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Southern Graphic Systems installs 400th Esko-Graphics Cyrel Digital Imager

Press release from the issuing company

Vandalia, OH – March 19, 2004 - Esko-Graphics, the market leader in packaging pre-production solutions and world leader in digital imaging of flexo plates, announces that the 400th Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) – an industry milestone – was recently installed at Southern Graphics Systems’ (SGS) facility in St. Louis, MO. SGS has over 30 facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The SGS, St. Louis facility services the most prominent consumer packaging companies and converters in the region, with a complete, digital workflow. The CDI Advance was one of three recently purchased by the Louisville, Kentucky based company. In 1995, Esko-Graphics introduced the Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI), the first digital platesetter for flexographic plates. A GATF and FTA Award winner, CDIs represent 75% of all digital platesetters installed globally – imaging 90% of all digital flexo plates worldwide. The most recent CDI installed at SGS, the CDI Advance, produces the highest quality flexo plates, primarily for flexible packaging and folding cartons. Until recently, three productivity levels were available: Optics 15, Optics 25 and Optics 40. Optics 80, to be introduced at DRUPA 2004, doubles the productivity of the CDI Advance. By imaging a full format 50”x80” plate in 19 minutes, it matches the industry’s fastest plate processing equipment. The CDI images Cyrel and all other makes of digital flexo plates, ablative film, and letterpress plates, both film and steel backed. The CDI Advance platesetter, to be demonstrated at Drupa, can soon be delivered with a semi automatic-plate-loader, capable of holding 16 similar or different-sized plates. Other CDI models include the CDI Compact for medium web flexo applications; the CDI Spark for tag and labels, folding cartons and small flexo plates; and the CDI Spark XT for small and medium sized plates, suitable for the label and folding cartons. “Our value proposition into the Flexo and Gravure market segments is to reduce or eliminate the gap with respect to time, cost and quality between these two processes. Design, development and deployment of pure digital workflows have allowed us to eliminate the gap in graphics. Our internal goal is to eliminate this gap between gravure cylinders and Flexo plates by the end of the decade,” remarks Hank Baughman, SGS president. “Esko-Graphics’ CDI has become an integral part of our strategy to improve the quality and time to execute the Flexo prepress process. The next decade will find consumer product companies making their print process decisions based on branding and distribution strategies and not cost, quality or time required by the Flexo or Gravure prepress processes. The only other driver of this decision would be the print suppliers’ infrastructure and talent pool,” adds Mr. Baughman. “It’s only fitting that SGS purchased our 400th CDI platesetter. SGS was one of the first to adopt digital flexo by installing a CDI Classic SingleBeam in 1997. That CDI is still a workhorse today and joins a total of 13 CDIs system-wide, the most owned by any customer in the world,” comments Mark Vanover, Esko-Graphics director of marketing, North America. “SGS plants don’t compete against one another. We consider ourselves a virtual manufacturing organization,” says Gary Bernier, corporate director of technology and innovation. “Because we have an extremely robust private WAN, if a customer wants digital plates, but a CDI is not present locally, we can send files elsewhere for imaging. We have tremendous economies of scale for our customers.” “The integration of CDI Advance system is a meaningful extension to our digital workflow strategy. The addition of this technology supports our customers packaging initiatives to improve speed to market, optimize reproduction quality, and reduce total system cost" comments Todd Santo, St. Louis General Manager. "The value of digital flexo plates is not an isolated benefit within the packaging delivery cycle. The best investments, and those we focus on in St. Louis, are those that benefit the entire value chain from design to print. As an industry leader, in close partnership with our customers, we will continue to deliver comprehensive digital solutions. We’re delighted to have the first CDI Advance in the St. Louis metropolitan area."