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Digital press pioneer will use Labelexpo next month to release new Eco toners, which the company says aligns itself along two main axes: sustainability and food safety.

Eco toners: Xeikon
Eco toners: Xeikon

Xeikon will present the third generation of its Cheetah printing technology Labelexpo. It says that while Xeikon dry toner technology “is already the most food-safe solution on the market”, new legislation and brand owner expectations are further advancing demands for more sustainable solutions.

In response, Xeikon has developed new toners without, it says, abandoning “the strong values of its existing technology”, introducing a higher level of sustainability, as a direct response to what is undoubtedly the biggest concern for brand owners and end consumers in today’s market.

The development of the new Eco toners is also a key component of Xeikon’s sustainability goals, which aim to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by 40 per cent in the coming years.

With Eco toners having up to 60 per cent sustainable components, chemically derived from high-grade transparent recycled PET bottles and other reclaimed carbon materials, Xeikon says converters will see a number of immediate benefits from transitioning to Eco toners, including a 10 per cent reduction in Xeikon print technology.

In addition, Eco toners are de-inkable from both paper (Ingede reference) and foil (Cael reference), and no volatile organic compounds are emitted into the environment during the production of toner, nor during the actual printing process.

Xeikon says that by carefully selecting the raw materials and re-engineering the chemical content, Eco toners are completely free from fluorine (both inorganic and PFAS) and 100 per cent vegan, in addition to the established advantages of the previous generation of toners, which are free from BPA, mineral oil, and photo initiators.

This means that Eco toners are suitable for application with indirect food contact with only a paper barrier, and for FDA direct food contact with dry food. Additionally, Eco toners comply with the European Toy Safety Directive, the Nestlé Guidance Note on Packaging Inks, and the Swiss and German Printing Ink Ordinances.

Xeikon says all these characteristics are “crucial” for complying with existing and future regulations and for protecting the environment. It also says they address consumers’ growing concerns about well-being, health, and animal welfare, making them a futureproof solution for today’s investment in environmentally conscious packaging production.

“Xeikon toners, which already enable exceptional print quality and high reliability, have now been extended with a broader food-safety application range. With their eco-friendly composition, Eco toners make a meaningful contribution to Xeikon’s unwavering commitment to deliver relevant solutions to the label market addressing today’s and tomorrow’s challenges,” commented Filip Weymans, Xeikon vice president, Marketing.

He said, “When making an investment in printing equipment, converters seek assurance that their investment is not only suited to their current needs but also fit to address upcoming demands, an aspect that Xeikon will further enable by also making Eco toner available for existing customers operating Xeikon CX300 and CX500 presses in the coming year.”

He added, “We are also proud to say that Xeikon Eco toners will not compel converters to increase their prices, unlike comparable sustainable solutions. In fact, converters will have the opportunity to upgrade their production to a much higher level of sustainability without increasing their total cost of print. This effectively translates to a cost reduction in real terms and supports them in facing the current severe price pressures.”

To provide further evidence of its green credentials, Xeikon has also launched a Sustainability Scorecard for every digital press in the portfolio. The new scorecard provides a fact-based tool for printers to demonstrate the direct environmental impact of their Xeikon machine, expressed as grams of CO2 per square metre, rated in three categories (energy, waste, and ink/toner mass) on a scale from A to G. It goes into a high level of detail to also include substance indicators, legislative compliance, and all outputs for a full sustainability review. The scorecard is not designed uniquely for Xeikon equipment but can be used by other vendors as well.

More info on the Sustainability Scorecard can be found at https://xeikon.com/en/lps/sustainability-scorecard.

While Eco toner is the cornerstone of Cheetah 3.0, a range of next-generation innovations continue the momentum of Xeikon’s Cheetah series digital presses to mark, the company says, another "significant step" towards fully sustainable production of labels and packaging. In addition to new Eco toners and the sustainability scorecard, they include metallic toners, enabling and supporting creativity for label converters and designers to tap into higher valued applications such as wine and spirits, cosmetics, or gourmet food, and a digital frontend with a more intuitive user interface, making it easier for operators to run the press, freeing up time for other tasks.

Version 3.0 set for Labelexpo release: Xeikon Cheetah
Version 3.0 set for Labelexpo release: Xeikon Cheetah

There is also an optional Quality Monitoring Module that reduces waste related to press performance monitoring and correction significantly. This is achieved with an advanced automatic registration system and a new inline spectrometer that monitors and adjusts density, tone curve, and creates, monitors and adjusts the colour profile when used in combination with Xeikon colour services, making performance more reliable and resulting in a reduced TCOP. It allows the use of lower grade substrates, which before could have led to inconsistent performance caused by incorrect data capturing, and cloud-connected, advanced machine-machine interface and man-machine interface allowing for the highest level of automation when requested by the converter.

Xeikon says Cheetah 3.0 will increase Overall Equipment Effectiveness in all three key aspects: availability, performance, and quality.

Xeikon Cheetah 3.0 will be launched at Labelexpo, where visitors will be able to see the new Eco toners in action printing live. Full commercial availability is scheduled for early 2024, when current Xeikon CX300 and Xeikon CX500 users will be able to upgrade their presses.

“Cheetah 3.0 addresses every detail of the Xeikon digital toner presses, from performance, availability, and quality to sustainability and reliability, so we can offer maximum value to our customers and help them protect their investment,” commented Frank Jacobs, Market Intel & Senior Product manager. “These new developments have been made with a clear focus on the needs of Xeikon users who are active in labels and packaging, which are incredibly demanding markets with a multitude of factors affecting profitability.”

In addition to the presentations on booth C29 in Hall 5, Xeikon can also be found at the Automation Arena in Hall 11 and as part of the new Sustainability Trail and the Flex Pack Trail, highlighting the multitude of benefits delivered by the company’s new innovations.

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