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Under the Hood

Xeikon LX3000 LION

Xeikon has launched an upgraded version of the famous CX300 Cheetah which is 40% quicker at 42 metres per min and heavily loaded with green credentials. Brian Sims finds out more

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High Speed and green

The label market over recent years has seen many changes with the move away from traditional packaging to more eco-sensitive forms and the need to comply with new legislative restrictions.

New equipment is required not only to meet the client’s requirements for productivity but also to ensure the products produced both match the expectation of the end-user and are future-proofed to ensure the longevity of any capital equipment purchased and used in production. Added to these customer-driven requirements there is always then the age-old issue of trying to do things quicker at the same cost.

Xeikon has brought to its already impressive range a new printer called the LX3000 LION which is the third iteration of the Cheetah press model. With an increased speed capacity from 30 metres to 42 metres per minute, the new model is a high-speed version of the CX300 Cheetah with some serious green add-ons.

Xeikon claims that the new machine not only will bring increased productivity but through a series of changes to the basis of the previous model, quality can be assured at a higher rate with minimal input from the printer.

Printing at higher speeds comes with additional constraints and also with the requirement to maintain quality which is easier done on narrower web widths. Therefore, Xeikon needed to make changes within the existing machines to increase the speed by 12 metres a minute without the loss of print quality.

Xeikon looked at various areas of the machine including extra power where needed, additional heating units to pre-heat the substrate, and reconfigured the printheads to adapt to charging and de-charging at the additional speeds.

Clearly a lot of engineering and design time has gone into improving the speed of the LX3000 LION model. As we are aware when the speed starts to increase the stability of the printing process can start to diminish quickly adding not only to excessive waste but also giving operators little time to intervene and correct the issues causing the problem.

Cruise Control Engaged

To ensure print at higher speed quality is maintained, Xeikon has designed a clever piece of software which it calls Cruise Control. This new clever press feature is an automated print calibration system which was an upgrade to the existing Quality Measurement Module also known as QMM.

As with most closed-loop systems Cruise Control uses a spectrophotometer and a high-resolution camera to monitor both registration and colour. Xeikon uses a wedge image which is printed on the side of the substrate and the camera and spectrophotometer focus on this and if the spectrophotometry sees a Delta E shift under 2, it will make automatic adjustments bringing the copy into tolerance.

If the Delta E shift is under 4 then the machine will sound a warning to tell the operator there is a problem which is more serious with the copy. If the variation is larger, then the machine will assume something more drastic has gone wrong with the print run and sound an alarm.

Cruise control offers automatic online assessment of print quality, monitoring and adjusting in real-time

Another interesting element of Cruise Control is that it gives an online update on print quality by printing on the side of the substrate a series of traffic lights to give a visual indication of print quality.

Should the operator see a green patch printed on the side of the substrate, they can consider that everything being printed is within scope. Should amber patches start to appear, the machine could be flagging up the risk of problems with the output which needs attention and the machine will work to bring the copy back into tolerance. If you begin seeing red patches it’s time to jump in as the matter has or is starting to drop out of scope.

The printheads in the LX3000 LION are capable of printing to a high-resolution value of 1,200 x 1,200dpi across five colours making it perfectly capable of producing virtually any type of quality of label needed for current and prospective markets. Add to this the increased speed and it is clear to see why Xeikon is proud of the new LION model.

Whilst productivity is clearly one of the USPs which Xeikon is looking to uplift, there is much more to the LX3000 LION than just speed.

Green Focus on Consumables

As we mentioned at the start of this article, environmental issues are at such prominence now that if a manufacturer does not focus on making the process as green as possible, it runs the risk of being dismissed as an option even before the prospective customer gets past the very first sales web page.

Labels are used on so many products now that they are going to need to be as ecological as possible. Being used for foodstuffs and other such sensitive markets, Xeikon has ensured the toners used on its equipment stand up to scrutiny.

The manufacturer has developed for the five-colour LX3000 LION a new set of toners and the machine does not need primers for producing on most substrates that are used for the label market.  

Xeikon is already well known for producing some of the most environmentally friendly products on the market and the ECO toners are made with up to 60% recycled materials. As a company, Xeikon is driving forward with a range of ways to reduce the carbon footprint of both it as a company and its products.

The ECO toners are made from 100% green power, have been developed to be de-inkable from paper and foil, and do not emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in either the production or printing process.

The new ECO toners have been developed off the back of the previous green products produced by Xeikon and can be used on indirect packaging but only need paper-based barriers containing foodstuffs.

Currently, the ECO toners are standard on the LX3000 as they were primarily designed for this new high-speed press but it will not be long until they are rolled out for the CX300 and CX500 machines as well.

Overall, the new toners and the future-proofing to comply with either current or future legislation and regulations means the LX3000 LION is well placed to give high-quality production with the most impeccable green credentials.


  • Colours    5
  • Max speed    42 metres/min
  • Resolution    1,200 x 1,200dpi
  • Toner    ECO toner
  • Print width    322mm

Brian Sims Principal Consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu

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