Xeikon Certifies Yupo Film; Note on Certification Protocol

Bob Leahey
Dec 14, 2010

Xeikon, whose headlines this year have mostly focused on its new 3000 series of color label presses and their new toners, had some media news recently. Briefly, the company announced this month that it has tested and qualified polypropylene substrates from Yupo Corporation of America for use in the new printer series. The new facestocks are available in translucent and white versions, and are fully recyclable. While Yupo is not as well known to clients as Xeikon is, the company, which is the U.S. offshoot of a Japanese parent, is a top supplier of synthetic paper, for both digital and analog printing. The Yupo products are technically film but have a paper-like feel and are tear resistant and water-resistant. In conventional printing they are used for sales collateral, restaurant menus, maps, and other applications, as well as in-mold labels and other labels printed on narrow analog webs. In digital, the Yupo substrates are well known facestocks for industrial thermal transfer labels. Meanwhile, the “YupoBlue” synthetic paper product is certified for use in the HP Indigo label presses.

On inquiring, Xeikon has a simple protocol for approving media for use in its presses. There are two levels of approval: authorization and qualification. Of the two, authorization is less demanding and offers the customer fewer guarantees. The script file that must be presented to Xeikon for authorization of a chosen media product can be created by any Xeikon operator. That product may be one that is available only in the customer’s area or region. Xeikon will verify that the product is printable but will not guarantee print quality, nor will it guarantee that it is non-toxic.

For qualification, which Yupo has recently achieved, the standard is much higher. Regarding the script file, a dedicated team at Xeikon headquarters in Lier, Belgium must create it, and also later re-create it as needed for periodic re-certification. The product must be available worldwide. Xeikon also will certify its non-toxicity and will assign a level of print quality.

Xeikon’s approach looks both rigorous and flexible. Xeikon used to rely on RIT for testing, as HP Indigo still does. Xeikon, though, switched to in-house testing several years ago, partly to gain timeliness. It also notes that it aims to qualify a broad list of paper and film products, whether through authorization or certification, in order to simplify media selection for end users. In that regard, Xeikon’s web site includes a page that is partly dedicated to a handy database of certified media, cut by printer model.

Xeikon’s other recent news includes two items that demonstrate the need for worldwide availability of its certified media. This month Xeikon announced that UK label converter CS Labels has installed a Xeikon 3030 digital label press, its fourth Xeikon in four years. Meanwhile the company showed the Xeikon 3300 at Label Expo India last week, its first demonstration of that system in India. At the show, the Xeikon 3300 printed on what Xeikon described as a variety of “local Indian substrates” including materials from Avery Denison, Manter and Raflatac; all three companies market label media worldwide.

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