Xeikon (Lier, Belgium) has developed a specific solution for printers looking to enhance and increase their range of labels. It’s the unique combination of the Xeikon X-800 workflow and the PantherCure UV ink that can generate a tactile layer, responsible for a “haptic effect” in print, said the OEM. Haptic technology simulates touch in a digital environment. Today’s most successful commercial printers are already improving their current services by using this technology to offer a more tactile, engaging and creative experience to their end-users. “Printers can easily create ‘designer’ labels with enhanced tactility, textures and a luxury feel,” said the company. Xeikon’s new haptic printing process boosts and expands the range of possible applications for high-end label markets, while saving significant time by avoiding any modifications to the pre-press files. Tactile effects on labels are in demand today – especially by the beer, beverage, food and health & beauty markets.
“The technology generating the tactile and textured layer is embedded in the Panther’s X-800 workflow,” said Jeroen Van Bauwel, Director of Product Management at Xeikon. “It’s the brand owners and designers who define the structure, shape and form of the design. When the file is received, the workflow automatically recognizes the elements of the design and generates the information required to drive the printhead – that’s what creates the haptic effect in print on the end product.”
Increased productivity and cost savings
To further optimize the workflow on the Panther, Xeikon has developed a specific solution embedded in its X-800 Workflow – an automated optimization of the white-ink layer. The production of labels on clear facestocks (e.g. premium beer or health & beauty labels) comes with unique challenges. An opaque white is required to make the design stand out. However, this may result in varying ink-layer thicknesses across the web. The uneven thickness of the ink layer will generate a telescoping effect on the printed rolls. In the past, press operators have overcome this by printing smaller rolls, resulting in more frequent roll changes and extra waste in material and time. Some printers found a solution by spending extra time in pre-press to reduce the amount of white.
This time-consuming pre-press work can now be handled in a fully automated way by the X-800 Digital Front (DFE) End without intervention at any stage in the production process. The X-800 automatically reduces the white layer. The extent of reduction will depend upon the colours that come on top of it. The result is an increase in uptime during the manufacturing process – both in printing and converting – as printers can now run larger rolls. In addition, printers can lower costs by reducing the amount of white ink used, while also reducing waste.
“Xeikon continues to work towards excellence to enhance every facet of its portfolio. We continue to look for opportunities to make savings on costs and time,” Van Bauwel added. “By improving each small step of the process, we can make a big difference to the overall production process and reduce manufacturing costs. Achieving haptic effects in print through the unique capabilities of our X-800 workflow and ink optimization, not only boosts and increases the range of possible applications, but allows printers to streamline their operations as well.”