Xeikon Prepress, a division of Xeikon International, has a long lasting reputation of manufacturing high quality Computer to Plate equipment. For the flexographic market, Xeikon Prepress offers digital platemaking systems under the ThermoFlexX brand name. ThermoFlexX imagers provide high-resolution plate exposure combined with flexibility and productivity.
Xeikon is also an innovator in digital printing technology. The company designs, develops and delivers web-fed digital color presses for label and packaging applications, document printing, as well as commercial printing. These presses utilize LED-array-based dry toner electrophotography, open workflow software and application specific-toners. All the Xeikon solutions are designed with the overarching principles of profitability, quality, flexibility and sustainability in mind. With these guiding principles and a deep, intimate knowledge of its customers, Xeikon continues to be one of the industry’s leading innovators of products and solutions.
The roots of Xeikon Prepress go back to 1961 when Dirk Strobbe formed a Belgian company called Strobbe to make photomechanical typesetting machines. During the mid nineties the firm introduced its first computer-to-plate (CTP) system, which was aimed at the newspaper market, and shortly afterwards signed an agreement with Agfa to produce its CTP equipment. This partnership was a huge success. Agfa became the market leader in this field, with the Polaris CTP system an icon amongst newspaper printers.
In 1999 Strobbe was acquired by the Punch Group and became Strobbe Graphics. The following year the company moved into a 14,000 sq metre factory in Ypres and in 2002, the Punch Group acquired Xeikon, a pioneer in the digital press arena. A significant investment in R&D at the Ypres site enabled the boundaries of what could be achieved in CTP to be continually pushed forward and in 2003 the company launched a new generation of newspaper CTP systems called Polaris X, which was based on violet laser technology.
Breakthroughs and successes followed in rapid succession. In 2004 Strobbe Graphics introduced an entry-mid level CTP system called the Advantage. In that same year, the Punch Group purchased basysPrint, a manufacturer of flatbed computer-to-conventional-plate (CtCP) equipment for conventional plates that used UV lamps. This took the company into a completely new area of print. In 2005 the company changed its name to Punch Graphix.
At Drupa 2008 Punch Graphix launched a totally new line of basysPrint CtCP based on UV laser modules. It was a period of great innovation with new product lines constantly being developed. In 2011 the whole Punch Graphix group was renamed Xeikon to reflect the high profile of the brand name.
Drupa 2012 proved to be another major milestone in the company’s history, with the launch of the latest generation of basysPrint CtCP systems and the introduction of the ThermoFlexX series of flexo imagers. This was the result of the purchase earlier that year of a German manufacturer called FlexoLaser and the acquisition of the brand name ‘Thermoflex’ a Kodak product that was no longer in production. This marked the company’s entry into the flexo industry with a range of imagers that today lead the market in terms of quality and productivity.
Xeikon Prepress has brought together experts in fields as diverse as optics, software, electronics and mechanical engineering at the Ypres factory, where it operates three ‘lean’ production lines for each of the distinct CTP products. The extensive research and development facilities and wide ranging skills in its comprehensive engineering department have allowed Xeikon Prepress to quickly test new ideas and bring successful innovations to market.
This has enabled the incorporation of a wide range of unique features into its equipment and enabled the company to become an industry leader in several areas of CTP across the newspaper, commercial and flexo sectors.