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Artwork Systems' Concentric Screening Overturns Years of Accepted Screening Technology

Press release from the issuing company

Ghent, Belgium – August 23, 2006 – Artwork Systems Group N.V., a world leader in professional pre-press software, reports positive customer reviews of its new Concentric Screening technology. Concentric Screening is the third major halftone screening technology innovation in almost 150 years, preceded only by the invention of the conventional halftone dot and the stochastic screen. Hal Hinderliter, Director of the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly, says, “Other screening technologies were designed to reduce visible artifacts; while Concentric goes to the core, fundamental problem of reducing dot gain.” How is Concentric Screening Revolutionary? Artwork Systems' new Concentric Screening is a revolutionary halftone dot technology that divides the conventional round dot into thin concentric rings. These rings limit ink film thickness on the offset plate, thereby providing greater stability on press and increased color saturation. Printers are able to increase—even double—screen rulings without experiencing the traditional problems of mottle, dot gain, and variability typically associated with high screen rulings. Proven Effectiveness in Many Applications Concentric Screening has proven its effectiveness in every major segment of offset printing including commercial, publication, newspaper and packaging. Printers who have experienced Concentric Screening say that this new generation of screening has all the benefits of second generation FM combined with the printability, ease of use, and smoothness of conventional AM screening. Concentric Screening is available with the Nexus and Odystar workflows from Artwork Systems. Thinking “Inside the Dot” Says Mark Samworth, Vice President of Technology for Artwork Systems, “The conventional halftone dot was invented in the late 1800's and has remained virtually unchanged in basic geometry ever since. While every external dot shape has been attempted, no change to internal shape had ever been tried. The internal shape on all dots has been ‘solid.' Concentric Screening is the first halftone dot that uses a different internal shape. It's the world's first ‘non-solid' halftone dot. With Concentric Screening, the printing world can now ‘think inside the dot'.” What customers are saying… Perry Judd's According to Ed Bacsik, VP, Division Manager for Perry Judd's, Inc., one of the six largest graphic communication companies serving the Publication and Catalog markets in the United States, Concentric Screening has positively impacted its vast operations. Perry Judd's has printing facilities located in Baraboo, WI; Spencer, IA; and Strasburg VA, as well as a central prepress facility in Madison, WI serving all three of its printing facilities using state of the art digital prepress services. Its broad press equipment platform includes the industry's most modern M3000, M2000, M1000 presses manufactured by Goss/Heidelberg, and also run Baker Perkins G14 and Hantscho Mark 14 presses for special applications. The Spencer, IA facility is now over 80% Concentric in production. “Over the last six months, Perry Judd's has successfully used Artwork's Concentric Screening when printing on both number 3 and 4 paper grade papers. We intend to expand the range of paper upon which we use this screening on in the future,“ says Bacsik. “Our experience with Concentric has been very positive! We are printing 200lpi Concentric screens, which have the appearance of a 250lpi normal screen, on high speed web presses at 2,600 feet per minute. This higher resolution we see provides us with advantages for our customers. Specifically, we see more detail, smoother flesh tones and tints and much cleaner colors in the mid tones. Reproduction is, in many cases, noticeably superior to both conventional AM and FM Screening.” “Perry Judd's believes Artwork Systems' Concentric Screening is unique. It enables us to provide a superior printed product relative to other screening available in the marketplace.” Stevenson, The Color Company Thomas J. Stevenson, Vice President of Stevenson, The Color Company, offers this testimony to the benefits of Concentric Screening: “Concentric Screening has provided a significant increase in print quality at Stevenson and helped us further differentiate our product in the competitive environment of sheetfed offset printing. I can't recall a technology in this price range that has had as major of a direct impact on product quality as Concentric Screening.” ”We began testing Concentric while it was still in development at Artwork Systems in the summer of 2005. While we saw many benefits immediately, we were hesitant to convert our operation. We had experienced similar ‘honeymoon' effects with novel technologies in the past, had no complaints with our current quality, and believed a cautious approach was a more prudent approach. Through the fall of 2005, we had our print measurement specialist, Joe Hamilton, conduct press characterizations, create press curves, test press stability, document run-to-run consistency, and basically quantify (mostly using GATF techniques) all relevant items of concern. Concentric Screening withstood the challenge. We feel that as long as our prepress/press standards are maintained, the benefits of the screening are delivered.” “Since May, we have been using Concentric on a consistent basis. The results are exceptional. It's the HDTV of the print world. We've rerun several jobs with Concentric to provide side by side comparisons; the difference is night and day. Concentric has exceeded our expectations.” “The benefits we have seen with Concentric Screening include: 1) higher screen rulings, 2) greater press stability, and 3) more saturated colors. With Concentric, we now run 340 lpi screens regularly – screen ruling comes with even greater press stability. Our pressmen love it.” “In summary, Concentric, combined with good QC practices and materials, enables us to provide our customers with a superior product. That's what Stevenson, The Color Company, is all about.” Amidon Graphics Len Schmid, IS Manager at Amidon Graphics, reports, “We've had the opportunity to test Artwork Systems' new Concentric Screening and worked hard to push its limits in our vigorous production environment. We discovered the following: “1) The color is in most cases identical to that achieved using conventional screening techniques, with the exception of oranges which are noticeably brighter with Concentric Screens. “2) Artwork Systems' Concentric runs easily and has proven to be very stable. In fact, our press operators were comfortable running it from day one. “3) It uses less ink than conventional. The ink feeds are metered and the press operator notes the numbers at the end of each shift. We have recorded using 25% to 35% less ink with the Concentric Screening. “4) It looks fantastic! The difference between 147 lpi Normal and 200 lpi Concentric is amazing. To the naked eye the screening is completely invisible and the details really crisp. “Concentric Screening is, in our opinion, a breakthrough in screening technologies, which have otherwise seen very little innovation in recent years.”