Print beyond full color with new Xeikon Metallics

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Xeikon is introducing gold and silver metallic toners for the Cheetah 2.0 Series to unlock value-add potential for brands and a competitive edge for printers and converters. This new digital foiling evolution is based on Xeikon’s innovation strategy and its firm focus on developing high-quality, application-tuned solutions that are also more sustainable and cost-effective.

The new gold and silver are part of Xeikon’s Creative Toner series, which has been designed to enhance packaging with special colors. Launched a few years ago, the first Creative Colors were Palladium Silver and Matt Silver. Today, Xeikon is expanding this toner family with new Metallic Gold and Metallic Silver as digital alternatives to flexo-printed gold or silver that measure 6–8 on the Flop Index (a measure of the reflectance of a metallic color).

Gold and silver foiling is used in many market sectors for embellishing labels to give them a luxury look and eye-catching shelf appeal. Wine & spirits as well as health & beauty labels most typically require this specific embellishment step. Traditionally, the metallic look can be achieved by various methods: either by printing on metallic substrates, by printing with expensive metallic inks, or through a hot/cold foil stamping process. However, all of these techniques incur high setup costs due to the expensive materials and tooling. Foil stamping in particular is also time-consuming and will generate a high amount of waste in the process. By adding metallic colors digitally, these extra setup costs and costly waste are completely removed from the equation. In addition, new value-added label design options, such as personalization and versioning, become possible, giving brands and designers more freedom.

The new metallic colors slot into the fifth color station on the Xeikon Cheetah press, meaning the addition of metallics can take place during the main printing step. This also eliminates any secondary processes, as dry toner technology allows for hassle-free color swapping by simply replacing the toner dosing unit and the developer unit. Furthermore, there is no extensive cleaning process required; a quick brush with a vacuum cleaner between jobs is sufficient to be up and running again quickly.

As digital printing technology continues to evolve and the uptake by the label industry accelerates, ever more processes of label manufacturing become digital. More digitization at the finishing and converting stages are changing the entire print manufacturing process. Xeikon currently offers offline digital 2D, 3D, haptic varnishing and foiling on the Xeikon Fusion Embellishment Unit (FEU) and inline embellishment with full-color digital print as haptic white on the Xeikon Panther UV-IJ Series. Now, with the opportunity to use metallic toners directly on Xeikon Cheetah 2.0 presses, it becomes much easier to produce less complex labels, while dramatically reducing the turnaround time and simplifying the production process.

Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s Vice President, Marketing, explains, “The development of application-tuned toners empowers printers to create their own digital solution, so they can establish a differentiation from other print providers and achieve a competitive edge. With Xeikon Metallic Gold and Silver, we continue our commitment to innovation with leading-edge technology that provides new opportunities for the label printing industry.”

The new metallic toners will be commercially available from May 2022 for all Xeikon Cheetah 2.0 users. Visitors to Xeikon Café Europe 2022, on April 26–28, can experience live demonstrations of this new technology in the Global Innovation Center, where label printers and converters will learn how the latest Xeikon solutions can bring more value to their business. Visitors may also reserve individual sessions with Xeikon experts in advance to get in-depth insight and discuss their specific needs and opportunities.