s Sirius technology at Hunkeler Innovationdays

The first public display of the Sirius technology will take place at Hunkeler Innovationdays in Switzerland.

Xeikon, part of the Flint group, will showcase book-printing solutions at the Hunkeler Innovation days in Switzerland from February 27 to March 2 2023 at the Lucerne Exhibition Centre.

Over the past two decades, digital technology has redefined book printing with solutions that are profitably producing short to medium runs on demand. Xeikon’s introduction of Sirius dry toner technology in 2020, as implemented in the Xeikon SX30000 and SX20000 full color, duplex roll-fed presses, is also helping printers worldwide take advantage of the innovation for high-quality print production.

Dimitri Van Gaever, Market Segment director for Graphic Arts, states, “Digital book printing is the fastest growing digital application by volume. While traditional book production is under pressure, printers who have adopted digital technology are in a much better position, because they can handle small and even ultra-small orders, which can be printed to order thereby reducing turnaround time and eliminating warehouse costs. What Xeikon has brought to the table with Sirius is exceptional quality combined with substrate and format flexibility, with a low printing cost.”

Following a number of successful installations, including at BookBaby in the US where two Xeikon SX30000 presses are producing books on demand, the first public showing of the Sirius technology will take place at Hunkeler Innovationdays in Switzerland. Visitors will be able to experience Xeikon’s book production solution in action demonstrating three high-end applications, including a coffee table travel book, a full-color tourist guide, and a highly illustrated book on architecture. 

The single-pass, duplex Xeikon SX30000 roll-fed press will be running live in line with a Hunkeler Gen8 roll-to-stack solution producing book blocks, which will be bound on an offline Muller Martini Vareo Pro with Infinitrim. The paper for both the inside book pages and the covers will be supplied by Sappi and UPM Specialty Papers. 

As the most productive of the Sirius family, the Xeikon SX30000 can deliver up to 2,545 full-color printed B2 sheets an hour (equivalent to 404 ppm A4) with lower setup costs than conventional technologies. Tackling the widest range of substrates in this category, it prints on uncoated papers, digital coated papers in silk, gloss, or matte, and standard offset papers up to 350 gsm, and shines not only in book printing (including covers, dust jackets, and lay-flat photobooks), but also in direct mail, point-of-sale, security documents, and general commercial printing.

In addition to the ability to print very high duplex coverage and 1200 dpi resolution, the sustainability of the process is also said to be good. The dry toner is produced in a plant powered 100% by green energy, there are no VOCs emitted, energy consumption is low, and the print is fully de-inkable in existing waste streams.

Visitors to the Xeikon stand will be able to learn about the Xeikon SX20000 roll-fed press, a cost-effective option for implementing the Sirius technology into graphic arts production. Other applications on display include marketing communications, PoS, specialty print, and interior decoration.

Van Gaever concludes, “Xeikon has proven its dedication to developing premier solutions for driving more value in book printing, particularly in the high-value, luxury segment and in the fast-moving on-demand market. With SIRIUS state-of-the-art digital printing, we are enabling our customers to deliver superior quality that matches offset without compromise at a very competitive TCO; a value proposition that has already been validated in the field.”

Xeikon, a division of Flint Group, is a provider of digital printing technology for leading global print consumables and a solution provider to the packaging and print media industries.

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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