With over 15 years of experience in digital label printing, Femalabel has always been on the lookout for efficient production solutions, without compromising quality or flexibility. The company started working with Xeikon in 2012, when a Xeikon 3300 and Xeikon 3030Plus were installed to bring production output to a higher level. Since then, the demand for even more capacity only increased so recently Femalabel decided to upgrade to two Xeikon CX3 presses – aka Cheetah. Besides high quality output, the speed of the presses was a key decisive factor for the investment. Wim Feys, CTO at Femalabel, comments: “We face an increasing demand for speciality products and variable print. That is why we had to dramatically increase our capacity. In addition, many of our customers want their labels to be printed on PE. With the Xeikon CX3 we have found the perfect solution to answer this demand, with the same high quality on all the required substrates.”
One of Femalabel’s specialties is the production of multi-layer labels or Peel & Reveal Labels, small booklets that can contain a lot of information. For some industries it’s important to provide this information next to their branding. “The production of multi-layer labels requires a higher volume than regular labels,” Feys says. “This means we need more output and makes production at a constant speed even more important.”
Breakthrough in the label market
Femalabel was one of the first label printers to switch to digital production. “My father Marc was no longer satisfied with the traditional flexographic printing technology as it didn’t gave us the flexibility we needed. Digital printing presses were the solution. The combination of digital print and digital die-cutting gives us a unique proposition in the market. For us, it meant our final breakthrough in the label market.”
For Femalabel it is vital that their machines meet the high quality standards the company is known for. This was one of the reason to choose Xeikon as one of the benefits of Xeikon presses is stability of the output quality. Feys comments: “Although it may seem obvious, we experienced color consistency is not always apparent with digital presses from other brands, especially with longer runs where color compensation is required through software. With our Xeikon presses, there is no need for that. They print color consistently, even in the longer run without any need for compensation.” Another reason for choosing Xeikon is to the ability to print opaque white in one pass. “Many of our customers ask for transparent labels with opaque white. The opacity of Xeikon’s white toner is second to none. And because there is no need to print an extra layer, production stays up to speed,” says Feys.
Stability is not just a matter of production quality, the performance of the presses must also be consistent. Feys explains: “Because our customers demand a short time delivery, we constantly need a high output, every time again. Our Xeikon presses rarely fail. And even if it happens, the problems are solved quickly. We are in direct contact with the engineers of Xeikon and their service is excellent.”
Femalabel notices an increase in the demand for printing variable information on their labels, so aside from printing speed, also data processing capabilities are important. “The developers at Xeikon know that data processing could be a potential bottleneck in the production so they spent a great deal of attending to that in the development in of the Xeikon X-800 digital front-end and workflow. The X-800 contributes greatly to consistent production speed and capacity increase. We print a lot of barcodes, QR-codes and number combinations on labels. The data processing is done 20% faster with the X-800 from Xeikon as compared to competitive systems,” states Feys.
Next to digital printing, Femalabel uses UV-offset technology. “For the bigger volumes, we need the UV offset technology, and we choose the technology that provides high quality comparable to what we can achieve on our Xeikon presses. With most printers it’s the other way around:; they are simply surprised by the quality of their digital label press because it is higher than that of their flexo equipment.”
Xeikon, a division of Flint Group, is a long-standing leader and innovator in digital printing technology. Grounded in the principles of quality, flexibility and sustainability, Xeikon designs, develops and delivers web-fed digital colour presses for label and packaging applications, document printing, and commercial printing. These presses utilise different imaging technologies, open workflow software and application-specific consumables.
As an OEM supplier, Xeikon also designs and produces plate makers for newspaper printing applications. In addition, Xeikon manufactures basysPrint computer-to-conventional plate (CtCP) solutions for the commercial offset printing market. For the flexographic market, Xeikon offers digital platemaking systems under the ThermoFlexX brand name. ThermoFlexX systems provide high-resolution plate exposure combined with unique plate handling, flexibility and unmatched productivity.
In 2015, Xeikon joined Flint Group to create a new “Digital Printing Solutions” division for the leading global print consumables and solution provider to the packaging and print media industries. Flint Group develops and manufactures an extensive portfolio of printing consumables. These include a vast range of conventional and energy-curable inks and coatings, pressroom chemicals, printing plates and equipment, printing blankets and sleeves, and pigments and additives for use in inks and other colorant applications. Headquartered in Luxembourg, Flint Group employs some 7900 people. On a worldwide basis, the company is the number one or number two supplier in every major market segment it serves.