What we do

We are a world leader in the development of digital inkjet technology. Our technology drives the conversion of analogue printing and manufacturing methods to digital inkjet which is more efficient, more economical and more productive than the traditional methods which have been in use for years. We design and manufacture printheads as well as systems for product decoration and 3D Printing which use our inkjet technology.

Why we do it

Our purpose is simple – it is to improve supply chain efficiency and to unlock innovation. With Xaar technology our customers and their customers are able to innovate in their manufacturing methods and their products as well as benefit from a shorter supply chain; they can implement more precise and efficient processes, easily produce short batches, take products to market quicker, improve productivity, reduce waste and unlock creativity.

Why we are different

We are the only truly independent inkjet technology company with over 25 years of know how. We offer unrivalled inkjet expertise including technology and printhead design and development, and manufacture highly customised product decoration systems and industrial 3D Printing for volume manufacturing. Our unique technologies and products are the leading enabler for innovation and for driving supply chain efficiencies for many industries.

Our open systems approach delivers more choice to our customers and also encourages market conversion from analogue to digital processes. Our independence enables a flexible, collaborative approach to ensure we focus on our customers’ goals.

Xaar’s Mission

Leading the digital inkjet revolution


For over 25 years, Xaar has developed leading-edge technologies which have helped companies around the world innovate and also improve their supply chain efficiencies. A recent example of our innovation is High Laydown (HL) Technology which facilitates the printing of highly viscous fluids whilst also enabling outstanding rates of productivity – important for industrial 3D Printing. In addition, HL Technology can be used to deposit high build varnish for tactile effects that enhance shelf appeal for a wide range of packaging and labels as well as for more creative ceramic tile designs.


Many industry sectors use Xaar technology and products in order to innovate and to drive efficiencies. These include sectors such as Advanced Manufacturing, industrial 3D Printing, Packaging, Graphic Arts, Textiles and Ceramics.


We offer a comprehensive range of products including industrial inkjet printheads, product decoration systems and industrial 3D Printing systems. We also develop and sell ink systems and electronics, and provide fluid optimisation services to accelerate inkjet system development and adoption.


Revenue £m


Adjusted profit before tax £m


Net cash1 balance £m

1 Net cash includes cash, cash equivalents and treasury deposits.

Profit before tax £m


Financial highlights

  • Total revenue grew by 4% in 2017 to £100.1 million (2016: £96.2 million)
  • JPY 2.98 billion (circa £20.0 million) royalty upgrade and replacement agreement signed with Seiko Instruments Inc. (SII), £10.0 million of which is recognised as revenue in 2017 with the first payment of JPY 1.5 billion received in December 2017 and the final JPY 1.48 billion received in Q1 2018
  • Product revenues increased by £0.9 million with the continued slowdown of sales into ceramic tile decoration being offset by 23% growth in other sectors
  • Adjusted operating profit margin of 18% achieved for the year (2016: 20%) helped by £9.5 million from the one-off SII royalty (see Financial Statements, note 4); underlying adjusted profit before tax in line with expectations set in November 2017
  • Gross Research and Development (R&D) investment (before net capitalisation/amortisation of development costs relating to the Thin Film and 3D programmes) was £18.1 million in 2017 (2016: £22.4 million)
  • Net cash1 of £44.7 million (2016: £49.3 million).
1 Net cash includes cash, cash equivalents and treasury deposits

Strategic and operational highlights

  • In 2017 revenues from the seven new products launched in the last 24 months and the acquired Engineered Printing Solutions (EPS) business accounted for 80% of the total product revenue (2016: 48%)
  • Strong performance from the new 1201 Thin Film printhead, including a master distribution agreement signed for two years for 90,000 printheads
  • Good progress on 5601 Thin Film printhead. Design frozen; first development kits shipped to eight partners; four colour print capabilities showcased at InPrint 2017
  • Realised the first revenues from the Textiles market, largely from our 5501 bulk printhead product
  • Announcement of the Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Xerox to develop the next generation of industrial bulk piezo printheads using the extensive resources and IP of both companies
  • Demonstrated to a small select group of partners and potential customers the first prototype Xaar 3D printer
  • Organisational restructure to strengthen our Go-To-Market capabilities.

Chairman's report

Moving along our transformation journey

We are excited about leading the digital transformation of printing in many industries around the world, applying our leading-edge inkjet technology.

Robin Williams

Who we are

leading the digital inkjet revolution

We are a world leader in the development of digital inkjet technology. Our technology drives the conversion of analogue printing and manufacturing methods to digital inkjet which is more efficient, cheaper and more productive than the traditional methods it replaces. We design and manufacture printheads as well as systems for product decoration and industrial 3D Printing which use our inkjet technology.

The markets we serve


The industrial markets we serve include Ceramics, Decor, Textiles, Advanced Manufacturing and industrial 3D Printing.


The Packaging sectors we serve include Coding and Marking, Primary Labels, and Direct-to-Shape printing.

Graphic Arts

The Graphic Arts sectors we serve include Grand- and Wide-format graphics.

Where we operate

Xaar regional locations
Authorised resellers






















Our market environment

our markets and opportunities

Industrial – 43% revenue share

The main sectors for Xaar within the Industrial market are:

Ceramic tile production

The creative design is the key feature which sells a tile. Today, the majority of the tile decoration market uses digital inkjet technology because, compared to traditional analogue techniques, it is superior in terms of image quality, is lower in cost, plus offers the advantages of flexibility, inventory reduction, and larger tile size capability. Whilst Xaar has an extensive install base in Ceramics as a result of gaining rapid market share when the market converted to digital several years ago, this is a mature market with strong competition. In 2017 Xaar launched HL Technology for the Xaar 2001+ and Xaar 1003 which has significantly improved suitability for special effects beyond competitive offerings.

Output m2
13.1bn m2
Global production lines #

Decorative laminates

Realistic wood finishes or creative design are the key features which sell the board/plank/finished item. The digital quality that is now being demonstrated with Xaar printheads matches quality produced by the analogue process, thereby offering the opportunity for more economic short run work to be undertaken whilst reducing inventories and improving Time-to-Market.

Output m2
7.8bn m2
Global production lines #

Advanced Manufacturing (functional fluids)

Xaar’s focus is on functional fluid jetting because our inkjet technology offers an unrivalled method of non-contact, fluid deposition with incredible precision and control. Typically applications are challenging, pushing our technology to and beyond known limits in markets such as Flat Panel Display, Semiconductors and Optics. Through the work that we do we aim to develop these applications into commercial opportunities although this may take some years. However, there is increased interest in Xaar inkjet as a manufacturing technology and more than just a print technology.

Watch Advanced Manufacturing video

Industrial 3D Printing

3D Printing is a manufacturing methodology that encompasses a range of processes and applications, with a common theme of building parts up, usually layer-upon-layer. This additive approach ultimately enables manufacturers to eliminate the need for tooling. There are significant advantages, including superior geometric freedom, giving designers much more capability, and a substantial reduction in lead time for products. In addition 3D Printing provides the facility to tailor unique products to consumers, enable de-centralised manufacturing and shrink spare part storage.

Annual market growth rate %
View more information+

Packaging – 28% revenue share

The main sectors for Xaar within the Packaging market are:

Coding and marking

Coding and Marking is an application which relates to printing product identification codes such as batch numbers, use by dates and barcodes. Xaar’s technology is used to print barcodes and logos on outer case/secondary packaging of consumer goods. This is an established and stable business, and competes with alternative technologies including print and apply, and thermal inkjet.

Product Printing

Product Printing is the practice of printing onto all kinds of industrial objects, including promotional items, packaging, medical, automotive, apparel, appliances, sports equipment and toys. The product printing market is served by multiple print processes with inkjet as the fastest growing. Xaar company, EPS, manufactures and sells a range of highly customised inkjet systems using Xaar technology for this sector.

Watch Product Printing video

Primary label

Labels are used for many different applications, including product identification, name tags, warning and hazard identification, promotions and as decals for product decoration. So far only 13% of this market has converted to digital printing to date. The change driver is the delivery of lower cost per copy on run lengths up to 100,000 impressions. There is a large range of substrates and inks in this application which adds complication to the conversion process.

Watch Primary label video
Output m2
57bn m2
Currently converted to piezo inkjet %


Direct-to-Shape is a relatively new application where bottles and containers have the image printed directly onto their surface without the need for a label. The solution is aimed at shortening Time-to-Market whilst simultaneously reducing inventory and unit costs versus existing methods. This approach also enables mass-customised marketing and event targeting.

Watch Direct-to-Shape video
View more information+

Graphic Arts – 13% revenue share

The Graphic Arts sectors include  Grand-and Wide-format graphics.

Grand- and Wide-format graphics

Grand- and Wide-format graphics (GWFG) includes both indoor and outdoor signage and advertising, including billboards, posters and point of sale advertising. It is the most mature industrial inkjet market, active for over 15 years. Xaar’s presence in this highly competitive market has been reinvigorated by the launch of the Xaar 1201 in 2016.

Textiles – 16% revenue share

The Textiles market covers Direct-to-Garment (DTG) flatbed printing, roll-to-roll scanning, printing speciality fabrics and single-pass printing for high productivity.

Textile Printing

Textile Printing using digital inkjet technology is growing fast due to rapid shifts in consumer expectations such as fast changing fashion seasons, and the requirement to reduce waste and pollution. This drives the need for new, digital printing processes which are capable of delivering short print runs quickly, economically and in a more environmentally friendly way. Digital inkjet is particularly suitable for large format roll-to-roll apparel and also for printing soft signage textiles using dye sublimation.

Annual market growth rate %

Our technology

A World of opportunities

Our technology is used in a wide range of applications including ceramic tile decoration, coding, printing graphics for indoor and outdoor signage, labelling and packaging, as well as for Advanced Manufacturing and industrial applications such as Flat Panel Display, Semiconductors and Optics, and 3D Printing.

Advanced Manufacturing


Coding & Marking

Decorative Laminates



3D Printing


Label Printing


Product Printing

Our business model

Creating value for all stakeholders

Our business model

Xaar sells its technology in component form (the printhead) to OEMs who produce and sell the complete digital printing solutions to the end market. Our full range of printheads are used in delivering solutions for numerous applications. We also actively partner and co-develop with fluid suppliers, hardware and software integrators, and substrate suppliers to deliver a robust and attractive total solution to the end user. In addition, for some applications – 3D Printing and Product Printing – we design and develop complete industrial printing machines which we sell to end users.

Our mission

Leading the digital inkjet revolution

Our vision

£220 million of annual sales by 2020

Xaar sells

Xaar sells direct to OEMs around the world through its global sales team. In some more mature Ceramics markets we also sell to regional distributors. Xaar’s highly skilled application engineers offer the highest level of technical support to assist OEMs in the successful design, build, commissioning, and ongoing maintenance of printing systems. Europe, Asia and North America are the primary locations of our current OEM partners.

Xaar also sells product printing equipment, services and consumables via EPS, and Xaar’s 3D Centre in Nottingham is responsible for selling Industrial 3D printers to OEMs and end users.

Xaar markets

Xaar offers a wide range of industrial inkjet printheads and printhead systems which are designed and produced to meet the customer-driven requirements of a range of manufacturing applications. Primary markets include Graphic Arts, Textiles, Ceramics, Labels, Packaging, Coding and Marking, Product Printing, 3D Printing, Advanced Manufacturing and Decor.

Xaar designs

Xaar invests a substantial proportion of sales (18% in 2017) in Research and Development (R&D) to remain a world leader in inkjet technology. Xaar has more than 317 patents and patent applications and continues to add to its Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio. At 31 December 2017 R&D staff totalled 113 representing 19% of the total workforce. We have R&D facilities in Cambridge and Nottingham, UK and also Copenhagen, Denmark, Stockholm, Sweden and Vermont, USA. We also work with strategic partners to jointly develop some products.

Xaar manufactures

Xaar manufactures its printheads in Huntingdon, UK. Xaar’s manufacturing is capital intensive; the Group has invested over £70 million (2016: £68 million) in assets and production facilities in Huntingdon since the plant opened in 2007. We export over 97% of our printheads to customers around the world.

EPS, a Xaar company, manufactures customised and bespoke printing solutions in Vermont, US.

Xaar’s 3D Centre in Nottingham is responsible for manufacturing its industrial 3D printers.

Our strategic pillars

In 2016 we defined four strategic pilIars which support our 2020 vision to grow annual sales to £220 million:

Product Printing & Packaging
Thin Film
Acquisitions & Partnerships

The value we create

We create value for all our stakeholders.

Customers (OEMs) and end users (our customers’ customers)

With Xaar technology, our customers and their customers are able to innovate in their manufacturing methods and their products as well as benefit from a shorter distribution chain; they can implement more precise and efficient processes, easily produce short batches, take products to market more quickly, improve productivity, reduce waste and unlock creativity.


A key goal at Xaar is to maximise the long term growth in value delivered to shareholders via sustained, long term growth in earnings per share. This is delivered through continued investment in R&D and producing a pipeline of new products which deliver a sustained return on capital employed. In 2017 we enhanced our commercial focus through investment in our Go-To-Market capabilities, specifically aimed at revenue growth. Shareholder value is also underpinned by a progressive dividend growth policy, which has seen the dividend paid to shareholders rise from 4 pence per share in 2012 to a total dividend of 10.2 pence for 2017 (including the proposed final dividend for 2017).


Our success depends on the capability of our people. We want bright and driven people who share our values and passion for developing and manufacturing world leading technology. We aim to build long term relationships with all our employees by helping them grow and develop and by making Xaar a great place to work and a great company to be involved with. In order to continue to transform the Company, and to encourage our employees to transform their careers at Xaar, in 2017 we launched XCEL. This is a comprehensive collection of new and existing employee development modules and opportunities such as GATE, our three year programme for individuals identified by Talent Management for accelerated learning.


Digital print methods are inherently more environmentally friendly than the analogue techniques we seek to replace. Research shows that, compared to analogue alternatives, digital has a huge impact in reducing energy consumption (by as much as 55%), water consumption (by up to 60%) and CO2 emissions (by up to 95%), but also in reducing pollution and waste materials. Xaar is committed to reducing its impact on the environment wherever possible. Our actuator technology consumes less energy than competitor alternatives and our industrial printheads can remain in use for many years. In addition, we use a continuous improvement methodology and we have adopted a manufacturing ethos of “reduce, reuse and recycle”. We are committed to adopting advanced manufacturing techniques in our own cleanrooms wherever possible. Some of these techniques reduce manufacturing waste and eliminate the need for tooling and parts.

Chief Executive Officer's report

Consistent strategy taking us Forward

Chief Financial Officer’s report


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