Xeikon has unveiled its first liquid toner Trillium press, developed with partner Miyakoshi and aimed at the commercial and DM print sectors, at its pre-Drupa press conference.
The Belgium-based manufacturer, now a division of Flint Group since its acquisition in November 2015, said the machine, called Trillium One, would be cheaper than inkjet on high coverage print.
The 60m/min (800ppm) twin-CMYK duplex machine uses Xeikon’s existing LED imaging to create print at up to 1,200dpi resolution. It is expected to enter the market in Q2 of 2017 at a cost of around €2.5m (£2m).
Filip Weymans, director segment marketing L&P said: “The result is an engine that prints very high quality and high speed in a cost-effective way"
Currently the 11x5m-footprint web press can take 500mm-wide reels of 90-150gsm paper. Xeikon said no special coatings were required for the fusing process.
“In the future we are going to go higher and heavier," Wim Maes, Xeikon chief executive and president of Flint Group Digital Printing Solutions, told PrintWeek. The company also expects to go faster than the current 60m/min speed in the future.
"Our first step is DM, second is catalogues and then new markets. It has the speed, it has the low cost of print. It's not for transactional, data or book printing, but on high coverage its going to be very good. That's a combination that's not out there yet,” Maes said.
He said the machine was aimed at the market currently buying HP Indigo 10000s but said a price tag nearly triple that of the Indigo was worth it as Trillium One is three times as fast.
“We need to look at productivity and total coat of ownership. You're better off with two Trilliums than six HP 10000s," he said.
The press uses Xeikon-manufactured liquid toner Tonnik, which is also the name of Xeikon’s new consumables division. The company said the machine produces high quality and high coverage because of its microgapping technology which means there is a small gap between toner particles on the paper.
Maes said that Miyakoshi would provide print transport and is not licensing technology from Xeikon, despite having its own liquid toner press, the MD5000.
"The heart of the printing process is ours, not Miyakoshi. We don't expect them to come out with a web machine," he told PrintWeek.
Xeikon decided to aim at the commercial and DM market because "this is a new technology and technically it's easier to print on paper. Secondly we see a very big need in this market,” according to Maes.
“In this market customers have the money and the volume to pay for a machine like that.”
Xeikon will show its Trillium One at the biggest of its three Drupa booths, in Hall 8a. The new machine will have its own special zone where staff will run five or six demos a day, with “virtual reality” demonstrations also planned.
Trillium has been several years in the making. Four years ago this month, Xeikon previewed the machine under the name of Quantum and showed a concept single-colour unit at Drupa. So far no Trillium Ones have left Xeikon’s Lier plant. A beta testing deal with a French printer TagG Informatique, announced at Ipex in 2014, did not happen as the manufacturer “missed our window of opportunity” with the firm, Maes said. Instead the printer is running beta jobs on the machine in Xeikon’s plant.
Maes said the acquisition by Flint Group had not changed Xeikon's focus or culture but had given it access to its inks and flexo plate customers and more funding from the Goldman Sachs and Koch Equity Development-owned company.
"This activity is very important to us because it gives us access to the narrow web market. Flimt Group is also a leading company in flexo plates. Xeikon will go further in this market because of Flint Group. We're really happy that we have found a home."
Drupa is held in Dusseldorf, Germany, from 31 May - 10 June.