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EskoArtwork gearing up for drupa 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Press release from the issuing company

Gent (Belgium), March 17, 2008 – EskoArtwork, the global market leader in innovative design, pre-production and collaboration solutions for the packaging and commercial printing industries, is gearing up for a prominent presence at drupa 2008.

Spread across over 800 square meters on stand A23 in the new hall 8b, EskoArtwork will present a comprehensive overview of its integrated software and hardware solutions and associated services for today and tomorrow, organized along themes that reflect the different customer communities and industry segments the company serves.

Software product highlights include the new Studio and Studio Toolkits for Boxes and for Flexibles, production color management workflow featuring a.o. Equinox, and a series of key product upgrades incorporating the results of EskoArtwork's efforts to cross-integrate its various workflow lines. On the equipment side, there is the CDI Advance Cantilever for sleeve imaging, the CDI Spark 4260 Auto, and the Kongsberg XP series for high-performance digital short-run converting.

Connect More! – The key to future business growth

"The days of computer systems being islands of automation or company departments operating in splendid isolation are long gone", states Carsten Knudsen, EskoArtwork President and CEO. "Successful companies today continuously push the limits of efficiency and strive to adopt the best operational practices to create value and remain competitive. EskoArtwork's mission is to help our customers bring together all the systems, the software and the hardware, people and information assets available to them and effectively connect these into high-performance workflows. Operator guidance, process automation and supply chain collaboration are the drivers fueling our innovations."

EskoArtwork's "Connect More!" vision is expressed in different ways and dimensions. It starts with integrating more closely the various steps within a single workflow and linking these to adjacent processes in the value chain, to save time and eliminate errors. It is about bringing together product design, packaging structure, graphics decoration and print visualization to boost creativity and packaging brand impact while reducing design and approval overhead. It includes intelligent interfaces between software and hardware components to make operations more reliable, repeatable and measurable.

It acknowledges the need to consider legacy data and systems from various suppliers to maximize the return on past investments. It involves bridging jobs and processes between traditional printing and converting methods and the digital technologies of the future to ensure continuity and a smooth migration path.

Finally it covers improving in-house communication between departments to connect the pressroom with sales and accounting, as well as promoting collaboration between brand owner or print buyer, designer, printer/converter and even logistics parties to guarantee transparent processes and final results that meet customers' expectations.

"EskoArtwork has always attached a high value to connectivity when developing its systems and products", concludes Knudsen. "Being a strong driver and supporter of open industry standards, we also have engaged in a multitude of industry partnerships to complement our solutions with components and expertise from other best-in-class companies. Needless to say that this vision of connectivity – whether looked at from a systems technology, global operations or end-to-end supply chain perspective – is a reflection of what our thousands of packaging and printing customers value most in maintaining an ongoing relationship with our company".

Design, Produce, Manage – all from one source

EskoArtwork brings to market integrated solutions for all three of the design, production and management areas of the packaging and printing supply chain. Additionally it provides communication and integration across these functions as well as with upstream (e.g CRM and order entry) and downstream (e.g. ERP and palletization) activities. That makes EskoArtwork a unique source of innovative and value-adding business drivers not only for tradeshops, printers and converters but also for brand owners, retailers, creative agencies and many other players in the industry.

On the Design side, EskoArtwork innovates with new capabilities for packaging designers, brand owners and retailers to facilitate the collaboration process beginning from the early creation and ideation phase. Such an approach assures a smooth and efficient production flow from design through pre-press, printing, converting and up to the shop shelves.

A highlight at drupa 2008 will be the introduction of the new Studio product line for the integrated 2D/3D, CAD/graphics design of packaging, with the ground breaking Studio Toolkit for Flexibles extending such capabilities to the world of pillow bags, gusseted bags and rectangular stand-up pouches.

Brand owners with a lot of product variants or active in tightly regulated markets – such as pharmaceuticals, liquor and tobacco – will see how designs can incorporate dynamic content, linked to and automatically updated from secure databases.

The Enfocus PDF preflighting, editing and certification tools, now complemented by the SWITCH desktop and workgroup automation products, provide a reliable data connection between content providers and print professionals.

Covering the Produce angle, EskoArtwork's expert production tools and know-how are widely recognized, as illustrated by the many product brands that are the references in their markets: ArtPro, ArtiosCAD, BackStage, Nexus, PitStop … to name a few.

At drupa 2008 EskoArtwork will demonstrate its significant progress with the integration between products from the former Esko and Artwork Systems portfolios. Customers now have more choices than ever to select individual system components and connect these into the packaging or commercial printing workflows that best fit their work requirements.

Together with its flexo partner DuPont, EskoArtwork will launch the newest Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) solutions for flexo sleeve imaging and automated flexo platemaking – from digital data to a processed and press-ready plate.

With respect to digital printing for labels and packaging, EskoArtwork brings field proven solutions for accurate color matching from proof to press – unique in its ability to manage multi-color process printing applications across traditional and digital technologies – as well as industry strength variable data capabilities. EskoArtwork is also the OEM supplier of the digital front end systems for HP Indigo's ws4x00 and future ws6000 industrial digital presses.

Last but not least, a new line of high-performance Kongsberg XP tables specifically targeted at short-run digital converting will see its world première. SignUp, a powerful but easy-to-use layout program for digital sign and display applications, will make the i-XE and i-XL tables even more productive and cost efficient.

Finally, the Manage theme groups a number of developments and realizations with respect to on-line collaboration, remote proofing and approval, JDF integration, links to MIS and ERP systems… all examples of logical next steps for any brand owner, converter or printer that needs to optimize productivity, eliminating errors and streamline processes.

Besides its state-of-the-art products, EskoArtwork also makes available to its customers a team of professional consultants and systems integration experts that can analyze, specify, implement, train, launch and support such systems including custom solutions.

Featured at drupa 2008 will be a live demonstration of a real-life integration case, in which EskoArtwork worked together with a printing press vendor, a finishing equipment supplier and an SAP integrator to build a full business system for a packaging converter. Furthermore, the next generation of EskoArtwork's WebCenter web collaboration platform, now with expanded project management capabilities, will be presented.

One critical aspect connecting EskoArtwork's Design, Produce and Manage concept is color management. Through its extensive range of technologies and professional services, grouped under the "Color Management for Everyone" banner, EskoArtwork deeply embeds color matching and quality assurance into the entire supply chain, connecting the brand owner or publisher, the designer, the pre-press shop, and the printer or converter within a single integrated color management workflow. This pragmatic, production strength approach to color management has been recognized through industry partnerships with HP Indigo, ExxonMobil and others.

"EskoArtwork is truly unique in the industry in connecting the creative, manufacturing and business spheres into one automated and collaborative environment", summarizes Guido Van der Schueren, Chief Commercial Officer. "No print buyer, brand owner, publisher, design agency, trade shop, printer, converter, sign maker… looking for greater efficiencies, faster growth, better margins and a more competitive position can afford not to come and see us before making an investment decision. EskoArtwork has the proven track record as well as the vision and innovations to build a successful future together with our customers."

Further stand and visitor's information

The originally planned stand – with a surface of 510 square meters – has been extended with a 300 square meter upper floor to accommodate the full solutions portfolio of the EskoArtwork group, including products from Enfocus and recently acquired Gradual Software. The stand design and construction is handled by Dutch international exhibition specialist Hoynck, a reliable partner for EskoArtwork since 2002.

Illustrating its Connect More! vision, EskoArtwork allocates a central position to its many integrated design and production workflow solutions and supporting professional and consulting services. In addition, the value creation opportunities from cross-departmental system links and intercompany collaboration spaces will be highlighted through real-life examples. A comprehensive display of EskoArtwork's most recent innovations in digital flexo platemaking and digital short-run converting completes the illustration of EskoArtwork's strategic focus areas and directions.

EskoArtwork's digital flexo solutions will be presented together with DuPont Cyrel, who occupies the adjacent stand location.

Visitors to drupa 2008 can prepare in advance to make the most of their passage by the EskoArtwork stand. A dedicated www.esko.com/drupa section on the company's website gives visitors all the latest information on EskoArtwork's presence at drupa 2008, and allows them to register for short individual demo sessions or one-to-one meetings. A team of 50 product and application experts and 100 sales representatives from across the world will be present to make sure that prospects and customers are welcomed efficiently.

In two theatre areas on its stand, EskoArtwork will host a series of experts from within the company and from various industry partners. The presentations program is aimed at giving visitors comprehensive demonstrations and updates on the latest developments and interesting new projects. The full program can also be consulted on www.esko.com/drupa and will be kept up to date on a daily basis.

EskoArtwork's drupa partner program lists joint activities with over 50 other companies and organizations throughout the industry also present at drupa – another way to Connect More! Partners include Adobe, Bobst, DuPont, EFI, Gallus, HP, MAN Roland, Xerox and many others. A complete list will be available on www.esko.com/drupa.




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