Xeikon has expanded its coverage in Australia and New Zealand to better serve its growing customer base here, and has quite an aggressive show schedule in the Asia Pacific region. Trevor Crowley, sales general manager Asia Pacific for Xeikon shares the details with us, as well as explaining its upcoming Xeikon Café event. He also talks about the state of the Xeikon business, following its acquisition by Flint Group.
ProPrint: Xeikon has added staffing for Australia and New Zealand. Can you provide us with some details?
Trevor Crowley: Certainly. We have now created a dedicated sales, service and support operation in Australia and New Zealand. The new division became fully operational in February. It will handle the full range of Xeikon digital presses and solutions for labels, folding cartons and commercial and document printing. That also means we will cease our collaboration with dealer Absolute Electronics. They served us well in the past as we were growing our business in Australia and New Zealand. But our management has now determined that we have sufficient critical mass in the region to establish a direct sales and service organisation. In fact, we are the only manufacturer in the label and packaging space that has made the decision to go direct to market here.
PP: I understand Xeikon will also have a direct presence at PacPrint, being held at the Melbourne Convention Center from May 23-26.
TC: Yes, indeed. We are excited about that show. We will be located Stand A22 at the show. Printers will see some brand-new technology that we are bringing to Australia for the first time. This includes the Xeikon CX3 with Cheetah technology, the fastest and highest quality digital label press in its class. This press has had great success in other parts of the world, and now we are pleased to be bringing it to Australia. In addition to the CX3 digital label press and our label experts, we will also have folding carton experts available at the show, to discuss how Xeikon can help packaging converters add digital production to their folding carton operations, with the Xeikon Folding Carton Suite.
PP: Xeikon also will have a good presence at upcoming events in Europe, including Xeikon Café and Labelexpo Europe. Why should folks from Australia and New Zealand consider going to Xeikon Café?
TC: 2017 marks the third edition of our Xeikon Café educational conference held at our Lier facility near Antwerp, Belgium. Each year, the number of attendees at the event has grown. Now, during our 2017 event, scheduled for March 28-31, we have extended the event to four days instead of three by popular demand. In 2015 we had more than 800 attendees, and expect the 2017 event to attract even more. This engaging and interactive event is designed to be an informal knowledge exchange platform around packaging and label innovations. During the event, we demonstrate end-to-end digital production solutions, with content presented by leading industry suppliers, including experts from Xeikon and its Aura partners. It is an opportunity for visitors to meet directly with our executives and engineers, see all of the latest solutions for the labels, packaging and document printing markets, and have their questions answered in a comfortable, informal environment. Everyone is welcome.
PP: Tell us a little about how the conference is structured.
TC: We have structured the conference into two tracks: Technology and Business. This makes it easier for visitors to focus their learning experience. So we have conference tracks, live demonstrations, and great speakers. We are especially pleased to be able to feature a keynote by Rafi Albo. There will be a number of highly experienced speakers, including Rafi, who will share valuable information about trends and technological advancements in the digital printing market. Talking from their personal experience, they will give a glimpse of what the future may hold and inspire visitors with different business insights, and new and actionable ideas.
Rafi, often also called the global guru of connected 1to1 marketing, has been integrating printed products with online technologies for many years. Combining technologies such as augmented (AR), virtual (VR) and mixed reality (MR), with fresh ideas, new approaches and creativity, he creates the most innovative applications that bring a wow effect. At the Xeikon Café Conference he will show on stage some of the most creative work he has done for brands from all over the world.
Being a strong believer that print is and will always be sexy, he will share his ideas on how AR, VR and MR can boost demand for new print forms and thus the potential success of print businesses and brands.
PP: You mentioned that your Aura partners will also be there.
TC: We will be showing nearly 30 digital applications in labels and packaging, with close to 40 industry suppliers joining forces to show total solutions. For more detailed information, your readers can visit www.XeikonCafe.com. All partners participating in the Xeikon Café are leading suppliers of software, print media, consumables, digital printing and finishing solutions, and know the market and capabilities.
PP: Are there particular industries that will be represented?
TC: Yes, quite a few. These include Automotive; Beverage, Wine and Spirits; Food; Health & Beauty; Media; Pharma; and Promotional. Each represents new opportunities for digital printing of their labels and packaging, and you will see real-world applications that address each of these segments.
PP: And of course, Labelexpo Europe will be coming up later in the year.
TC: We have had a presence at Labelexpo Europe for quite some years now. Visitors to that show can expect to see the full range of Xeikon solutions for the labels and packaging market, as well as some surprises that we can’t speak about just yet.
PP: Last but not least, can you bring us up to date on the acquisition of Xeikon by Flint Group and how that is working for you?
TC: I am happy to say it is going well. Flint Group stated, at the time of the acquisition, that Xeikon would be running as an independent organisation, making its own decisions, yet supported by the financial stability and wide range of resources in The Flint Group. And this is exactly what has transpired.
A good example of the support is the decision to go direct in Australia and New Zealand. As you will remember, we had an indirect sales channel here through Absolute Electronics, and that served us well as we grew the business in the region. Now Flint Group is supporting our efforts to take sales and service direct.
And there are many synergies between the two companies, which was a factor that drove the acquisition as well. 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. Xeikon, of course, 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 color presses for label and packaging applications, document printing, and commercial printing. These presses utilise LED-array-based electrophotography, open workflow software and application-specific toners. So you see that there is not overlap in our offerings, but they all do work together in one way or another.
As Xeikon, we will not only be working with existing customers in Australia and New Zealand, bringing the full range of Xeikon technology to the market, but we will also step up our efforts to acquire new customers. We will work with them to leverage the existing markets as well as explore how new markets might be developing in the region. This includes folding carton, labels, heat transfer, document printing and wall décor, to name a few.
PP: Can you introduce us to a few
of the key personnel in the new organisation:
TC: Yes. We have Richard Collins who will be assisting us in getting the local service and support function up and running. Richard comes with 18 years of experience in the Xeikon business and will be a key ingredient in getting our service model set up. We recently added a local service engineer, Chris Farrell who joined us from Canon and has 15 years of experience in servicing both toner and inkjet digital platforms. We are looking to add another service technician to the local business and then will continue to expand that as we get more platforms in the field. In addition to technical service we established Customer Service in Sydney and this is being looked after by Susaniwati. She has over 20 years of experience in the digital print space in both areas of production and customer service and recently joined us from the Blue Star Group.