Star product: Xeikon SX20000

Simon Eccles
Monday, June 28, 2021

This 520mm-wide, dry-toner press can produce high-quality SRA3-plus sheets on a wide range of substrate types and weights, making it a flexible option for a variety of target markets.

What is it?

This continuous-feed duplex digital press from Xeikon is the second model in its latest fifth generation of dry-toner technology, that it calls Sirius. The web width of 520mm is still unique in the dry toner world, though matched by HP Indigo liquid toner and many inkjet presses. Its top speed is 20m/minute compared with 30m/minute for the pricier SX30000 but you can field upgrade to the higher spec at a later date if required. 

When was it introduced and what is the target market?

The SX20000 was announced in early March. Following Xeikon’s usual practice this is the entry-level model in a pair of closely related presses; the top model is the faster SX30000 introduced a year ago, when it was intended to be the company’s big announcement at the cancelled Drupa 2020. 

Target markets are printers of high-quality books and direct mail, POS materials, security print and general commercial print applications. The Xeikon process can handle silk or gloss coated, uncoated offset papers in thin and heavy grammages. 

According to Xeikon’s graphic arts market sector director Dimitri Van Gaever, “The SX20000 is positioned below its big brother in terms of capacity and investment level while offering major improvements compared to our previous generation duplex presses, the Xeikon 9000 and 8000 series.” He says it’s intended for printers that want to keep initial investment down, perhaps while they assess their volume requirements.

How does it work?

The SX20000’s overall configuration is much the same as all previous duplex models dating back to the original DCP-1 of 1993, though with significant refinements and improvements to the toner engine as well as the mechanical and electronic engineering of the media transport. 

It is a single-pass duplex roll-to-roll printer with Xeikon’s own water cooled LED printing units on each side of the web. As with all Xeikons there is no cut-off so print length is effectively unlimited. 

It is four back four as standard to keep costs down – Van Gaever says the outgoing 8000/9000 series were five back five, but many customers only ever printed in four colours. However it can be specified as five back five or upgraded later. A range of fifth unit toners are available, including white, red, green, orange, Reflex Blue and security options. Onboard spectrophotometers are used for closed-loop quality monitoring. 

The new Sirius technology introduces new developer units (DVL) said to improve colour consistency and density at high coverages. The new QA-SR toner doesn’t contain oil or VOCs, and has “special charging characteristics for high-speed printing and enhanced fusing properties”. The resulting prints are de-inkable for full recycling. 

Xeikons used to be notorious for drying out the paper, requiring rehumidification in the delivery. Today’s sophisticated EkoFuse fusing system uses foil in the heating system for a fast start-up and to save energy and minimise drying. The cross-flow cooling drum gives uniform cooling of the paper. Finally the Web Finishing Module improves scratch and scuff resistance of the print and eliminates static charges. 

The standard web configuration is roll-to-roll using Xeikon’s jumbo unwinder and rewinder, but roll-to-sheet is optional using a Hunkeler CS8 cutter and Xeikon’s PHS (Pile High Stacker). 

Van Gaever says that an SX20000 can be upgraded to the faster SX30000 spec in the field. “It’s more than just a software change, there are some hardware changes, though they are minor,” he says. 

What’s the throughput?

The SX20000 is rated at 20m/min on substrates ranging from 40 to 150 gsm, before tailing off to about 12m/min on 250gsm, which is then maintained until the maximum 350gsm that the press is rated for. The previous entry-level model, the 8500 press, ran at a maximum of 12m/min up to 250gsm and then declined to about 6m/min for 350gsm. Van Gaever says: “Because of the bigger PMC (print medium conditioning), new toner and new fuser, the SX20000 can keep higher speeds on the higher grammages.” 

The 20m/min figure is equivalent to 270 duplex A4 pages per minute, which is faster than any sheetfed SRA3 dry toner or B2 inkjet.Xeikon’s previous top spec 9800 had a maximum of 21.5m/min compared with 30m/min for the current SX30000.

What’s the USP?

Xeikon is still the only manufacturer of 520mm-wide dry-toner presses, which allows for the production of B3-plus landscape or B2-plus portrait formats (or any other cut-off lengths). This means larger sheets than SRA3 dry-toner sheetfed presses, at substantially lower prices than B2-format sheetfed inkjets or HP Indigo models. 

What does it cost?

The SX20000 costs approximately £500,000 says Van Gaever. The faster SX30000 is only vaguely defined as “under $1m,” so probably about £700,000. Xeikon offers “a la carte” flexible operating charges, ranging from click rates (based on nominal ‘A3 revolutions’) through to consumables-only plus service deals. 


SPECIFICATIONS

Process Continuous-feed single-pass duplex dry toner LED

Print units Four back four as standard but five back five a model is available

Colours CMYK plus optional fifth colour (red, green, blue, orange, ‘SuperBlack’, custom)

Resolution 1,200x3,600dpi

Speed 20m/minute up to 150 gsm, equivalent to 270 duplex ppm (16,140 A4 pages/hour), 202 ppm from 150-350gsm (12,120 pages/hour)

Duty cycle Up to 10m A4 pages/month

Media width 250-520mm

Max print width 508mm

Media weight 40-350gsm

Media thickness 40-550microns

Front end Xeikon X-800

Price From about £500,000

Contact Xeikon www.xeikon.com +32 3443 1311

ALTERNATIVES

There are no other continuous-feed full-colour dry-toner presses on the market since the withdrawal of Canon and Xerox several years ago. Here we’ve listed a representative set of alternative process models.

Canon VarioPrint i200/ix300

Together with the similar format and price Xerox Baltoro HF, Canon’s B3 VarioPrint forms the entry level to production inkjet presses. The iQuarius MX inkset is compatible with offset papers. There are two versions the basic i200 and the faster ix300, which straddle the speed of the Xerox SX20000, though buyers should examine uptime predictions too. 

Process sheetfed piezo inkjet

Resolution 600x600dpi

Max speed 200/304ipm duplex A4

Inkset iQuarius MX

Colours CMYK

Max sheet size 350x500mm

Paper weight 60–300gsm

Duty cycle 7m-10m pages per month

Price £550,000-£800,000, depending on configuration

Contact Canon UK www.canon.co.uk 0844 892 0810

Fujifilm Jet Press 750S

Fujifilm’s third generation of its B2 simplex sheetfed inkjet recently gained a new High Speed Model, with the option to run at 5,400sph by reducing the normally very high quality a little. Full quality is still available at up to 3,600sph. 

Process single-pass inkjet

Max running speed 5,400sph simplex (High Speed Model)

Resolution 1,200x1,200dpi

Print units CMYK plus primer

Inks Fujifilm Vividia aqueous plus primer

Max sheet size 750x585mm

Media thickness 0.09-0.34mm (with carton configuration, 0.2-0.6mm)

Front end Fujifilm XMF workflowV6

Price about £1.1m

Contact Fujifilm UK www.fujifilm.eu 0345 0060065

Ricoh Pro Z7S

Ricoh’s first sheetfed B2-plus inkjet isn’t shipping yet and the price hasn’t been announced, but might be similar to its nearest equivalent, the Fujifilm Jet Press 750S, so somewhat over £1m. It boasts high resolution, claimed high print quality on litho stocks (as well as uncoated or inkjet treated), with built in duplex and a speed that’s respectable for its class.

Process sheetfed piezo inkjet

Speed 4,500sph (simplex), 2,250sph (duplex)

Max duty cycles 1.2m B2-plus sheets per month

Resolution 1,200x1,200dpi

Max sheet size 585x750mm

Media weights 60–400 gsm

Price TBA

Contact Ricoh www.ricoh.co.uk 01784 416900

Xerox iGen5

Introduced in 2016 the current iGen5 is available in versions running from 90ppm up to 150ppm, with upgrade options. Although limited to 364mm wide its long sheet capability lets it handle work such as wraparound A4 landscape covers. Its optional fifth unit offers a wide range of colours and effects available.

Speed 150ppm A4 single-sided

Resolution 2,400dpi

Max sheet size 364x660mm

Media weight 60 to 350 gsm

Colour stations Five

DFE EFI Fiery 

Price From £520,000 

Contact Xerox UK www.xerox.com 0330 123 3245

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