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Xeikon’s digital heat transfer technology opens up new business opportunities for label printers

Xeikon will unveil its new solution for industrial heat transfer applications at Labelexpo Europe 2011, taking place at the Brussels Expo, Brussels, Belgium from 28 September o 1 October. Delivering 1200 dpi image quality and just-in-time delivery, the new heat transfer solution offers the perfect alternative to direct printing and in-mould label technologies – traditionally used for decorating plastic containers of industrial goods. The solution works with the Xeikon 3000 Series of digital presses opening up new business opportunities for label printers.



Developed in conjunction with their partners, Xeikon’s new industrial heat transfer solution meets the growing demand from brand owners for higher quality decoration and wider versioning capabilities. Containers made from a range of plastics including polypropylene (PP) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) can now be decorated with high impact graphics and crisp sharp text to deliver maximum shelf impact. Recent advances in light fastness of the QA-I toner, used on all the Xeikon 3000 Series, ensures colors don’t fade and remain in perfect condition for their whole shelf life. And because it’s digital technology, there are no costly plates to be produced and set-up time is minimal – making it the perfect solution for short runs. Brand owners now have the flexibility to
revise the decoration in line with customer demand for specific product variants.



“Traditional decoration techniques used for industrial goods such as direct printing are now struggling to meet the image quality levels demanded by the market,” says Filip Weymans, Marketing & Business Development anager, Labels & Packaging at Xeikon. “In-mould label technology scores well on the quality front, but because he decoration has to be applied when the containers are moulded, it’s better suited to more high volume production with longer lead time,” explains Weymans. “Xeikon’s new digital heat transfer solution now enables
printers to offer their clients the best of both worlds – superior image quality for greater shelf impact and flexibility to decorate containers on a just-in-time basis. This opens up further business opportunities for label printers to start converting business away from the direct printing market into the label market.”



The two-step heat transfer process
The technique of heat transfer is a two-step process. First, the Xeikon digital press prints the exact number of heat-transfer labels. The roll of printed transfers is then fed into an applicator which applies the label onto the container using heat and/or pressure. Today, Xeikon supports four transfer processes: industrial transfers, promotional transfers, textile transfers and water lide transfers.



Industrial transfers are used primarily for the decoration of consumer goods packed in plastic containers such as seamless tubes, buckets, cartridges, etc. Up until  now, these have mainly been decorated using direct screen, direct offset, SA-labels or in-mould label (IML) techniques. Being older technologies, the direct printing techniques do not offer the print resolution needed to create high quality graphics. Set-up and change-over times  can also take several hours so they don’t offer the flexibility being demanded by the market today. SA-labels
provide a great flexibility but represent a higher cost in decoration based on the label material. IML does deliver very high image quality, but the decoration has to be applied when the container is created. Labels need to be produced beforehand and stored making the time to market relatively long.



Xeikon solution combines high image quality and flexibility Xeikon’s new digital heat transfer solution overcomes all of these shortcomings. Capable of delivering true 1200 dpi resolution, the Xeikon solution offers superb high-definition image quality and smooth vignettes for photorealistic high impact decoration. Xeikon’s dry toner technology, which lies at the heart of the solution, also ensures the characteristics of the toner remain stable guaranteeing color strength over time. Its one-pass opaque white capability ensures proper color reproduction on tinted containers (black, blue, …). Decoration can be applied at any stage in the supply chain prior to the filling process, allowing maximum flexibility.


Different methods for different containers
With industrial goods, there are two transfer methods depending on the type of container and the type of material
it is made of:

• Injection molded, containers made of PP:
o Step1 : Xeikon 3000 Series press prints on a siliconized paper carrier with no additional adhesive. The web is slit accordingly to the job and rewound on a reel.
o Step2 : The image is then transferred by a MOSS transfer applicator

• Blown and injection molded containers made of PP or HDPE:
o Step 1 : Xeikon 3000 Series press prints on a wax paper carrier after which an adhesive promoter is applied. The web is slit accordingly to the job and rewound on a reel.
o Step 2 : The image is then transferred by any type of transfer applicator on the market.


Experience it for yourself at Labelexpo Europe 2011
Visitors to the Xeikon stand at Labelexpo Europe 2011 will get the opportunity to see the new heat transfer technology in action. Using a MOSS applicator, pre-printed rolls of labels will be applied on to seamless tubes via a heat transfer process. In the Packaging Zone, a Xeikon 3050 press will be printing the heat transfer labels. For label printers seeking more information on the market opportunities offered by the new technology, Frank Jacobs, Product Manager Xeikon Engines, will give a presentation with a detailed business case at regular times in the Packaging Zone.



Labelexpo Europe 2011 takes place at the Brussels Expo, Brussels, Belgium from 28 September to 1 October.
Xeikon will be exhibiting in Hall 9, stand 45.

For more information about Xeikon products and services, visit