ProductWatch: Xeikon TX500 digital press

Filip Weymans, vice-president of marketing at Xeikon, shares with WhatPackaging? how the TX500 digital press is an ideal choice for paper-based flexible packaging

02 Nov 2023 | By Aditya Ghosalkar

Xeikon TX500 digital printing press allows a clean, conservative technology and there is no need to handle ink and plates

Launched at Labelexpo 2023, Xeikon TX500 prints up to five colours at 30-m/min in a resolution of 1,200-dpi. The 520-mm wide press was introduced for the paper-based labels and flexible packaging segments. 

Applications that were previously only possible with conventional flexo presses can now be addressed more quickly and flexibly via digital printing. Xeikon introduced the TX500, a new member of its Cheetah series. 

TX500 is a digital printing press, suited for the short and medium run lengths of food services packaging/goods. The digital press uses a toner which is food-safe without the need for any varnish or lamination and offers mechanical/temperature/chemical/sunlight resistance.

Filip Weymans, vice-president of marketing at Xeikon (a division of the Flint Group) says, “As a digital print technology, Xeikon benefits in terms of convenience since it is a clean, conservative technology and there is no need to handle ink and plates.”

In combination with paper-based substrates, additional set-up time for coating, laminating and the required maintenance can be saved and waste can be prevented. Frank Jacobs, senior product manager at Flint Group Digital understands the demands made on inks for direct printing on paper-based materials for applications in the flexible packaging sector.

The digital press is suitable for the production of paper cups, paper-based flexible packaging and food service items such as wrappers, and placemats.

Weyamns says that there is no digital alternative at the moment. Furthermore, he added that UV inkjet is resistant but not food-safe; liquid toner is not resistant and not food-safe; and standard dry toner is food-safe but not resistant.

In August 2023, Sappi, a leading manufacturer of flexible packaging papers joined hands with digital press manufacturer Xeikon in a developmental partnership. Together, the partners took an important step towards direct printing on paper-based materials and perfecting the recyclability of the resulting flexible packaging.

The use of a primer or varnish, which is sometimes required, can harm the recyclability of the final packaging. And paper-based substrates in particular usually require a primer when printing with water-based inkjet or UV inkjet technology and liquid toner to ensure satisfactory results. Dry toner technology, on the other hand, usually requires an additional coating for mechanical stability in the further packaging process and often reaches its limits in terms of thermal stability.

Thanks to Titon technology, these additional processing steps are no longer necessary. Combined with Sappi’s recyclable barrier paper-based solutions, complete recycling of the entire packaging in the paper waste stream and subsequent recovery, for corrugated applications, are easily achieved.

The Sappi-Xeikon partnership has helped brand owners switch to paper-based alternatives for food packaging, such as flexible packaging for baked goods, confectionery, sugar, flour, herbs and spices and tea.

Technical specifications

  • Print media handling: Roll-to-roll configuration with variable repeat length
  • Print width: 508-mm
  • Print speed: 30-m/min, depending on substrate grammage
  • Media weight: 40- to 350-gsm
  • Print resolution: Five print stations, dry toner, 1,200 dpi
  • Consumables: CMYK colours, single pass opaque white
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