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Esko acquires print software developer Stonecube

May 29, 2007

Esko, a global system integrator for packaging pre-production, has completed the acquisition of Stonecube Ltd., a developer of print visualization software. At the same time the two companies announced Esko Visualizer, the first product resulting from their joint development efforts.

Founded in 2002 and located near Bristol, England, Stonecube has been developing interactive 3D software applications for photorealistic and interactive visualization of special inks and finishes in print applications. The technology shows the resulting effects from various paper grades and other substrates, all kinds of inks including metallics, and decorative finishes such as varnishes, foils, embossing, glitter and flitter. Target applications include high value-added printing such as book and CD covers, greeting cards, and packaging and labels.

"Packaging is obviously a very important application for dynamic print visualization," comments Martin Coulthard, founder and CEO of Stonecube and now director of Esko's Visualization Software Product Group. "Joining forces with Esko not only creates a channel to get our exciting and unique technology to a broader audience, but also brings it together with Esko's know-how on structural design, color management, interactive 3D rendering and packaging workflows in general.”

"Integrating the graphic and structural design workflows into a single collaborative design environment has been one of Esko's strategic directions for many years," says Carsten Knudsen, Esko president and CEO. "Today we take another step forward and give designers, brand owners and packaging producers the opportunity to accurately communicate and evaluate the impact of the actual substrates, inks and special finishes used for the final product early on in the design phase.

"Esko Visualizer will revolutionize the way in which packaging design proposals are communicated, approved and accelerated into production,” he adds. "We have been working closely together with the Stonecube team for several months to identify and refine specific requirements from product managers, creative talent and production experts. Having a first joint product out in such a short time illustrates the strategic and development synergies between our companies. We are very happy to welcome the Stonecube staff into the growing Esko family."

Esko Visualizer will start shipping in July in PC and Mac Universal Binary versions.