XSYS sharpens its focus in APAC to help customers face challenging market conditions

Leading prepress specialist XSYS is bolstering the already large team in the APAC region to continue supporting customers in the packaging industry with innovative solutions and top level service that enable them to print solid and stay flexible.

As a complete, standalone entity having separated from Flint Group, XSYS is proactively streamlining its offering in packaging print production for the tag & label, flexible packaging, and corrugated segments. The global company has a unique advantage in the market as supplier of solutions that cover the whole prepress process – from imaging and screening, through plates and platemaking to adapters and sleeves.

The well-known products and brands that keep XSYS positioned firmly as number one or two in each segment where it is active include nyloflex® flexographic solvent and thermal plates & equipment, nyloprint® letterpress plates & equipment, nylosolv® washout solvent, rotec® sleeves & adapters, ThermoFlexX TFxX Imagers, ThermoFlexX Catena Plate Processing equipment, and Woodpecker surface screening solutions.

“The reaction from our customers to the formation of XSYS as a more agile solo operation has been great,” said Roy Schoettle, VP XSYS Asia Pacific. “They understand that we are now in a position to react much faster, because we are more focused and more flexible. But they also know that they are dealing with the same great team which means the continuity is there.”

Team experience and expertise

The APAC region is comprehensively covered by 28 prepress experts and technical engineers, a large team which is set to expand further with six more staff joining over the coming months. “What is special about the XSYS team in APAC is that most of us have been with the company for decades; in fact, the average length of experience here is 19 years,” said Roy, who himself has been part of the story for 34 years – starting out at BASF and staying on as it became Flint Group and now XSYS. For the past 22 years, his focus has been on plates and plate processing, helping bring to market a whole host of XSYS innovations, such as nyloflex® Xpress Thermal System and ThermoFlexX Catena.

Supporting Roy Schoettle is a team of specialists, who are well-known throughout the region for their dedication and in-depth knowledge of the flexo print process. They include Technical Director for APAC, Supachai Theravithayangkura (known as Milo), who has been with the company for 20 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in printing technology and a master’s in imaging technology. The General Manager for China is Magenta Zheng, who has notched up 18 years after joining the company from Tetra Pak China, where he worked in various technical roles for a decade; while in Japan, customers benefit from General Manager Kaz Yamada’s 28 years of experience in the packaging industry.

With more than two decades with XSYS/Flint, Yee Ling Goh is the Narrow Web Key Account Manager who is responsible for sales in the SEA region. Prepress Technical Manager Yves Vanryckeghem is in charge of the engineering team which benefits from his 26 years in print. Finally, the team also includes applications Specialist Gurunath Baji who handles technical support and rotec® sleeve sales for the Indian subcontinent, leveraging more than 20 years of experience in the industry.

“I’m very proud of the amount of talent that we have attracted over the years and of the fact that people stay for a long time,” said Schoettle, “but that doesn’t mean we’re resting on our laurels. We are now actively recruiting to keep up with the growth of high quality flexo in APAC and to maintain our very high standard of service and local support to make sure that our customers can stay competitive.”

Market trends and solutions

Converters in the APAC region are experiencing many pressures and challenges that are forcing them to find new innovative technologies and working methods. In a region that has witnessed a lot of change, XSYS is working closely with its customers to ensure they optimize their business models by implementing best-in-class solutions across their prepress operations.

“Like in the rest of the world, the conditions are tough in the Asia Pacific region at the moment with severe cost pressures, fast-rising energy costs, supply chain issues, and lack of highly skilled staff making life difficult for flexo converters,” commented Schoettle. “Sustainability is also on everyone’s agenda, and while before it was mainly just a topic for debate, legislation is now being introduced to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment.”  He added, “People and companies who still see the Asia Pacific region as a dumping ground for inferior products will have difficulties to find clients, as the converters in the region are supplying high-end quality packaging and they are continuously improving conditions and the quality of their output.”

Innovation is central to tackling these difficult market conditions. XSYS offers a wide range of market-leading solutions that can improve efficiencies, deliver consistent quality, and cut waste in answer to these challenges, such as the nyloflex® Xpress Thermal System, which helps increase sustainability and deliver exceptional plates in less time without the use of harmful solvents and at lower costs. Additionally, brand owners demand color consistency across multiple applications and multiple production sites meaning plates must be of equal high quality, so a job can be reproduced easily no matter where it is being printed.

Proximity to customers is another of the main aspects of the XSYS business model. With local technical teams on standby, the company can guarantee that help is always on hand to minimize any unwanted downtime. The teams also educate and train operators in all aspects of machine operation on an on-going basis to help customers overcome the problems with staff shortages and low skill levels.   

Customer case for automation

Automating the manual steps in flexo plate production is considered the main solution to demands for higher quality, lower costs, color consistency and more sustainable operation. XSYS customers are experiencing this concept in action with the ThermoFlexX Catena+, an end-to-end fully automated platemaking line that removes operator intervention and greatly reduces waste to produce brilliant results.

One of the first in the world to install Catena+ is Sydney-headquartered Kirk Group, which is the largest supplier of artwork services and image carrier solutions across Australia and New Zealand, counting global brands and major printing companies as customers.

The Australian packaging industry leader decided to implement the automated system, combined with a ThermoFlexX TFxX imager, so it could better respond to brand owners’ requirements for faster turnaround, consistently high quality, and reproducible results. As well as allowing the company to optimize its flexo plate production for greater profitability, Catena+ is also an environmentally friendly manufacturing method that produces less plate waste.

General Manager at Kirk Group, John Kapiniaris, explained, “With the Catena+ system, we can maintain a lower cost base by consolidating production and removing manual steps throughout the process. This reduces the human touch and opportunities for errors, so we end up with a superior product.” He added, “As industry leaders and innovators, our continued investment in the latest technology and automation means that we can satisfy our customers’ requests for highest quality print outcomes, maximum consistency and fastest time to market, all whilst maintaining lowest costs and minimizing waste.”