In the spirit of the ever-changing and complex saga that makes up the European prepress scene, the Belgian company Punch has acquired Esko Graphics’ Digital Printing Products Department. Punch achieved a sort of fame by rescuing Xeikon, the once-troubled digital press maker, for which it was a major supplier. The deal means that Punch gains access to all of Esko-Graphics’ front-end activities related to digital color printing. It also absorbs some 15 employees, intellectual property and several contracts for development projects, service and spare parts supply.
Esko-Graphics already supplies front-end systems for Xeikon web-fed digital color presses. Back in 1993, the former Barco Graphics — now part of Esko-Graphics following the merger with Purup-Eskofot — developed the PrintStreamer Digital Front-End to process large volumes of digital data at high speed for Xeikon digital presses. Today, Esko Graphics supplies and supports both PrintStreamer and Xeikon eXpert Digital Front-Ends. Punch says it intends to integrate the Esko-Graphics Digital Printing Products Department with the existing Xeikon Front-End group to establish “a powerful” front-end group for production digital color printing.