Xeikon and Kurz Collaboration Shines the Light on Brand Protection and Consumer Interaction

Press release submitted on behalf of Xeikon and SCRIBOS.

Xeikon, Lier, Belgiusm, has partnered with KURZ company, SCRIBOS, Heidelberg, Germany, to collaborate on new technology that enables digital label printers to provide added value with interactive features for brand protection, track & trace, and consumer engagement. Leveraging the capabilities of Xeikon’s TITON dry toner printing, DIGITAL METAL® embellishment from KURZ, and SCRIBOS’ product security expertise, the single-pass label application offers a solution for safeguarding brand value, combatting counterfeiting and grey market trading, as well as increasing consumer loyalty.

“The consequences of counterfeiting are enormous and wide reaching. Global companies lose billions of euros every year, consumers are at risk from faulty products, and the environment suffers, just to mention a few. These problems can be mitigated by adding unique metallic elements to the printed label,” says Jeroen Van Bauwel, Xeikon Director of Solution Design. “Of course, Xeikon already offers variable data for security applications, but this joint development delivers a level of protection with a full-service solution that is truly revolutionary.”

Powered by Xeikon’s X-800 DFE (Digital Front End), the application uses SCRIBOS ValiGate® technology and SCRIBOS 360 Cloud Platform to offer high-level security and full visibility for brand owners via serialized, protected QR codes and metallic variable elements. Not only does each code have a unique ID, but they also contain a finely printed, sub-pattern acting as advanced copy protection.

“The secondary level of copy protection embedded in these QR codes relies on very intricate details, which can only be achieved with toner digital printing,” states Dr Steffen Scheibenstock, Head of Digital Business Development at SCRIBOS.

The seamless coordination between the Xeikon press and KURZ metallization module allows for the integration of Variable Digital Metal (VDM) to enhance authentication. After verifying the ValiGate® copy protection with a smartphone, the landing page will show a distribution of symbols, resembling a slot machine game. By comparing these symbols on the product with those on the screen, consumers engage in a secure 2-factor authentication (2FA) process.

Scheibenstock explains, “In this case, we printed a varied distribution of birds, each differing in position, shape, number and orientation. This method, embedded within the metallic print layer and unique to every label, offers robust protection against counterfeiting without requiring an app, ensuring security for all consumers.”

The QR codes are supported by the SCRIBOS 360 authentication platform, which provides a wealth of data for statistics and analysis. Customers can also choose from a range of consumer engagement modules, such as cross-selling options, bonus programs, games or competitions, all customized to match their own branding.

Van Bauwel continues, “This doubly encrypted technology also offers an ideal way for brand owners to boost consumer engagement securely, providing endless possibilities for interaction that can increase brand loyalty, as well as an extended track & trace capability to combat fraudulent movement of goods. And because this is a fully digital process, it can easily be used even for quite short runs, such as to protect limited editions or to help small start-up brands tell their customers more about their sustainability commitments.”

On the Xeikon booth (11/A01) at drupa 2024, visitors can witness this new application printed live on Xeikon’s TITON press, which will be set up to run in single-pass operation with the KURZ metallization module. Demonstrated on a paper-based wine label, the interactive features are easily accessible by scanning the QR code with a mobile device. A variety of other print samples will be available to illustrate the myriad of possibilities offered by this technology.

“Our joint development with KURZ continues, bringing even more capabilities to label printers that enable them to offer multiple value-adding solutions and open new high-end segments. With copy-protected QR codes and high-quality metallic embellishments, Xeikon is exploring the full potential of digital, giving customers a new innovative way of differentiating themselves in the very competitive label market,” concludes Van Bauwel.

Xeikon, a division of Flint Group, is a long-standing leader and innovator in digital printing technology. Grounded in the principles of quality, flexibility and sustainability, Xeikon designs, develops and delivers digital colour presses for label and packaging applications as well as graphic arts and commercial printing. These printing machines work with different imaging technologies, open workflow software and application-specific consumables.

Xeikon is Flint Group’s “Digital Printing Solutions” division for the leading global print consumables and solution provider to the packaging and print media industries. Flint Group develops and manufactures an extensive portfolio of consumables for the printing industry. These include a vast range of conventional and energy-curable inks and coatings, press room chemicals, and pigments and additives for use in inks and other colorant applications. The Flint Group is based in Luxembourg and employs around 5500 people. On a worldwide basis, the company is the number one or number two supplier in every major market segment it serves.

SCRIBOS is part of the Leonhard KURZ Group and a market-leading provider for brand protection solution. SCRIBOS offers secure, effective and scalable solutions to strengthen the brand image and safeguard businesses by driving counterfeits effectively from the market. SCRIBOS offers a suite of products and cloud solutions to fortify brand integrity and combat illicit activities – from advanced authentication technologies to robust anti-counterfeiting measures, providing defense against unauthorized replication of products. ValiGate® Direct Print is SCRIBOS’ printed security solution.