With the plans for the next Xeikon Café well underway, we took the time to speak to Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s Vice President Marketing, to find out how packaging producers will benefit from attending.
Well Filip, what can you tell us about the plans for the Xeikon Café 2017?
2017 will mark the third edition of the Xeikon Café Packaging Innovations, and it will be much bigger than the previous events with not only more partners but also many more applications. The intention is to give information about the industry that is easy for attendees to take in and understand, and to have a practical dialogue so visitors can get the most out of the event. A range of live demonstrations will be run; for example for pharma where labels, lightweight leaflets and cartons will be produced with features including track and trace, or anti-counterfeit capability. There will also be a Business and Technical Conference program running, and a series of open panel discussions toward the close of each day where key trends will be covered – like a “Talk Show”. Hence the Café theme, we encourage open dialogue following the model of the discussions held in cafés across Belgium for many years.
For those who have been to a previous Xeikon Café, what are the new things they will learn in 2017?
A big difference will be the scale of the 2017 Xeikon Café. We are planning for many more attendees, and we are extending the number of applications on show to over twenty different ones in labels and packaging including cartons, pouches and even corrugated – fully from concept to production. Some are quite innovative and will demonstrate how digital production can be beneficial also in new emerging market segments. Working together, all partners of the Xeikon Café will show off what can be done by fully integrating solutions. I’m sure that will open the imagination of the attendees and challenge their perceptions.
Another not-to-be-missed part of the 2017 Xeikon Café, will be the Conference program which we are bringing to a next level in terms of business and technical education. We are lining up a number of highly experienced speakers who will be touching on the different challenges in the market. We will also have brand owners and customers sharing their personal experiences with digital production, next to partners who will be highlighting technical aspects.
We strongly believe it is important to determine whether or not a digital solution is valuable to one’s business at this time – we don’t want unsuccessful customers – or if it might be in the future. Xeikon is a pragmatic company, supplying useful equipment that works well. We want this event to demystify the hype around digital production of packaging, and help converters determine where the real value lies.
Sounds interesting! Can you tell us some more about the new applications?
Our customers are always pushing the boundaries of digital printing capabilities, as suppliers continue to provide new workflow, substrates and finishing solutions that open up new opportunities. During our many successful years in the label and also folding carton packaging industry, we notice these sectors are broadening, into lightweight unsupported films, stand-up pouches, corrugated liner and a fast growing segment today for paper cups. We have a lot of interest here, and many requests from potential users. Some are very big opportunities, and we see some interest in replacing litho lam in corrugated – Xeiko-Lam!
One important aspect which will be covered at the event is the need for packaging to be food safe. Food safety is one of the core strengths of Xeikon’s dry toner technology: the toner is approved as food safe in Europe and North America, amongst other regions.
So where does Xeikon stop and partners start?
We work closely with our partners, even those we may compete with in some cases. We want to give customers the best, practical solution that works reliably for their businesses. Xeikon does not want to sell print media, but we want to make sure the media used on our presses is suited to our technology and delivers the highest quality products, all the time. So we certify media. When looking at workflow tools, we will work with the customer’s preference whether it’s one of our tools or one of the many other solutions on the market. Also for pre- and post-print, there is a lot of established equipment out there so we work with the best suppliers who know the market and know the capabilities. Of course, should Xeikon find there is market demand that is not well satisfied, we could develop our own solution.
Thank you for the insight. What is the most important thing you want attendees to take back when they leave the Xeikon Café?
Spend the time well, and decide on the correct strategy for their business. Even if it is that digital is not the answer for their business, the decision should be the right one! There will be lots of learning opportunities, both from the applications running live at the event as well as from speakers at the Conference. Xeikon is one in a range of equal partners showing what we can do, and listening to what our customers – and their customers – are telling us they would like to do. It will be a DISCOVERY event, for everyone.
XEIKON CAFÉ 2017 EVENT DETAILS
Date: Tuesday March 28th to Friday March 31st
Opening hours: daily from 09:00h – 18:00h, (except on Friday 16:00h)
Location: Xeikon HQ, Belgium (Duwijckstraat 17, 2500 Lier)
Website & registration: www.xeikoncafe.com
Cost: the event is free for all attendees