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Print. Software. Innovation.
Xitron Marks 45th Year as Printing Industry Innovator
Tracks evolution from typesetter interfaces to Digital Front Ends
Ann Arbor, MI, USA November 17, 2022 – Xitron, a subsidiary of Hybrid Software Group and the developer of Harlequin-based Navigator RIP and workflow products for commercial, flexo, screen, digital, and high-speed inkjet printing, is celebrating its 45th year of supplying innovative tools to the printing industry.
The company started in 1977 with the invention of an interface that tied newspaper editorial systems to high-speed typesetters. Since then, it has evolved into a team of specialists developing software solutions for almost all printing markets, including RIPs, workflows, computer-to-plate interfaces, DFEs, and machine controls for high-speed inkjet presses. “When I stand back and consider the body of work and technological advancements we’ve deployed, I can’t help but be impressed with this team,” said Xitron’s president Karen Crews, who has been with the company in various roles for more than 35 years.
With a growing base of more than 40,000 customers, Xitron products are responsible for reliable print production in facilities that represent virtually every demographic and market segment in the printing industry. The Navigator RIP is regarded as the preeminent Harlequin RIP implementation for traditional CTP and is now the official upgrade version for existing SCREEN, ECRM, RTI, Presstek/Mark Andy, and Compose RIPs still in use. It’s also the chosen platform for several suppliers of direct-to-screen systems around the world, as well as being the core DFE delivered by the top high-speed inkjet press OEMs.
Its newest implementation, Navigator Flexo Suite: Label, is a collection of integrated RIP and workflow tools designed specifically for the narrow web label market. Combining the user-friendly Navigator Workflow interface with vector-based trapping and tabular step-and-repeat functionality, it was developed in collaboration with Hybrid Software, recognized experts in label and package printing.
To commemorate the company’s anniversary, Xitron will be offering free software upgrades to customers who purchase any version 13 Navigator TIFF RIP, workflow, and support agreement bundle between now and October 1, 2023. “This represents a value of almost $1,500 to end users, said Crews. “It’s our way of showing our appreciation to customers who continue to show confidence and loyalty in Xitron products.”
Memjet Selects Xitron as Exclusive Digital Front End Developer for New
Print Engine Systems
Delivering an unprecedented level of integration for Memjet OEMs
Printing United, Las Vegas Convention Center / Ann Arbor, MI, USA, October 18, 2022 – Xitron, a subsidiary of Hybrid Software Group and the developer of Harlequin-based Navigator RIP and workflow products for commercial, flexo, screen, digital, and high-speed inkjet printing has been selected as Memjet’s sole developer for the Digital Front End (DFE) of two soon-to-be-announced digital print engines.
According to Memjet, the first print engine assemblies will support full-color, high-quality output at speeds approaching 500 feet per minute. In monochrome mode, the print engine will reach speeds close to 1,000 feet per minute. Xitron’s scalable DFE technology supports these speeds and beyond, with or without variable data.
“Aside from the performance needed to drive these print engines at speed, which is impressive, what really stands out about the DFE is the level of integration,” said Eric Nelsen, Xitron’s VP of Product Development. “Navigator doesn’t just provide print data; it fully controls all press functionality.” Everything from feeders, vacuums, dryers, dehumidifiers, and web tensions is addressed in the DFE dashboard and maintained through configurable MODBUS control.
“This new approach delivers flexibility to machine builders and simplicity for the end users of these systems,” said Scott Desoto, Memjet’s VP of Sales. “In today’s world where labor is tight, this highly integrated approach is critical to asset utilization and company profits,” he added.
“By incorporating MODBUS connectivity, we’ve eliminated the external synchronization issues presented by separate hardware and software subsystems, which can be a major hurdle in getting a press to market,” said Karen Crews, President of Xitron. “This means Memjet’s OEMs will get to the commercialization stage much faster, and with an intuitive, single-interface product.”
The first shipments of Memjet’s newly integrated print engine technologies are happening now, through the end of the year, and Memjet expects to accelerate deployments to their customers starting in Q1 of 2023.
Xitron Launches Navigator Flexo Suite for Labels at Labelexpo Americas
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, August 23, 2022 – Xitron, a subsidiary of Hybrid Software Group and the developer of Harlequin-based Navigator RIP and workflow products for litho, flexo, screen, digital, and high-speed inkjet printing will debut an exciting new product at the upcoming Labelexpo Americas beginning September 13thin Rosemont, IL. Xitron will be exhibiting under the Hybrid Software Group banner in booth 3015.
On display for end users will be Xitron’s new Navigator Flexo Suite: Label, designed as a powerful workflow for flexo label printers who have outgrown basic RIPs and need more automation. Comprised of Harlequin™, the fastest RIP on the market, plus Mac & PC client access, hybrid screening, advanced and automated step & repeat functionality, and the most robust trapping tools in the industry, the workflow rivals established systems with much higher prices.
“Navigator Flexo Suite: Label is uniquely positioned in terms of price and performance,” says Karen Crews, President of Xitron. “Whether you’re looking to replace an older system with high maintenance and upgrade costs or bringing platemaking in-house with one of the newer flexo CTP engines that are now widely available, Flexo Suite: Label has the ideal feature set for narrow web label production.”
“Two of the standout features in this product are the vector-based trapping module and the easy-to-use step and repeat functionality built into the workflow, which were delivered in partnership with our sister company HYBRID Software” adds Eric Nelsen, Vice President of Product Development. These allow the operator to submit jobs quickly and efficiently into the system, apply the requisite trap settings to the PDF, configure step-and-repeat, add marks, and output press-ready plates. Most importantly, instead of relying on a single seat license that limits this functionality to one operator, Flexo Suite: Label puts these tools in the hands of each operator through the macOS & Windows compatible Client interface.”
The worldwide launch of navigator Flexo Suite: Label will take place at Labelexpo Americas in booth 3015 where Xitron will be exhibiting along with four other Hybrid Software Group companies; Global Graphics Software, Hybrid Software, Meteor Inkjet, and ICD3.
Xitron Welcomes Doug Mawdsley, Sales Manager EMEA
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, May, 2022 – As most of you know, Sue Wood left us at the end of March to embark on her retirement. We are excited to announce that Doug Mawdsley has joined the Xitron team and takes over the role of Sales Manager EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa).
Many of you are already familiar with Doug, a respected industry veteran with stints at ZED Instruments, Lüscher, EyeDirect, and of course, his long association with Xeikon Prepress (now part of XSYS). In fact, we believe his hardest task will be to get Xeikon out of his vocabulary when he means to say, “Xitron!”
Doug Mawdsley takes over the reins from retiring Xitron Sales Manager, Sue Wood.
Xitron Completes Installation of Navigator DFE at
IGT’s Principal Instant Ticket Printing Facility
Purpose-built press prints scratch-off lottery tickets
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, April 14, 2022 – Xitron, a subsidiary of Hybrid Software Group and the developer of Harlequin-based Navigator RIP and workflow products for commercial, flexo, screen, digital, and high-speed inkjet printing has announced the successful installation of the scalable Navigator Digital Front End at IGT in Lakeland, Florida. Revolutionary advancements in digital printing capability have allowed Xitron, Memjet, and Paper Converting Machine Company (PCMC) to partner on this first-of-its-kind application and succeed with excellent results.
An innovator in instant ticket games, IGT sought alternatives to current, single-color technology used to print scratch-off (instant) lottery tickets, ultimately deciding on a full-color digital imaging solution. The result was not just the ability to print the variable indicia at high speeds, but the artwork as well, including the variable bar codes retailers scan to authenticate winning game pieces.
“Since the late 1980s, printing instant tickets has been a multi-stage process where the majority of printing was done on flexo presses with the indicia applied using a 240-dpi electrostatic print unit,” explained Keith Cash, IGT VP and General Manager of Instant Products. “Using the Memjet DuraLink printheads and Xitron Navigator DFE, IGT can print full-color tickets at 1600 x 1580 dpi on a wide web format.”
Primers, security coatings, and the scratch-off material are applied flexographically on the same press, which is over 300 feet in length.
IGT’s patented process provides several benefits that were impossible to achieve prior to the DuraLink/Navigator integration. “First, every ticket can now be different, which means we can fine-tune artwork and design to the audience demographic,” Cash explained. “Second, we’ve added another layer of accuracy and reliability since the symbols are now printed as rich, or four-color black instead of single color.”
Xitron’s scalable Digital Front End (DFE) based on the Harlequin core renders the incoming jobs, spreading the data across 16 RIPs housed on four PC platforms. The raster data is routed directly to the Memjet DuraLink printheads without writing any data to disk (a security concern), allowing the press to run at incredible speeds, even with extremely high levels of variable data.
Xitron’s president, Karen Crews commented, “This is a remarkable achievement by Xitron’s engineers and our partners at Memjet and PCMC. The fact that we can interpret and deliver this volume of data at the speeds required is a testament to their dedication and effort.”