Fedopress – Xeikon 3500 adopted for fiscal duty stamp printing

Fiscal stamps printed by Fedopress on a Xeikon 3500 digital five-colour press

BELGIUM • Fedopress, the official print supplier to the Belgian Federal Public Service Finance, has taken previously outsourced services in-house following the investment in a digital printing solution comprising of a Xeikon 3500 digital five-colour press and digital front-end workflow solution X-800.

Fiscal stamps are applied to cigarette packs and other tobacco products as proof that the manufacturer has paid the excise duty. Taxes from such products represent around 30% of the Belgian government’s total income, amounting to EUR 2.26 billion in 2015. This means it is absolutely vital that the stamps are impossible to forge, as this would result in significant loss of income to the government.

In order to ensure the highest level of security, stamp designs were created using Arziro, a design software for security applications developed by Agfa Graphics, which allows the creation of complex designs that are impossible to reproduce without the software. In addition, the capabilities of the Xeikon 3500 in terms of resolution (1200 dpi) and variable dot density (4 bits), make it possible to reproduce microtext, guilloches, serifs and hairlines in minute detail. The machine uses black toner for variable data, and a concealed image printed with toner only visible under UV-light further adds to the security measures.

Furthermore, each stamp is unique and completely traceable and is meticulously checked by an inspection camera for the presence of all the security features. In addition, the data is stored, allowing customs to verify the authenticity of each stamped tobacco product at any time. Counting is now much easier too. All prints have readable numbering and all sheets have the same format. In addition to Belgium, Fedopress will also be supplying the government of Luxembourg with tobacco duty stamps, amounting to a total of approximately 1.2 billion stamps per year and an estimated EUR 3 billion in excise duties


Armin Karl Geiger

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