Xaar dumps thin film, CEO and CFO go
Leading inkjet head developer Xaar is mothballing its thin film piezo printhead development, and has seen its senior execs and 100 staff go, as the company racked up a £50m ($90m) loss.
Xaar's thin film piezo development was aimed at hastening the transfer of print from offset to inkjet, with a 1200dpi resolution at 120 meters a minute in droplet sizes down to 3pl (picolitres).
It was also aimed at what will become the huge digital textile printing market, with the silicon micro electro mechanical (Mems) heads for water-based (aqueous) inks used in dye sub printing.
However, the company failed to find a partner to take its thin film technology forward despite talking to two dozen interested parties, and says if it had carried on with what it believes is a winning technology it would have run out of cash.
Its thin film project was designed to compete with the huge Japanese corporations, such as Fujifilm with its Samba heads and Epson with its Precision Core technology, but they operate on a different financial scale; Epson, for instance, is currently investing almost $200m in its latest Precision Core factory.
Xaar has appointed John Mills, former head of neighbouring business and wide format press manufacturer Inca as its new CEO, to replace Duncan Edwards, who has already gone. The company is recalibrating, with its ambitious plans to be a £200m company by next year scaled back to £50m.
The UK-based Xaar is still a major developer of inkjet head technology, and is now a prime takeover target. As inkjet technology expands its reach into new areas such as textiles and packaging, Xaar has considerable expertise to offer. Its 2001 printhead, for example, is a popular head for manufacturers with UV inks and viscous fluids.