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Barco Graphics and Purup-Eskofot get together

Friday, 21 September 2001
By Print 21 Online Article
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Barco owns 49 per cent of the new company, which has a project name of BPE (a new company name will be released early next year), and Kirkbi A/S, the parent company of Purup-Eskofot, has 51 per cent. The combined turnover of the two organizations is in excess of US$ 227 million.

In Australia, Currie and Company distributes Purup-Eskofot products, up to its A2 polyester platesetter, while the larger formats are the province of Print & Pack. Barco has long been the preserve of Edward Keller, which in recent times has reduced its involvement with the graphic arts industry, relinquishing a number of agencies (such as KBA and Xeikon) to concentrate on its packaging business.

In a statement the new company, which started to operate immediately, said the sales, distribution and support channels for BPE’s products will essentially remain the same as before, since the major market segments in which Barco Graphics and Purup-Eskofot operate today are largely different. There will be some product rationalisation when the range is consolidated into a single portfolio.

The new company combines the management, R&D, manufacturing facilities and distribution resources of the previous entities. The product lines of the two companies will be merged into one integrated portfolio.

The company claims the broadest line of computer-to-plate products of any organization in the world, and market leadership in a number of graphic arts and packaging business areas.

Barco Graphics is a leading global supplier to the packaging industry for digital pre-production solutions, with an integrated approach to graphic and structural workflows. It claims world market leadership in flexo computer-to-plate imaging, supported by a co-marketing agreement with DuPont Cyrel.

In addition Barco says it is the world leader in digital prepress solutions for the cartographic market, while remaining a leading player in the digital document printing market as an OEM supplier to Xeikon and IBM.

Purup-Eskofot is one of the world’s leading digital prepress suppliers to the commercial printing, the newspaper publishing and the quick printing markets. It is the world leader in copydot scanning solutions, and in the computer-to-polyester-plate imaging market where it has OEM and distribution agreements with AB Dick and Mitsubishi Paper Mills.

The head office of BPE will be in Gent, Belgium. Hardware and software product development will be in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Czechia and the USA. All manufacturing will be in Europe. William Schulin-Zeuthen, currently President and CEO of Purup-Eskofot will become CEO of BPE.

In a statement, the company said, “The formation of BPE will create one of the most innovative suppliers to the graphic arts markets. Both founding organizations have a history of bringing highly advanced products to market with great success.

“Barco Graphics almost single-handedly created the packaging prepress market. Purup-Eskofot invented the internal drum imagesetter and also produced the world’s first successful commercial computer-to-plate systems. It also developed the first copydot scanning systems in the world.

“The combined R&D groups will continue this advanced product development and it is expected that a number of new systems will be launched within the next twelve months. These will include enhancements to existing products as well as product introductions for new market areas.

Key future technology development areas include:
* Enhanced laser imaging technology: BPE is developing an 830 nm thermal laser diode system for use with its internal drum CtP systems.
* UV Imaging – The Purup-Eskofot subsidiary DICON has been working for many years on the development of a system to image conventional printing plates directly from computer data. This is achieved through the use of high power UV lamp light sources linked to fibre optic arrays, rather than using very expensive UV lasers. A development prototype of this technology was shown at the DRUPA 2000 exhibition.

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