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XAAR introduces new inkjet printheads and
technologies to strengthen its position in India

Focus set deeper on textile and ceramic segments

XAAR has made a big update to its product line, strengthening its position in the Indian market, aiming at three verticals—wide-format (eco-solvent), textile and packaging (direct-to-shapes). At a meet organised at Gurgaon (Delhi-NCR), Dr Doug Edwards, CEO, XAAR; Bob Bobertz, director-Asia, XAAR; Namrata Sharma, commercial account manager, XAAR India, announced the line of game-changing new inkjet printheads and technologies.

Dr Doug Edwards outlined the importance of the Indian market to the company’s global goal to reach annual sales of £220 million by 2020. Pointing at the goal, he said XAAR’s focus over the last couple of years has been to broaden its horizon into a wider range of print applications, all of which are of significant interest to their customers and partners in India. “I am delighted to say that results from the first half of this year show that we are making good progress in India,” he mentioned.

Textile and ceramic are the two areas XAAR is eyeing with a deeper focus for expansion in the Indian market. The company boasts of 80 percent share in the ceramic printhead market in the country. Taking into this account, Dr Doug said, “Product revenues outside of ceramics are growing by 60 percent; global sales into the graphics sector grew by 33 percent, and we have also made good progress in our packaging and product printing markets (direct-to-objects), where global sales jumped by 54 percent.” He added that they expect the packaging and product printing areas of the business to be about a third larger than ceramics by the end of this year. In addition, XAAR has witnessed an increase in its Asian business, which now makes up 47 percent of the company’s overall sales.

New HL technology for ceramic

Dr Doug Edwards
Dr Doug announced that XAAR’s new High Laydown (HL) technology, which was initially launched in the ceramic market, is now available for packaging customers, enabling raised effects to be added to substrates, transforming standard labels and folding cartons into high value packaging for products that can command a premium value. In her presentation at the meet, Namrata Sharma demonstrated that HL technology could allow ceramic effects such as gloss and adhesives to be applied with unprecedented laydown levels.

“XAAR 1003C with HL technology can achieve a laydown of up to 90 g/sqm at 35 m/min line speed. For labels and packaging, HL technology with UV varnish enables raised or tactile effects to be printed in single pass and with a single print bar,” explained Namrata, adding that the printhead (with HL technology) can achieve a varnish film thickness of 80 microns at 25 m/min line speed. Now, with this, competitor offerings typically require multiple print bars or much lower line speed to achieve the same result.

Extended line of aqueous printheads

Dr Doug Edwards, Namrata Sharma,
Bob Bobertz and Abhishek Verma
In addition, the recently launched printheads from XAAR start to shift the company towards a broader reach. Of particular interest to the Indian market are the XAAR 1201 and XAAR 5501, both of which are capable of handling aqueous inks. This means that OEMs looking to produce textile or graphic printers using water-based inks now have access to robust and reliable technologies.

Already making a significant impact in Asia, the XAAR 1201 is a printhead with Thin Film Piezo Silicon Micro Electrical Mechanical System (MEMS) technology for wide-format graphics and textiles with dye sublimation, eco-solvent or aqueous inks. To complement the printhead, the company has recently announced its XAAR 5501, which previewed a few months ago in China. This compact and lightweight printhead is the first product resulting from XAAR’s collaboration with Xerox, and it delivers high print quality combined with low printing cost, whilst integration cost will also be kept to a minimum.

A local focus

For over the last 13 years, XAAR has been the only printhead manufacturer to have a direct and local presence in India, with its regional office in Gurgaon. In this, Dr Doug said, “We are very committed to supporting our customers and partners in India. Because we have a regional base in India, our customers and partners benefit from local technical expertise, a quick response and a printhead partner with a more in-depth understanding of the Indian market place.” He added that XAAR’s focus is always on helping its customers get to market quickly with a range of products their own customers want and need. Having a local presence is the only way for XAAR to serve its customers well across the country.

‘Indian market is now involved with quite
knowledgeable machine manufactures and end-users’ says Bob Bobertz

Bob Bobertz
In conversation with Sign & Graphics, Bob Bobertz, director-Asia, XAAR shared his perspectives of the Indian graphic art market, which he said vibrant and expanding.

Sign & Graphics (S&G): What is your impression of the current Indian graphic art market?

Bob Bobertz: My impression of the current Indian graphic art market is that it’s quite competitive and vibrant—particularly in the wide-format area, which is now expanding in textile printing. Textile and ceramic are two areas where we are deeply involved. The market is now involved with quite knowledgeable machine manufacturers and end-users. Interestingly, it’s like a close community as everybody knows each other.

S&G: What was the reason behind XAAR stopping production of PROTON printhead?

Bob Bobertz: More than one, there were several reasons behind it—one being the shutting down of one of our major manufacturing plants in Sweden to shift everything to the UK. It was, I mean stopping of the production of PROTON printhead, was really a tough decision for us to take. In fact, PROTON was quite a growing product for us. I know the way we went for ending the product was not elegant and we will not do the same again. So, we would apologise to some of our customers for that.

S&G: Solvent is still popularly used in India. In this respect, do you have any plan for new products for solvent OEMs in the country?

Bob Bobertz: Yes I know the Indian market is still using solvent technology to a larger extent. We do indeed have certain plan for the solvent market. In fact, XAAR 5501 printhead is specifically designed for the solvent market, suitably for the Indian market, for printers producing POS/POP and outdoor graphics.

S&G: XAAR has been in India for more than a decade. What is the development you specifically found in the country’s inkjet printing market over the period?

Bob Bobertz: Though we opened office in India just around a decade’s ago, I have been visiting the country regularly over the last 20 years. About the transformations taking place in the country’s inkjet market, I see various developments in all areas. When we consider the wide and grand-format printing companies in India, either in metropolitans or tier II and tier III cities, they switch very fast to new technologies. I don’t think anyone in small towns in the country is doing analogue printing these days.

S&G: What is your goodwill message to the Indian printer manufacturers?

Bob Bobertz: Thanks for sticking to us for years. We will always be loyal to every one of you. Please be open to us for anything.