Xeikon today announced that Telrol Group, one of Europe's largest producers of labels, is the fourth label printing operation worldwide to invest in the breakthrough Xeikon Cheetah technology. With production sites spread over nine countries in Europe, the Telrol - Schades Group produces close to a billion square metres per annum of self-adhesive labels and paper rolls. With five Xeikon 3300s – the most recent one installed earlier this year, plus Xeikon Cheetah technology being implemented in June; Telrol is one of Xeikon’s largest customers worldwide.
“Acquiring Xeikon Cheetah was the next logical step for us,” states CEO Hoessein Hadaoui. “We consider Xeikon to be a critical business partner. They are innovative, forward-thinking and always involving us as they develop new technology and solutions. For us, the Xeikon digital printing technology is ideal, because of the quality and productivity it delivers but also because of the food safety aspect of the Xeikon toner. Building on the great success and experiences we had with all of our Xeikon 3000 Series, we know Xeikon Cheetah will be a game changer that will help us take the company to the next level.”
Long standing partnership
Telrol has always been at the forefront of technology evolution. “Change in the market is happening extremely quickly,” Hadaoui explains. “It’s not a matter of being the smartest or the strongest – it is who can respond most quickly and effectively to change. Keeping up with change is not enough, you have to be ahead of the changes or create the market to succeed and grow. Working with Xeikon, we can do that. They keep me informed as R&D progresses, because I don’t want to wait until releases are already on the market – I want to have them before they are!”
This mutually-beneficial relationship enables Telrol to continually grow its visionary digital strategy: “We want to be a one-stop shop,” Hadaoui continues. “Our customers are number one companies in their field, and they want us to supply only the best. Xeikon technology puts us ahead of the competition. In our opinion, no other digital print production supplier can offer the integration, IT, strategic marketing or technological developments that Xeikon can. As an example, we are now also looking to expand into the security market. We already have a solid base in food, retail, cosmetics and beverages and believe security labels and ticketing will be the next growth market. Our Xeikon fleet positions us well to enter this exciting market.”
Pivotal to the investment decision, and to Telrol’s ongoing partnership with Xeikon, is the specifically-designed Xeikon Cheetah toner (QA-CH) developed for high speeds and based on the tried-and-tested ICE toner, which has performed well for Telrol with its other Xeikon presses. It meets FDA regulations for food contact and offers the ability to print opaque white toner in one pass. This is ideal for the product mix Telrol produces.
Speed is of the essence
Running at 30m/min (98 ft/min), Xeikon Cheetah will enable Telrol to create a leaner multi-platform approach to print production, and deliver its customers a more tailored, cost effective and efficient production process. And it will ensure the company is able to quickly respond to any new market challenges.
Hadaoui clarifies: “Offering extreme productivity and quality, Xeikon Cheetah gives us a new way of seeing the market and its potential. We want to give customers broader access to the benefits of digital print by enabling more work to be transitioned from conventional production to digital. Xeikon Cheetah technology will allow to significantly raise the crossover point in addition to the other advantages it offers.”
He explains that the press can easily handle volumes of close to 38.000 meters per day – counting 21 hours of production during three shifts. This ability takes digital label printing to new limits: “In my business, there is still a lot of low hanging fruit that can be transferred easily and cost efficiently from existing technologies. Not only can we then add value through digital print, but we can also increase capacity on the existing traditional printing machines. We have production plants that are dedicated to Blanc, Multi–Color, High–end, Digital, Commodity label and POS (cashroll) production. Each of these sites are highly structured and have their own KPI´s to ensure each is as profitable and Lean as possible. Within the digital department, we can address a different set of demands and ensure that it is also as competitive as it can be. Of course, adding the fastest digital label press in its class, we will be setting new break-even points for certain orders. This opens up the market to broader digital support and a faster analog-to-digital migration.”
Survival of the creative
Being able to offer something extra is crucial to Hadaoui’s business ethos: “We are always looking to offer something new,” he says. “That is why we have worked closely with Xeikon throughout the years, and opted to become a pilot site for its Xeikon Cheetah technology – knowing it will meet our expectations. It had to be the best, most robust, and strongest solution in its class in order to support our aggressive 24/7 production schedules. When Xeikon sees any limitations, they proactively work to eliminate them. This ensures that they will continue to have the best digital presses on the market for our portfolio. Because of our past experience with Xeikon, we expect ROI on our latest investment in just two years.”
This initial install is expected to serve as a blueprint that could be rolled out across the group, Hadaoui states, adding, “My strategy is to set up plants that offer the highest quality in one discipline, which is easy to combine and copy to other locations in Europe. It will help me European-ise digital in the group. I can take the best configurations, processes and practices, put them together and set up similar digital divisions in every site. Our investment in the latest and most advanced Xeikon technology is part of that strategy.”
And the timing is right with a buoyant market, Hadaoui concludes: “Our industry is set to grow and consolidate. We are still in a pull market. Our anticipated growth is driven by two things – the market is growing volume wise but also important is our ability to add value and drive down costs compared to conventional production, especially with growing demand for shorter runs and versioning from our brand owner clients. I believe you not only have to grow in the field in which you are operating but also keep your eyes open for growth opportunities in related fields. Staying in the same field is a limitation, and I don’t want to be limited in anything – not in markets, technology or people. My partnership with Xeikon ensures that I push the boundaries.”