Lucien De Schamphelaere, best known as the founder of Xeikon, passed away on January 20, aged 85. He was awarded multiple distinctions for his pioneering work in the graphics industry, including the GATF-award, the IS&T Award and the prestigious Cary Award (1997).
He graduated in 1952 as an engineer in electronics and spent 40 years working with Agfa-Gevaert, where he helped form the company’s Electronic Imaging System Department in 1979. By 1982 the team had developed the P400, a digital black and white printing press.
From 1986, as president of Agfa’s Venture Capital Fund, he was given the time to look for the most promising applications in digital imaging. In 1988 he set up a new company, Ellith NV, with Agfa having a minority shareholding.
The new company soon changed its name to Xeikon NV, combining the Greek words “xeros” (dry) and “eikon” (image). Xeikon showed off a prototype of its DCP-1, a digital color press able to print without an ink sheet, at Ipex 1993, and developed a variable data system in 1994. The company had started as a limited liability venture but went public in March 1996 by listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange, becoming only the second Flemish company to do so. This was followed by its second generation machine, the DCP/32D in the same year and the B2-sized DCP/50D in 1997.
De Schamphelaere retired from the role of CEO in 1996, aged 67, but stayed on as president of Xeikon until 1998. In 1999 De Schamphelaere went on to found Triakon NV, a printing centre used to further develop digital color printing. All these years, he was a member of the Boards of Directors of Imec, Option, Melexis, Materialise and Hydrogen Systems.
Wim Maes, Xeikon CEO commented: “We were so saddened to hear the news of Lucien’s death. He had an amazing passion for digital printing and unstoppable drive that lead him to achieve such an incredible amount in his lifetime. His dedication and pioneering approach remains a key cornerstone of Xeikon today.”