IPEX 2002 -- Accent on the Positive
Having also announced a planned merger at PRINT, Barco Graphics and Purup-Eskofot chose IPEX as the venue to unveil the combined company's new corporate identity: Esko-Graphics. The new entity's headquarters will be in Gent, Belgium, it was revealed, but exactly how the organization's two U.S. operations will be integrated has not been finalized.
Lastra SpA announced that its Brookfield, CT-based subsidiary, Lastra America, acquired Western Lithotech from Mitsubishi Chemical. Roberto Ziletti, president of Lastra SpA, commented that, "Western's plate product line complements our current offerings and the equipment business presents us with an opportunity to expand our analog prepress business into the area of CTP."
Even More Mergers
As an extension of its acquisition of Xeikon NV's digital color printing operations, Punch International NV of Belgium reported it had acquired the activities of Xeikon America. In a related move, Koonras Technologies Ltd. acquired the black-and-white magnetography printing operations of Xeikon, which will again be known by the Nipson name.
Flint Ink announced a "combination merger and acquisition agreement" with German ink manufacturer Gebrüder Schmidt GmbH. Flint reportedly is acquiring Gebrüder Schmidt's Canadian operations, while the two companies' European operations are to be merged.
Getting back to the product trends, the best way to describe developments in the pressroom is as being evolutionary, not revolutionary. Koenig & Bauer Group, however, did introduce a B3-format sheetfed press with a distinct V-shaped unit design around a central impression cylinder.
MAN Roland unveiled what it said was dramatic new styling across its press lines, including sheetfed, commercial web, newspaper and digital products. The company claims the impact is more than skin deep, noting that one element of the redesign "is a sparkling-green accent color whose role is to indicate interrelationships of systems, as well as to facilitate operation by its signal effect."
The product introductions in the computer-to-plate arena represented a mixed bag of technologies. Heidelberg added the Topsetter P 74 model to its thermal platesetter line, but also introduced an automated version of the Prosetter 102 violet line. Agfa, one of the biggest proponents of violet imaging, rolled out the Xcalibur 45 external-drum, eight-up thermal platesetter featuring Grating Light Valve (GLV) technology. Screen also plans to use GLV technology, but in the PlateRite Ultima thermal platesetter with twin exposure heads capable of imaging 16- or 32-page plates. Fujifilm, meanwhile, introduced four- and eight-up, violet-imaging versions of its Saber Luxel internal-drum platesetter family.