At the latest edition of Labelexpo Europe, a trade fair dedicated to label and packaging printing held from 11 to 14 September in Brussels, Xeikon unveiled its new PantherCure UV LED ink family, accompanied by improved screening technology, new waveforms and upgraded software, offering a number of advantages in terms of printing costs, sustainability and quality.
These advancements help printers tackle acute price pressures and continued demands for more eco-friendly solutions in label and packaging production, while also improving image quality.
With PantherCure UV LED inks, Xeikon is elevating its Panther series of UV inkjet presses to offer an extremely competitive solution with the highest environmental credentials, without increasing the investment cost of the printing press. Offering lower energy and ink consumption, longer lamp life, and an expanded color gamut with an improved OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness), the new UV LED inks will be instrumental in allowing Xeikon to set a new standard in inkjet printing technology.
Johan Van de Velde, Xeikon Product Manager Inkjet stated:
After spending almost three years developing these innovative inks and completing successful beta testing at a customer site, we are now unveiling the full extent of what is truly the most sustainable UV inkjet solution on the market. Following our announcement of the new ink family last year, we have listened to the feedback and also worked hard to quantify the benefits. We are now able to share the results, which are frankly very impressive.
The sustainability gains seen on a Panther press fitted with LED include an increase in lamp life by 10 times. LED lamps can last up to five years (or around 20,000 hours) compared to mercury (Hg) bulbs, which need changing on average every 2,000 hours, meaning less hazardous waste is created. Furthermore, LEDs require no warm-up or cool-down, eliminating waiting and standby time, coupled with 21% less energy needed during the active printing phase. In total, energy use will go down by on average 59 kWh per day, which translates to less environmental impact, reduced CO2 emissions, and much lower costs (equal to a saving of €6,900 annually assuming a cost of €0.32 pr kWh).
In terms of image quality, Xeikon has developed the new Dionysus screening for sharper more impactful images, which together with the new waveforms and software helps to lower ink consumption by as much as 30% depending on the job parameters. Importantly, printers will also be able to leverage an expanded color gamut to reach up to 88.7% of the Pantone book with just CMYK (within a Delta E of 2, rising to 94% with Delta E ≤ 3).
Netherlands-based Blana BV, a member of Asteria Group, is the first customer to implement the new UV LED inks from Xeikon into production. The company has served as a beta test site since October 2022 when its existing Xeikon PX3000 inkjet press underwent a field upgrade. Blana is now reporting exceptionally high savings in energy, proving in real terms the vast sustainability benefits of PantherCure LED inks. Blana has been able to print without problems and experienced only minimal downtime during the test period.
Filip Weymans, Vice President Marketing at Xeikon commented:
Our commitment to bringing to market solutions that push the boundaries continues and we are grateful to Blana for working closely with us to refine the breakthrough PantherCure LED technology. It would be fair to say that Xeikon was a bit late to the inkjet party, but we have accelerated our technology significantly over the past couple of years. Now with UV LED inks and curing in our Panther presses, we are taking the lead in the market and establishing ourselves as pioneers in inkjet innovation.