Digital press makers typically align themselves with partners who have capabilities and technologies that augment those of the press makers. Some of these alignments are celebrated with lavish announcements and promises of untold success. Others have evolved to become elite clubs for owners of certain brands and feature trade shows, hyper-kinetic conferences, and parties any frat house would envy.
Then there is Xeikon Café, a lower-key, biannual event held in Europe and North America for users of Xeikon presses. The Café gathers a growing series of companies, referred to as Aura Partners, each of which provides capabilities that can enhance a print provider’s competitive stance and deliver value and improve operational performance.
The European event, always held at the Xeikon headquarters and factory in Lier, Belgium (a suburb of Antwerp) has taken place for several years and brought in Xeikon customers and prospects from around the globe. The North American edition, now in its second year, has a U.S. and Canadian focus, but most of the Aura Partners remain the same, with new ones, like Anderson & Vreeland, joining the mix at Xeikon’s U.S. headquarters in Itasca, Illinois, and the nearby Westin Hotel.
The Xeikon Difference
What sets the Café apart is the low-key, collegial, and interactive tone of the event. The Café encourages communication between industry speakers, Aura Partners and Xeikon customers, but goes without the pitches from the podium that are common in top-down events put on by other print engine vendors. At Café is entirely possible—and very likely—that a speaker will not use the word “Xeikon” in a presentation. This year, for example, there were panels where digital printing was peripheral to the topic presented, but the topics still resonated with attendees because they could learn about print in the larger context of how it is being bought, consumed, and especially how it can be integrated into digital media—nowadays a crucial element. This such crucial information that kept attendees in their seats and asking questions in both general sessions and throughout the two conference tracks: graphic arts/commercial print and labels/packaging.
Anderson & Vreeland at Café
It is this latter segment that now accounts for more than half for Xeikon’s revenue and equipment placement, which is one of the reasons Anderson & Vreeland has become a Xeikon Aura Partner. As a leader in manufacturing and distribution of flexographic equipment and supplies, and as a supplier of both Xeikon’s ThermoFlexX platesetters and Flint Group’s Thermal Xpress Plate Processor, A&V already provides several technologies that are a compelling and profitable fit for flexographic shops and for owners of Xeikon presses used for labels and packaging.
At Xeikon Café, Anderson & Vreeland’s Director of Digital Solutions, Dave Miller, plus Digital Business Analysts Jeff Skolnik and Sean McGovern welcomed the opportunity to talk with Xeikon customers and connect with other Aura Partners.
“Some Xeikon owners came here to see purely digital solutions but we are able to show them color management, workflow, and other printing solutions that are intended for both digital and analog environments,” said Mr. Skolnik. “It is especially exciting to have the opportunity to talk about Anderson & Vreeland’s entire product line, featuring many products from the Flint Group.”
Mr. McGovern noted that it was exciting to be a Xeikon Aura Partner and how Anderson & Vreeland is able to offer a broad portfolio of products. “It’s great to see everything Xeikon has brought together with toner and inkjet and be able to print both food and non-food products. It makes for a very strong fit for A&V and the Flint Group as we focus on the entire label and packaging markets.”
“We at Anderson & Vreeland are proud to include Flint Group among our partners and to continue strengthening our relationship with them at events like Xeikon Café,” concluded Mr. Miller. “Being at this event exemplifies our commitment to Flint, our other partners, and the dynamics of the label and packaging market.”
The next Xeikon Café is in Europe next March, with the North American version taking place next May. But much sooner, at Labelexpo North America in September, Flint Group and Xeikon will have a combined booth that will showcase the organizations’ complete range of technology for label and package printers. And as a leader in label and package printing, Anderson & Vreeland will also be part of the story at Labelexpo 2018. Stay tuned for more detail in the coming weeks.