Lucien De Schamphelaere, the founder of Belgian digital press manufacturer Xeikon, has died aged 85.
De Schamphelaere passed away on 20 January.
Born in Gijzenzele, Belgium, in 1931, De Schamphelaere graduated as an engineer in electronics and started working in the same year for NV Gevaert, which merged with Agfa in 1964.
De Schamphelaere founded Agfa’s Electronical Imaging Systems department in 1979 and within three years his team had presented its first digital black-and-white printing press, the P400.
In 1988, he founded Xeikon, after being given the presidency of Agfa’s venture capital fund to seek out the most promising applications in digital imaging. Agfa took a minority participation in Xeikon and the rest of the equity was bought by six additional investors.
By 1993, Xeikon had introduced the DCP-1, a digital colour press that could print without an ink sheet and in 1996 it became the second Belgian company to be listed on the Nasdaq stock market.
De Schamphelaere retired as president of Xeikon in 1998 aged 67, as it sold its 1,000th digital colour press, but he still went on a year later to found Triakon, a printing centre used to further develop digital colour printing.
He won a number of awards throughout his career, including the Otto Bayer medal for his contribution to digital imaging, and he was involved with a number of charities.
Today, Antwerp-headquartered Xeikon has around 340 employees. In 2015, the majority shareholder of Xeikon, XBC and BV was acquired by Flint Group and a new venture, Flint Group Digital Printing Solutions, was formed, led by Xeikon chief executive Wim Maes.
Maes said: “We were so saddened to hear the news of Lucien’s death. He had an amazing passion for digital printing and an unstoppable drive that led him to achieve such an incredible amount in his lifetime.
“His dedication and pioneering approach remains a key cornerstone of Xeikon today.”